The Michigan Democratic Party mirrors our population as a state and reflects our values as a people in a way that puts our opponents to shame. But we must do more than strive to be better than what we oppose.

We have to raise the bar so high that our truth becomes their reality. If we’re going to represent our entire state in government, it is essential the hardworking people of Michigan — every race, background, religion, and experience — be represented and have a voice in our party.

It is also critical that party leaders and members treat extremist outliers who practice, preach, or fly the flag of hate within our own tent the same as they would hate in any form from the other direction.

“Our diversity is our strength” isn’t just some phrase you throw on a bumper sticker or a red hat — it has meaning for Democrats of all generations and forms the foundation of all that we stand for and strive to be.

If you don’t share that belief or think it’s acceptable to weaponize hate as long as it benefits your cause, then go ahead give yourself whatever label you want — just don’t call yourself a Michigan Democrat, because there’s no place for you or the politics of hate and division in our Party.

It is also important, though, for us to recognize that diversity is fluid and can never be perfect or it would lose its meaning. We must take what we stand for and strive even harder to achieve it, because if we ever stop reaching for that mountaintop, the words and beliefs to which we lay claim — as Democrats — will lose all meaning.

Hate took over one party because it was embraced, fostered, and considered acceptable blowback to achieve their goals. They couldn’t control it, and now hate controls them.

We cannot and will not allow that to happen to the Democratic Party in Michigan. There is no evil or extra advantage worth sacrificing our beliefs, our values, or our souls as Democrats — Michigan Democrats.

The torch we pass to future leaders of our party and our state cannot be engulfed by the fires of hate but must shine brighter still with the eternal flame of hope and continue to light the way toward progress for all Americans.

Lavora Barnes, chief operating officer

Michigan Democratic Party

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