Recently a picture was published of two older gentlemen at a rally wearing red, white and blue T-shirts emblazoned with the words, “I’d Rather be Russian than Democrat.”
They were wearing those shirts proudly, chests out so that the camera could fully catch the slogan.
My first reaction was shock, then something edging toward disgusted anger. That was at first. But the more I looked at the faces of these two men, the more I realized that they were putting themselves out there to say they really cared about something, so much so as to put full passion behind it.
What do they care about? The slogan implies what they don’t care about – or rather, that they care to really dislike Democrats. I am filled with incredible sadness to think that anyone would so dislike Democrats or any whole group of people as to risk their own value system, risk betraying their core ideals, as these gentlemen were doing.
This picture is of two men standing arm in arm, good buddies supporting and affirming each other and their commonality. I see in the faces of these two the daring-do, bright spirit, and vulnerabilities I have seen many times over in the faces of my dad, my brother, my uncle. These men are participants, willing and brave, very much for and with each other.
Nothing in their presentation tells me they want to be Russians except, sadly, their slogan that prizes minimization and negation of whole groups of people, Putin style, I guess.
My biggest question – what do these men think they know about Democrats? Do they know Democrats champion Medicare and fight tooth and nail to keep it from privatization? Do they know Democrats lead the charge to guarantee VA benefits and, again, work to save the VA from for-profit privatization?
Do they know Democrats have worked for decades to guarantee available healthcare even to people who have lived long enough to have actual health problems?
Do they know Democrats are guardians of not-for-profit public schools so that their grandchildren can have a future?
I see in these two men real people who care about their fellow man, their families, those who need their help -- men 10 times more Democrat than Russian. Do they know Democrats care to make a place of security and inclusion for them in this world?