With last month’s announcement by N.C. Rep. William D. Brisson, letting the public know that he was changing his party registration from Democrat to Republican, my thoughts once again turned to the enduring dilemma of what should be the government’s role in the lives of the people.
In giving his reason for switching his political party affiliation, Rep. Brisson, being “an admitted conservative,” concluded, “I cannot continue to be part of today’s liberal Democrat Party.” Maybe, we should have seen this coming when Rep. Brisson chose not to vote “for” or “against” the controversial N.C. Voter ID Law in 2013. It was also stated in a recently published news story in The Sampson Independent that Rep. Brisson was already voting with the Republicans most of the time.
With that being said, I can’t help but wonder what Rep. Brisson thinks should be the government’s role in bringing our country closer to fulfilling its promise of equal rights, justice, and opportunity for all. It is my firm belief that government should be viewed as a positive and benevolent force, working on the people’s behalf. Generally, “an admitted conservative” takes the view that government should play a limited role, believing government has done enough.
Now, with the 2018 midterm elections less than a year away, those persons who will be competing for my vote must be those individuals who are about the business of getting things done for all the people and see government as a positive force in solving problems. There is no getting around it, we need the positive influence of government in our lives, believing that the government should protect our civil rights by providing equal protection of the law. Government must help find ways to foster and promote reform efforts to help combat social ills.
Additionally, those persons, contending for my vote, must be “some one who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties.”(John F. Kennedy) If Rep. Brisson is one of those individuals seeking my support and vote in 2018, he needs to know that more and more Americans have come to believe that health care is right. It should not be that “poor wealth leads to poor health,” with health care reserved for the wealthy or the privileged few.
Rep. William D. Brisson should also know that many of the improvements in health, housing, schools, employment opportunity and individual and human rights have come from sacrifices made by liberals. Just imagine what would have been the present status of America if there had been no liberals to stand up for the poor.
Considering our long history of slavery, institutional racism and Jim Crow, America still has “miles to go” in becoming a more just and inclusive society. Yes, it’s really time we start to learn from history and to believe freedom for all means freedom for ALL.
Larry Sutton is a retired teacher from Clinton High School.