“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Gandhi
Sitting at the kitchen table in the old adobe home, with a view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains through the window, I am forging a fast friendship with Jenny, my future mother-in-law. We talk about nothing in particular, and I am not feeling the least bit interrogated or judged. On the contrary, I feel wholly accepted and, all at once, open to this new fascinating relationship. That was typical for Jenny. At any given time, without prerequisites or strings attached, she unconditionally welcomed everyone into her family. We didn’t have to earn a relationship with her. Everyone who came into Jenny’s life, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, or history, was welcomed into kinship. Whether by blood, adoption, marriage, or proximity, all were included equally. It is this spirit of inclusivity that I carry within me as a model for our Democratic family.
Some Democrats have been part of a close-knit family for many years…working together on committees, Party processes, elections, and so much more. Other Democrats came into Party life after the 2016 election, ignited by a need to help make a change. Some Dems have been the distant relatives who drop by to vote and occasionally canvass, phone bank, or hold a sign. And still others are very new, having recently changed their voter registration to Democrat or just registered for the first time. The spectrum is broad, and the level of experience is varied, but the family is the same. We are Democrats, and we represent every age, gender, race, ethnicity, social status, and economic class. We are the Democratic family, and we are being called upon by the seriousness of our Nation’s current state to forge relationships and build power that will match the abuse of power rising nationally and taking hold globally. My fellow Bernalillo County Democrats, this is our time to lead by example.
We have been family, and we will continue to be family, but, as we enter the next stage of our local Democratic Party journey, we are each faced with accepting the various parts of our Democratic family equally. The qualifications for doing our Party work are not complicated. Willingness and being a registered as a Democrat are fundamental, but let’s take it one step further and work with respectful inclusivity. That is the change Democracy is asking of us.
We are building the bridge to an inclusive, representative democracy while crossing it.