Progressive Views: Grateful

By Kevin Henning
For the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, September 9, 2023

Hand holding sign with "Proud to be an American".
Image by RDNE Stock Project is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

I am so very grateful to be an American and to live in America. I continue to be inspired by many Americans both fictional and real. Superman, the original comic book superhero, remains my most admired fictional character. His motto, “truth, justice and the American way” still resonates. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are my favorite cowboy actors and crooners who continue to be an example of service above self. I had the pleasure of hearing Dolores Huerta speak several years ago and was inspired by the testimony of someone who overcame tremendous obstacles to lead a movement to bring fairness to farm workers. Jackie Robinson is my athlete hero who demonstrated courage against remarkable odds. Finally, Abraham Lincoln is the historical and political figure I most admire. Saving the Union was his greatest deed but his words continue to guide and inspire today.

Two essential elements for a democracy to function are civility and truth. We all must learn to listen to divergent views. We should try to understand the basis for another’s opinions. We must also present our points in a civil fashion and most importantly both sides must ground those arguments in facts.

I am often asked: “Why are you a Democrat?” Sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes with sarcasm.

I am a Democrat because the Texas Democratic Party reflects my values as an American, Texan, former business owner, volunteer, and Humanist.

I am a Democrat because I believe we should honor and nurture our law enforcement professionals and first responders.

I prefer the word “progressive” to Democrat as I’m sure that had I been alive in 1900, I would have been a Republican to support the progressive movement of Teddy Roosevelt. There was a time when Republicans were the progressive party in American politics but that has changed. Today many have moved so far right that I do not believe that either Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan could win the Republican nomination for president.

I think there are values that have historically made America a great country and these things are supported strongly by the Democratic Party. Some of these values are:

Support for the first amendment and specifically religious liberty for all.

Support of public education and a free education for all Americans.

A belief in the worth of all individuals regardless of color or gender or intelligence or class or financial status.

An understanding of the word “balance” as it applies to many areas of life such as protecting the environment as well as helping business be successful, helping people help themselves without making them dependent on government, and most importantly, a balance in the role of regulation and economic freedom.

I am a Democrat because I believe that our federal debt is a huge issue for our children’s future. We must make tough decisions sooner than later.  I believe voters must be the catalyst to address the debt crisis because most politicians don’t have the courage to make the tough decisions.

I am a Democrat because our economy is much stronger during periods of Democratic leadership than it is under Republican “trickle-down” economic policies.

I am a Democrat because I believe that many people will act out of pure greed to the point of destroying the earth by ignoring climate change, by working people in horrible conditions without fair compensation, by cheating and lying to harm the elderly. Yes, there is a proper role for government to play in helping control the abuses of greed and protecting freedom for all.

I am a Democrat because in this modern world, I think there is a need for public/private partnerships in many areas like education, business, medicine, and research. It is a complicated world and there is a proper role for government to play to solve problems, encourage creativity and entrepreneurship by helping individuals and businesses be more successful.

I am a Democrat because I believe in individual rights and freedom. I believe people have the right to have diverse views and that government should protect that right. No one should have the right to use the power of government to force their personal convictions on others.

I try not to be a highly partisan person. I admire many conservatives because they support helping working folks and those who are less fortunate. Most of all I believe kindness and caring for others will bring meaning to one’s life.

To learn more, check out the Kendall County Democratic Party website:

Kevin Henning is a local Democrat

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