These past few weeks have been hectic for the Democratic Party. National Football League protests have morphed into anti-Donald Trump propaganda and dominated last week’s headlines, leaving other issues such as the disaster in Puerto Rico and the struggle of the Dreamers ignored. For Democrats, however, this is typical. In the past, specifically regarding the Dreamers, Democrats have even considered favoring policies of the Republican Party simply to gain political points. By not taking a strong stance on border patrol policies and on race-driven issues such as police brutality, the Democratic Party is practically begging for division rather than the unity they have been desperately calling for since the 2016 Presidential election.
The Democrats’ reactions to the NFL protests have been a particularly sore spot for most of the initial protesters, including Colin Kaepernick and other racial justice advocates. Democrats have blatantly whitewashed the “Take a Knee” movement, which was reinstated after Trump made inappropriate comments about race. By ignoring the fact that these protests started out as a demonstration against systemic racism, liberals are ultimately reminding minorities that action is only taken when their political party is personally disrespected by Trump, and not when black people die at the hands of police brutality.
This, however, should not come as a surprise to those who have been following the Democratic party’s actions. It took Hillary Clinton far too long in her presidential campaign to declare that she indeed believed #BlackLivesMatter, and yet even then she chose to focus on reaching compromise between police and their communities rather defending the lives of police brutality victims.
The same can be said regarding Democrats’ initial reactions to Trump ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in early September. Most were infuriated, and even most Republicans were against Trump on this seemingly heartless decision. What has not been making as many headlines is Democratic senators’ attempts at compromising with Republican desires to enforce harsher border control in exchange for DACA’s revival. As many activists have pointed out, this could increase immigration enforcement on the families of DACA recipients, who are the reason DACA students are able to study and thrive so well in America. This also ignores the fact that harsh control has already been placed along Mexican-U.S. border. With illegal entries into the U.S. steadily decreasing, why would there still be a need to increase spending on a dwindling problem? The answer is simple: Democrats are willing to sacrifice immigrant families in order to keep face with conservatives. They fear opposition from their largest group of supporters, white middle class working families, more than they do opposition from minorities, because it is ultimately easier to blend into the majority than speak against it.
Democrats needs to start taking action. Where were they during all other #BlackLivesMatter protests this year? Or when families cried against border patrol agents’ cruelty during Barack Obama’s presidency? If the Democratic Party wants to create a true picture of unity, needs and dreams of black and brown people need to stop being negotiated as mere pawns in a compromise against Trump supporters. They must begin prioritizing the fact that unity means making headlines regarding all race and social justice issues consistently, not just when it is convenient for them.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Melanie Pineda at [email protected]