In the aftermath of the 2004 election, we, like other Democrats, have searched for ways to equip and empower the Democratic Party to take our country back from the right-wing extremists who have dominated all 3 branches of our government for the past few years. As a progressive organization that believes in the need for profound reforms within the Democratic Party, BAIAD — Bay Area Iranian-American Democrats — celebrates the election of Howard Dean to the Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Regardless of the current stigma attached by the media to the label liberal, most Americans retain strongly progressive views on issues of taxation, environmental protection, health care, Social Security, and corporate regulation. Virtually every major poll shows that nearly two of every three Americans believe that Republicans favor the wealthy and corporations over the interests of workers and the middle class. Accordingly, a recent Gallup poll shows that two thirds of Americans think that the way to remedy Social Security is to limit the benefits of wealthier retirees and for higher income workers to pay Social Security taxes on all their wages — not just the first $90,000.
In the aftermath of the corporate accounting scandals, the vast majority of Americans have consistently expressed a desire for a crackdown on corporate power run amok. Likewise, the majority of Americans support a repeal of the Bush tax cuts and the closing of corporate tax loopholes to pay down the ballooning deficit. Despite this desire for tax equality and corporate accountability, Democratic organizations funded by corporations continue to parrot Republican criticisms of populist Democrats as “far left extremists”. Ignoring the general progressive leanings of the American electorate and victories by economically progressive Democrats in red states, these self styled 'centrists' advocate a brazenly corporate agenda. They term effective corporate regulation 'anti-business' and responsible tax policy 'class warfare'.
During the past two years, Governor Dean has been a vocal proponent of an alternative to the reliance of our party on corporate largess: the power of Democratic grass-roots organizations. In the months before the 2004 Presidential election tens of thousands of Democratic volunteers met, campaigned, and blogged their way into the political mainstream. Chairman Dean has emphasized that building on that momentum by nurturing this powerful movement is essential to the restoration of American democracy.
Today our adopted country is at a crossroads. The Iranian-American community has achieved economic and social maturity in time to influence a historic struggle over the principles that will govern this land. It is time to take a stand and play our part by supporting the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party and rejecting those who advocate flexibility in our principles of economic justice and civil rights while rigidly resisting any attempt to ensure corporate responsibility. One thing above all others is clear: before we can remove the Republicans from the White House, we must restore real Democrats to the leadership of the Democratic Party. The election of Howard Dean to the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is an important first step.
Chris Urkofsky & Hamid Karimi are members of the Bay Area Iranian-American Democrats — BAIAD — a grassroots political organization that stands for protecting the rights and interests of Iranian-Americans by empowering the Iranian-American political voice. BAIAD seeks to promote social justice through political participation, grassroots activism, public and political advocacy, and education. BAIAD is in the process of being chartered (officially recognized) by the Santa Clara County Democratic Party.