Thankful to be a Democrat | Val Torrens

Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. It is one of my most enjoyable holidays. I love the gathering of my substitute family – my friends – and having a great time eating, talking, playing games, relaxing. I try to think of all the things I’ve been thankful for over the past year. It gives me pause to reflect on how life has been.

Certainly, this past Election Day was an “up” moment. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I was absolutely delighted with how the day went. Starting from the top of the ballot to the bottom, virtually everyone and everything I supported was victorious.

We now have an incoming president who is not only articulate but an author of two books. Barack Obama is also cognizant of history and is actually using its lessons in hopes of doing things right to begin with. It is so refreshing to see someone who is thinking things through for himself, seeking input from experienced people, including those who do not agree with him, and then proposing an action. I am truly thankful we are no longer at the mercy of a cowboy who could only “go with his gut” and surround himself with “yes” men.

I was more worried about our governor’s race, dreading a replay of the last election. I am thankful that the vote count was decisive enough that the idea of any impropriety died aborning. Of course, it would have been difficult for the Republicans to argue foul play when the elected official, Secretary of State Sam Reed, is one of their own.

The level of negativity in this race was abhorrent. It was bad enough with candidate campaigns but the level to which the BIAW stooped was really low. Their attempt to divide this state by telling Eastern Washington to not let “Seattle steal the election” was truly a low point. I can only hope that the attack ads reached a tipping point for people and we will see a lot of less of that in the next election cycle. I am thankful the ads are now off the air and I can stop fast forwarding through them.

I am glad that the Democrats gained seats in both Congress and the State House. I know there was a lot of push by those on the right to get folks to vote for split powers like a Democrat in the White House and Republicans in Congress. I would believe that argument more if it were made when the Republicans have the White House and so the Congress should be Democratic. I never heard that sentiment when the Republicans ruled Washington, D.C.

I am thankful the Democrats are in control because I want them to show the country that they are not the spendthrifts the Republicans have always made them out to be. I want them to show everyone that Democrats really are about the average citizen and making this country a better place for all, not just the rich.

It is also what I expect to see at the state level: thoughtful, well-considered decisions on spending and legislation. I do believe the Democrats will do right by those in need and that social programs will not suffer disproportionately. Support for our state needs to come from all levels and that may mean the time of subsidies is at an end. It is not fair to close the door on special needs programs in order to give tax breaks to profitable companies. I am thankful we have legislators who understand that and are looking to make things more equitable for everyone.

I recognize that from this perspective, those on the right may feel left out. That is understandable given the overwhelming repudiation of the Republican Party at the polls. Still, I hope those on the right continue to speak up and share their views. They are needed. Only small minds do not listen and learn from those who think differently.

I am thankful our founding fathers put a system in place that essentially requires thought and deliberation when crafting laws and regulations and preserves the right of those in the minority to air their views.

But, most of all, I am thankful I am an American who has the right to vote without fear and have a transfer of power without fighting. It is what makes our country great. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, I hope you enjoy the company of your family and friends and that you have a great Thanksgiving.

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