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Edelman: This is who we are: Setting the record straight on Democrats in Carroll County

Over the past several weeks, a number of columns have appeared in this space trying to tell you that the Democratic Party is a seditious, socialist, subversive organization that wants to take away Christmas, tax you into poverty, transform your schools into indoctrination camps, take away your guns and cheeseburgers, and force kale salads down your unwilling throats. This is, of course, not accurate. Many Democrats favor spinach salad.

Joshing aside, a great deal of misinformation has come from segments of the Right, and it’s high time to set the record straight.

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Who are the Democrats, really? We sit together in our houses of worship. Our children attend the same public schools. We work beside you. We are the neighborhood cop. We are teachers, cashiers, dentists and doctors. We shop at the same stores. We root for the same teams on Sunday, and we rehash the game’s highlights on Monday. We are neighbors, and we are part of Carroll County.

We hold fast to our core values, one of which is fairness. That means that all of us have a right to equal treatment under the law. It means that every child has a right to quality education in a public school. It means that every person is entitled to accomplish all they can and are willing to work for, without being handicapped by prejudice or discrimination. It means that your pay for the work you do should not be affected by your gender. It means every eligible American should be able to vote.

Equal treatment under the law should not need to be an issue in modern America, but it is. The parents of African American children should not have to give “the talk” to their children, but they do; the imprisonment rate for blacks in America is almost 600% greater than it is for caucasians; for Hispanics, the rate is almost 300% greater than for whites. Democrats believe that justice must be color-blind.

College admissions tell a similar story: black students finishing high school with an A grade point average are twice as likely as a white student to attend a two- or four-year school than a top-rate public university, such as UMBC or University of Maryland, College Park. A significant amount of that disparity is due to economic differences. Black and Hispanic students are more likely to take on debt to attend college. As a matter of fairness, Democrats believe in a level playing field for all Americans. The Trump Administration did away with allowing colleges to consider race in admission policy.

Equal treatment under the law means that you should be able to rent or buy housing without regard for your age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, familial status, or race. The Fair Housing Act puts those protections into law, but many paired tests (sending people in one of those protected classes and someone who isn’t to apply for the same real estate listing) shows that housing discrimination is a very real factor. Federal housing vouchers are supposed to help make housing affordable to lower income people; Baltimore County finally approved an act to prohibit lessors from discriminating against voucher holders. As a matter of fairness, Democrats support fair housing practices. The Trump administration proposed rules to make it harder to challenge cases of discriminatory housing practices.

The “pay gap” is real. From the time that a woman enters the job market until she retires, her pay will be less than that of a man in a similar job. That gap grows wider every year she works. On average, a woman makes about 79 cents for each dollar a man earns. As a matter of fairness, Democrats believe that equal work demands equal pay. One of the Trump Administration’s first acts was to make it harder for a woman to show they were being paid less. Forbes Magazine called it a “blatant attack on women.”

Some other Democratic core values: Government policy should not favor the few over the many; Government policy should be firmly rooted in fact; our country’s foreign policy should support liberal democracies, human rights, and freedom to worship according to one’s beliefs. Workers have every right to expect a safe work environment. Democratic values extend past issues of fairness and equity. If you believe that fairness is an essential part of public policy, you may discover that the Democrats closely represent your core values, too.

Mitch Edelman writes from Finksburg. Email him at mjemath@gmail.com

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