In Defense of the Big Tent of the Democratic Party

4 mins read

Lansing is the political capital of Michigan even though it isn’t the biggest (or even second-biggest) city in the state. As a resident of the Lansing area, I identify with the capital city. I live here, shop here, send kids to school here. But my home in Delta Township, Eaton County, is in a different Congressional district from Lansing proper.

I do not have the pleasure of being represented in Congress by freshman Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. But I can vicariously admire her for her courage, her experience, and her determination. The first time I met her at a fundraiser for another candidate, we both agreed we never envisioned ourselves running for office. But there we were.

And we were both there for the same reasons. We love our country. We love the state of Michigan. We love our families. And we wanted to help all families live the American promise of freedom from poverty, freedom from sickness, freedom from injustice, and freedom from tyranny.

When a group of Congressmen and Congresswomen who were also veterans of our military and our other international agencies published their reasons for supporting an impeachment inquiry of the 45th President, I took notice. Perhaps Congresswoman Slotkin is what’s known as a moderate Democrat, but in today’s political climate, I’m not sure that we can really rely on labels like that anymore.

The Democratic party needs both Congresswoman Slotkin and Congresswoman Talib. The two of them—and their respective ‘groups’—are helping to expand the ‘big tent’ of the Democratic Party. They are showing the way toward compromise and equality through the respect of each others’ viewpoints, backgrounds, and ideologies.

On Thursday in East Lansing, Congresswoman Slotkin outlined her reasons for recently supporting an impeachment inquiry. National Security. Pure and simple. She knows that our security is threatened by the actions alleged in the whistleblower complaint—a foreign influence was sought in a future US election. Her background in the intelligence community gives her a lens through which to look at these actions that not many average Americans will ever have. She has operated on foreign soil on behalf of US interests, beside our soldiers.

She knows what danger looks like.

And she was elected to protect all of us from such dangers. She was also elected to check the power of the Executive branch. All of Congress was elected to serve in that capacity.

It is the norm to distrust politicians and other elected officials in the US today. And we have been given too many examples of abuses of any trust we have shown in the past. But in elected officials such as Congresswoman Slotkin, and other veterans, we find those with a strong sense of duty. In elected officials such as Congresswoman Talib, we find a mirror held up to the hardest truths about ourselves and our past relationships to minority populations.

Both of them can reshape not only what Congress looks and acts like but also what the Democratic party stands for and how it operates. Trust, duty, responsibility, representation, and results can be the watch words of a future American government.

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1 Comment

  1. Well written Ms. Bowen. I agree with your point of view. This country is big enough to embrace both of the women and their constituencies.

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