In my letter (Progressives for people; Dispatch, Aug. 15-16) I noted that “Progressives — regardless of party — promote the advancement of human rights and human dignity.” I wrote “regardless of party” because each party has at different times in our history been a vital force behind forward-moving, people-centered, progressive national policy. In her response, Ms. Rodriguez overlooked this essential point.
A political party regresses when power for the party becomes more important than sound policy for the country. That is the Republican Party today. Its regressive and authoritarian policies and insensitivity to racial justice, promoted by Donald Trump, are undermining American norms, values, institutions and the very idea of a government of, by and for the people.
The Republican Party was a progressive force against slavery during President Lincoln’s time. We can thank Republicans for the establishment of the 13th and 14th Amendments. Republicans supported woman’s suffrage for decades until the 19th Amendment passed in 1919 and was ratified in 1920. That Republican Party is long gone. It sold its soul to the oligarchic aristocracy of corporate interests and the super wealthy.
The progressive torch passed to the Democratic Party with the New Deal in 1933. It was Democrats who gave us Social Security and Medicare, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act and support of the LGBTQ and environmental movements.
If elected in 2020, Democrats will continue the fight to establish racial justice and to move the ERA forward. Today it is the Democratic Party that promotes the ideas of human rights and human dignity enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution and offers the best hope for the future of our planet, our country and Ms. Rodriguez.