Character Matters

by Kevin Henning, KCDP Chair
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, November 2, 2018

Protester holding sign reading "RESPECT"
“RESPECT” by Lorie Shaull is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

To hear some Republicans speak you would think that being a Democrat was kin to be being Lucifer. For my part I am proud to be called Liberal, I am proud to be called Progressive and most of all I am proud to be a Democrat. In the Kopser/Roy debate, Roy was into conspiracy theories big time. He claimed the “deep state” is conspiring to destroy the economy with regulations, and warned that the press had gone “rogue.” I was proud to see Kopser jump him on this ridiculous claim. I am proud to see Beto O’Rourke talk about working together to solve problems rather than the hatred, bigotry and misogyny of his opponent. Regressive Republican use of scare tactics is all too common. I have read the claim that “liberals do not want to be called liberals, because that name is toxic in much of America”. I have read and viewed on TV false claims that we have porous borders because we do not think a wall is necessary and that undocumented immigrants are a major source of crime all because of Democrats. Of course, we need secure borders but a wall along the entire border is ridiculous. Those Republicans knowledgeable about immigration know a wall is totally unnecessary and that DACA is good for the Country.

Speaking of less than stellar behavior, Bob Woodward’s book Fear, the anonymous editorial in the NY Times and the all-out effort in the White House to find the leaker confirms what we have believed for two years. The White House is simply amoral. On a smaller scale, right here in Kendall County we see behavior that is less than stellar. So far, we have had many large Beto signs stolen or ripped down and many yard signs stolen or destroyed. One of our Precinct Chairs has received a threatening letter and one of our Progressive Views columnists has been threatened face to face. One business was threatened that if they displayed a Beto sign business would be withheld. This business will display signs from both Parties, so they are choosing to not display anything. Also, we still find folks who are fearful of putting yard signs out and wearing Democratic hats and shirts. I am so looking forward to the days when that changes in Kendall County.

I have many local conservative friends who I admire and respect. These folks are principled conservatives who can discuss and debate using real facts and arguments. Unfortunately, many regressive Republicans have lost all restraint. They spout fake news. They lie with impunity, they name call, they appeal to the worst instincts of human nature. They do not care about the environment or helping people.

Voter suppression has become a major weapon of regressive Republicans. Shouldn’t we want all citizens to vote so they feel they are part of the process of democracy? Many regressive Republicans say no, they want to restrict the vote using the meanest tactics. I have had occasion to visit with many folks who feel intimidated by their employer to not vote or vote Republican. This is shameful, disgusting and subverts democracy.

The Republicans concerted effort to disenfranchise voters is accelerating. Gerrymandering, implementing voter photo ID, and purging folks from the rolls are just the tip of the iceberg. There is no evidence that voter fraud exists in the United States as the Brennan Center concluded in its report “The Truth about Voter Fraud”. Voter ID laws are targeted to discourage poor people, minorities and students from voting. Early voting restrictions also target this group as do complicated voter registration rules. Gerrymandering lets the candidate pick the voter and leads to extremes on both the left and right. Just look at our 21st Congressional district. It looks like a space alien. Remember when Lamar Smith asked Will Hurd if he needed a few more Republican voters? Let’s go to a non-partisan commission system to establish voting districts.

On the positive side, Kendall County is fortunate with an excellent Election Office Staff and many fine volunteers–both Democrat and Republican–who do a great job and ensure our elections are run fairly and efficiently.

Eugene Robinson hit the nail on the head in a recent article. “When Trump insists on his invented ‘facts’ he makes reality-based political dialogue impossible. His utter disregard for truth is a subversion of our democracy and a dereliction of his duty as president.” Marvin Gaye also hit the nail on the head. “Only love can conquer hate.”

Character does matter.

Democrats stand for justice, respect, compassion and diversity.

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