Out in the Cold by Eric Keller

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The Continental Army at Valley Forge was an immigrant army with the majority of its soldiers coming from poor households. At the time, it seemed like a losing proposition, with General Washington losing the battle for New York City and virtually all other skirmishes to the professional British Army. Defeat after defeat, few provisions and supplies, random pay if at all, and the bitter winter meant each soldier faced despair every time they woke in the morning. They were losing the war…until they weren’t.

This army not only endured, but gained a professionalism through hard, cold work and under the guidance of an immigrant who barely spoke English. They were diverse in composition with ex-slaves fighting alongside poor landowners. They did not know ,in the winter of 1777-78, that a few years later, many will watch the British Army lay down their arms at Yorktown.

The Democratic Party of Anderson County, Tennessee is in a Valley Forge. The Republican Party swept the county and state elections. Strong support for Trump still exists at a higher percentage than most of the country. The Democrats in the county and state are in a minority and relatively powerless to enact their policies through the Republican government. Indeed, it seems as if we are losing the war for the soul of the county. Poor legislative decisions such as Medicaid block grants and charter schools hold sway while humane proposals that will help folks get health insurance and a better public school system are shut down by a Republican super-majority.

The Republican Party is dominant…until it is not. Here is why they will ultimately fail. We believe in a diverse population that grows together in the richness of the world’s cultures. We believe health care is a right of every person in the county…not a privilege for the few. We believe public schools are the backbone of our communities and need to be funded so teachers, buildings, and curriculums are strengthened. We believe that a county divided by “haves” and “have-nots” can be transformed by education, good social supports, strong healthcare, and compassionate government so all people thrive.

We are Democrats. We are standing in the winter of our times while Trumpism blows in hatred and division like a cold, bitter wind. Yet, we will lean into that wind, lift our heads, and begin walking into the cold. For we will endure…we will thrive…and we will bring the warmth back to Anderson County, Tennessee.