I have never considered myself to be a member of a political party and I have in fact often disavowed the two party system. President Washington considered political parties the “potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying. afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion (Washington, 1796).” Those words were written in 1796, but I cannot think of any point during my life in which they are more applicable than today, but despite the inherent un-American nature innate to all political parties, as I have run this race, the requirement of party membership to seek elected office has became apparent. It is in consideration of the modern political climate that I announce that I am joining the Democratic party so that I may have a better chance to represent the people of Louisiana.
Washington once said that “The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.” Two hundred twenty two years after Washington penned his farewell address, we are a nation divided by the politics of petty and self serving interests, but we are not a nation divided from differences in our core principles. We all seek the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We all want a better world for our families and a better life for our children; however, despite our overwhelming common interests and despite our need to work together, the two party system has become a divisive point for many. Political parties should not define us or be what holds us together but rather “[our principles] ought to be considered as a main prop of your [our] liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other (Washington, 1796).”
As such, Democrats must accept that President Trump’s supporters are not a group of racists that hate or seek to oppress anyone that isn’t white and male. Republicans must accept that Democrats are not trying to take away people’s guns and make America into a communist nation. We must extinguish the idea that it us, "us vs them," because ultimately we are all Americans. We all drink the same water and breath the same air, so why not focus on issues that can bring us closer together. We must stop destroying our country over pettiness--future generations deserve better.
I standby my position that we have to fix healthcare, but we needn’t make it into a socialized system. Anyone driving down a Louisiana road knows that we need to fix our infrastructure, yet nothing ever gets done. We have the worst schools in the nation, yet we settle for repeating the same mistakes over and over. What do our leaders do? They go on T.V and blame the “other side.” Well, I have news for them. There is only one side and that is the side of the people. Yes—I have joined the Democratic party, but I will always place our district and the needs of our people above the demands of any party. I am not selling out on my values or on my principles. I will continue to stand strong in my philosophy that we must always place our nation, our state, and our district above the needs of any one political party.
George Washington: "Farewell Address," September 19, 1796. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=65539.