Speak Up: When Your Own Team is the Problem

There isn’t a lot of reaching across the aisle taking place in politics these days. It’s hard when the conversation sometimes doesn’t go anywhere because people identify so deeply with the label Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. It sets people up to vouch for schools of thought or systems that they elevate to be beyond reproach. As you may have noticed, I am a registered Democrat. Yes, it fits my beliefs better than the Republican party, but I don’t always identify with it like folks would expect.

I do my best these days to speak up when I think my party is thwarting progress, being unfair, and not serving the best interests of all Idahoans. For transparency’s sake, I want you to know that I have not always been this way. There have been times in the past when I was too attached to my beliefs; whether it was as a Democrat or in other political and activist arenas, they held me back.

Albeit erroneous, it’s a very human thing to do. Sometimes, adhering to a pattern or set of beliefs can make you feel like you belong. It can be easier to make the beliefs of a group your own when you haven’t done the research and soul-searching that finding truth requires. And, maybe, clinging to our beliefs, even when they are harmful, can lull us into feeling like we have everything figured out. When, really, the world can be such a big and complex place, full of knowledge we haven’t discovered, nuance, and subjectivity.

Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, I would hope you could understand that it’s important to continuously learn, look within, see the flaws in your beliefs, and speak up when your own team is the problem. Not only do I believe it is ethical to do so, but it also leads to a more vibrant democracy.

Now, I want to reach across the aisle and speak to Republicans in particular about this. I believe that, just like me, you should question your party. I also cannot go without saying that there is an extremist faction of the Republican party that I believe is incredibly dangerous, corrupt, bigoted, and works to thwart progress for all people in Idaho.

This faction has made an effort to call out elected officials from the Republican party and claim that they are not true Republicans. They do this in an effort to undermine credibility and create an influx of extremists in the party who are unfit for political leadership. Please, be aware of these people on your own team and how they may very well be changing your party for the worse. If I will say something when I think my party is wrong and try to work towards something better, I hope you can, too.

Cecile Pérez is a mental health professional and serves on the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee as the legislative chair for District 35.