Opinion: You’re all welcome at our picnic table

A couple weeks ago Mark Fuller, chair of the Bonneville County Republicans, encouraged people to “try something new” and attend their annual gala. I agree that Idahoans should start paying attention to what is happening in the Republican Party. They may be unsettled to learn that a far-right faction is taking over. I challenge you to pay attention to what is happening and compare the current Republican ideology with that of the Democrats. You might discover that we align more closely to your values, your self-interest, the well-being of your community and the future of your children.

So, take Mr. Fuller’s advice and try something new. The Bonneville County Democrats are holding their annual Truman Banquet as a picnic this year for your entire family to enjoy together. It is 3:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the bandshell in Freeman Park. We’ll have speeches, so you can learn what Democrats stand for. Democrats and the Democratic-curious are all welcome. We’re also having a catered picnic dinner, root beer floats, live music by the Bluegrass Disciples, an ice cream social, family-friendly games, camaraderie and patriotism.

If you are uncomfortable with how far to the right the Republican Party is moving yet are nervous about how your party has portrayed Democrats, don’t continue to blindly believe them. Democrats aren’t communists or unpatriotic, and we certainly aren’t out to take your guns. We may want commonsense regulations, like background checks, but most of you want that too. Come to our picnic, and find out what we are all about. You might even have fun and meet some new friends.

If you are a parent or grandparent, small business owner, taxpayer or employee or struggling to make ends meet, then Democrats are on your side. Democrats are not cookie-cutter voters, and we have our differences. But in general, our party is pro-education, pro-teachers, pro-affordable health care, pro-living wages and pro-freedom.

We don’t think the government should regulate our relationships with our doctors or our sex lives. We’re pro-fiscal responsibility and believe the best way for everyone to thrive is when the richest 3% pay their fair share of taxes. We don’t want the middle class to have their taxes raised. We hate waste.

We want our legislators to vote their consciences rather than be tied to the agenda of the Freedom Foundation, which isn’t freedom at all. We don’t want to give handouts; we want to make sure that every Idahoan has a fair shot. When citizens thrive, businesses thrive. When education is adequately funded and access is equal for all citizens, then our community thrives. Most of all, we support democracy, which the far-right Republican faction is claiming doesn’t exist. America is a democratic republic. Democracy is our heritage. Don’t let far-right extremists take it away from us.

Check us out for yourself. Come to our picnic, hear our message, and have some fun. See you there.

Tickets can be bought at bonndemocrats.org/truman.

Jackie Stephens is the Precinct 21 captain for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.