Why the Democrats are thankful: They’re not Republicans

I swore when I was asked to write a Thanksgiving column for Capitol Weekly.

“Too many families are hungry and without health coverage,” I grumbled. “Core social services are being slashed and the state budget just keeps getting worse. America is fighting two wars, university tuition keeps rising, gay and lesbian couples still cannot legally marry, unemployment is too high and – ”

I could go on and on.

I don’t want to spoil anyone’s turkey and sweet potatoes, but those are the facts.

Knowing those facts, California Democrats have made a choice.  Instead of just complaining, we are fighting to make things better.  And we have many reasons to be grateful.

I couldn’t enjoy my pumpkin pie without first giving thanks that George W. Bush’s eight-year reign of error has finally ended.
Some Democrats may disagree with him occasionally, but we are glad President Barack Obama now occupies the White House with his lovely family.

The economy is still hung over from President Bush’s incompetence, but things are finally starting to get better.  America is no longer an international pariah and we are refocusing on long-neglected domestic priorities.  We pray America will soon bring our brave servicemen and servicewomen home safely from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many Democrats are hopeful that 30 to 40 million Americans could finally get quality, affordable health care coverage thanks to the leadership of the Democratic Congress and the President.

We know the bills aren’t perfect. Most of us long to see a final plan that includes a robust public option and preserves reproductive rights. Still, many Democrats are pleased by how far we have come on health care.

We’re lucky to have U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in Washington fighting to create new green jobs, foster energy independence and combat global warming.

It’s a blessing too that the President and Congressional leaders continue to firmly support the Employee Free Choice Act, which would restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and working conditions.

Something else that unites Democrats is our excitement to elect a new governor next year.

I personally like Governor Schwarzenegger, but the recent budgets enacted on his watch have been disastrous for poor and middle-class Californians.  Republicans’ complete inflexibility on taxes has ravaged health care, public schools, community colleges and universities, welfare-to-work programs and in-home care for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Californians deserve much more.

This time next year, I hope to raise a glass of Diet Coke with lemon and toast the election of a Democratic governor who understands that the hallmark of a moral society is how it treats the most vulnerable among us.

What’s more, Democrats are blessed to have dedicated grassroots activists and partners across the state.  They are energized and ready to win in 2010.  Even now, Democrats are writing letters, attending trainings, registering voters and raising money for next year.  
Of course, my holiday wouldn’t be complete without saying thank goodness for the self-defeating antics of California Republican Party.  
Thank you, right-wing conservatives for your tea-party shenanigans that are beyond out-of-touch. Three cheers for contentious Republican gubernatorial and senatorial primaries where you’ll spend a small fortune tarnishing one another.

Oh, and thanks again for Sarah Palin. She’s the gift that just keeps on giving.

Democrats are like any big family — even around the holidays we sometimes quarrel and squabble. But nothing makes us smile more than hearing Sarah Palin hailed as the Republican Party’s shining hope for the future.

Good luck with that. Seriously.

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