Keep democracy alive, get involved

For this first ever opinion piece on behalf of the UM Young and College Democrats, I initially debated whether to deal with the hot topic of the just-passed health care reform bill or to simply give an overview of why you, as a student, should pay attention to politics and join our organization.

Luckily, I’ve realized it’s impossible not to do both at once.

The passage of this bill, which eliminates the danger of Americans having their policies cancelled after getting sick or being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions and which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office calculates will save the country an enormous amount of money, has inexplicably managed to elicit from many Republicans the kind of anger typically reserved for the most disgusting criminals.

Congressmen who voted to save American lives while reducing the budget deficit have been spit on, called vile racist and homophobic names and have received death threats. Bricks were thrown through the windows of several Congressional offices and the home of one member’s family was even vandalized after the address was posted on the internet.

So why are some reacting this way to such a positive step for our country?

The unfortunate truth is that Republican politicians and talk show hosts have convinced a large number of people that a bill regulating private insurance companies, just like the government currently regulates food or transportation safety, is an unprecedented “government takeover” and the first clear sign of communist dictatorship.

Like anyone else who has looked at the actual provisions of the bill, I’m at a loss to explain what’s behind all the imaginative distortions and terroristic violence.

But we don’t need to explain it to fight it; if you realize the only way for our country to survive is through peaceful, honest debate, even if you have never paid much attention to politics before, I urge you to do two very simple but important things to keep the ideals of democracy alive:

1.) Start supporting Kendrick Meek, the only Democrat running for the open Florida U.S. Senate seat in November. Go to, and donate or volunteer.

2.) Come to our meetings! We’ll be focused on the Meek campaign for the next few months, but I promise we do a lot of other cool things as well. Come by LC180 on Tuesday at 8pm, to see what we’re all about. Hope to see you there!

Tony Parets is a second-year law student at the University of Miami. He may be contacted at