Many ask, just what do the Democrats stand for? Who do they work for? Why? After a tumultuous start featuring more than 4 days of drama and deadlock, the new Democratic Minority Leader, Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-4) formally opened the new 118th Congress. In his opening speech, he made it very clear just what the Democratic Party believes and who we will always work for:
"We believe in a country for everyone. A country that provides for the poor, works for working families, makes sense for the middle class, stands up for senior citizens, innovates in the inner city, strengthens suburban communities, helps out the heartland and revitalizes rural America." "We believe that in America our diversity is a strength, it is not a weakness. An economic strength, a competitive strength, a cultural strength — our diversity is a strength. It is not a weakness. We are a gorgeous mosaic of people from throughout the world. As John Lewis would sometimes remind us on this floor, we may have come over on different ships, but we're all in the same boat now. We are white, we are Black, we are Latino, we are Asian, we are Native American, we are Christian, we are Jewish, we are Muslim, we are Hindu, we are religious, we are secular, we are gay, we are straight, we are young, we are older, we are women, we are men, we are citizens, we are dreamers, out of many we are one. That's what makes America a great country. And no matter what kind of haters are trying to divide us, we're not going to let anyone take that away from us, not now, not ever. "
Representative Jeffries also reiterated what we Democrats already know to be true -- our unwavering commitment to the American Dream that "promises that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to provide a comfortable living for yourself and for your family, educate your children, purchase a home and one day retire with grace and dignity."
These ideals are what Democrats stand for. They are not new. Indeed, eighty-two years before Representative Jeffries made his speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stood at the same podium for the 1941 State of the Union address. In that historic speech, FDR described the foundation of a stable, healthy nation:
For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are: Equality of opportunity for youth and for others. Jobs for those who can work. Security for those who need it. The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all. The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living. These are the simple, basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.
So when you someone ask "what do the Democrats stand for?," send them to this post. Tell them to watch this speech below. And then proudly say, "We are for All of US!"