A Message from the President
You may wonder how the GLBT Democratic Caucus of Miami Dade County got renamed as the Freedom Democrats. Several years ago, Chip Arndt and I decided that we needed a simpler, shorter name. I mentioned the Four Freedoms Democrats, a GLBT Democrats group that I belonged to when I lived in Kansas City, Missouri (which also happens to be the birthplace of the National Stonewall Democrats in 1998).
The Four Freedoms Democrats were named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous address to Congress 71 years ago on January 6, 1941, at a time in which the United States was still suffering from the Depression and nearly a year before the United States entered World War II. Within his speech, Roosevelt enunciated a worldview of four freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way. The third is freedom from want, and the fourth is freedom from fear.
The Four Freedoms got the most attention in his speech, but there was also a clearly stated domestic agenda stated within it. FDR called for "equality of opportunity...jobs for those who can work...security for those who need it....the ending of special privilege for the few....the preservation of civil liberties for all." [i]
Fast forward to today, and it seems that Roosevelt’s domestic agenda is eerily familiar. Today we are recovering from the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Political discourse between Democrats and Republicans revolves around what role the government should play in providing job growth, unemployment benefits and other programs to help those that are struggling (“security for those who need it”). While the wealthy have amassed a greater concentration of wealth, the Republicans refuse to budge on restoring the higher tax rates and capital gains rates that were lowered under Republican President George W. Bush, and there seems to be no consensus on how to get a more equitable tax system for everyone (“the ending of special privilege for the few”). But there is one particular freedom that has special meaning for GLBT citizens: that of Freedom from Fear. Although Freedom from Fear was expressly aimed at disarmament during a time of fascism and dictatorships that were harkening the United States’ entrance into World War II, it still has lasting meaning for GLBT citizens as they continue their ongoing struggle for civil liberties in the United States and throughout the world.
Today, there are gay and lesbian couples that want the freedom to marry the person they love and be treated as equal citizens. There are couples that want the freedom to collect spousal benefits like Social Security that are afforded heterosexual couples. In many places we do not enjoy the freedom to be gainfully employed without the fear of being fired just because of our sexual orientation. We want the freedom to live where we please without the fear of being evicted because of who we are. We want the freedom to include our partners in spousal health benefits so that we do not have to fear that they will get sick and end up with large medical bills and inferior care. For a teenager, freedom may mean that he or she does not have to fear getting kicked out of the only home they have ever known because they come out to their parents, or fear that they will get bullied at school. And the greatest freedom that anyone can enjoy is to not have to fear for his or her own safety. For many GLBT people, the ultimate freedom from fear means that they do not have to fear for their life.
The Freedom Democrats exist because YOU want to make the world a more welcoming place for GLBT citizens. Please join our cause to work within the Democratic Party to elect those who believe in OUR freedoms too.