Democrat Or Republican(Part One)
In our country, though anyone is free to start a political party, for a long time politics have been dominated by two parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Control of the House, the Senate and the presidency has gone back and forth between the two parties but as this has happened, very little has been accomplished as far as resolving the issues that face this country. Despite the changing advantage between the two parties, the same issues seem to plague us at every turn. I thought tonight I would take a look at the core values of each parties platform in an effort to see if the problems are truly shared, or if one party or the other seems to be accomplishing more. In an effort to truly represent each sides views I am going to use their very own websites as a source of the direction of their views. That way, no one can say that I have misrepresented the positions of either party and we will see what we learn. I plan to compare each party’s views on the issues and see who is actually getting things done and who is just wasting our money with their salaries and failed programs.
Civil Rights–The following are the claims of the Democrat platform as per their website.
- Strengthening the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to better protect voting rights;
- Enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which includes measures prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
- Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security;
- Ensuring civil unions and equal federal rights for LGBT couples, as well as fully repealing the Defense of Marriage Act;
- Ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling; and
- Building a fair and more equitable criminal justice system that provides non-violent offenders a second chance at a rehabilitated life
Then we have the following civil rights platform goals from the Republican site.
- Well, I’m not saying that the Republican party has no civil rights goals but in the list of issues on their platform, civil rights was not one of them
Okay, so I find that kind of funny but we’ll chalk that up to just a different website style and face the issues. First off, we see that the Democrats want to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It seems that we have one side of the aisle wanting homosexuals to be able to openly serve in the military while the other side is against that. Personally, I don’t see that as that hard of a problem to fix and here is why. First off, if we are going to be a country where homosexuality is openly accepted, then I believe as a society that we need to take a hard-line stance against intolerance. People have been out of the closet for decades now and I think that a person who would spew hate at someone because of their sexual preference is no different from a bigot. I am not saying someone whose beliefs go against the lifestyle has to participate in said lifestyle, but we all have different beliefs and if we are truly a free country than we must exercise tolerance. If someone will not, they are, in my opinion, no different from the radical Islamic supporters who are intolerant of Christianity. I also believe that if a solider is not comfortable, for example, with showering with a homosexual then why can’t they have separate showers?? Wouldn’t that be a simple solution?
I can understand a straight Christian being uncomfortable showering with someone who is gay but I cannot understand a straight person continuing to hate a homosexual when they are never put into a situation where sexuality would cause either person discomfort. It may be sad that we cannot accept each other enough to have this not be an option, but considering the uncomfortable feelings of this situation it just seems to me this would solve a lot of the problem. One more point. Intolerance is intolerance. If you believe in being that way, you being a Christian does not justify it. We are a country of personal freedom and no one has the right to demand personal freedom out of one side of their mouth while denying it to others out of the other. If we are going to allow people to be themselves, part of doing so requires people of different beliefs to be tolerant of views they don’t agree with that do no affect them.
On the other civil rights issues, such as race and gender related subjects, I believe there is a difference in the views between parties but it also involves the subject of economic status as much as it does a race. The Democrats tend to be more supportive of expansive social programs targeted towards the poor, and because there is a large minority population counted among the poor in this country, the Democrats are often considered more friendly to minorities. I believe this is not the right way to look at it. I do not think the Republicans are against minorities as much as they are trying to send a message out there that minorities should not accept their financial status as having to be permanent. Republicans believe that in many cases, these social programs designed to help poorer people who are often minorities actually hurt them by allowing them to become complacent as far as their position in life, and by constantly having this safety net there(welfare, state-aid, etc.), it prevents them from having the drive to strive to rise above their situation.
The Best Perspective?-I believe the Democrats have the more logical view on civil rights but there is issue with their position. Their view tends to be more accepting of racial and gender related issues and because they do not pander to the religious Christian right that is so important to the Republicans, their views encompass more tolerance and acceptance of one’s personal freedom. At the same time, it is hard to argue with the Republican view that many social programs such as welfare actually contribute to poverty by allowing people, in many cases minorities, to accept their financial position instead of striving to break free from it. That being said though, the Republicans need a lot of work in accepting views such as gay rights, complaints against racial profiling, etc. The fact that the Republicans court the view of the extreme religious right often hurts them and as sad as it is to say, the extreme right has a long way to go in learning that they must be tolerant of views outside their own.
National Security/National Defense-This particular issue is a little different from the others. Both parties platform states generally the same thing. Preventing terrorism, maintaining a strong military and intelligence community and keeping a close eye on nuclear proliferation. While their general positions might be the same in their platform statements, the application of these views are very different. We saw, during the Bush administration an aggressive, preemptive policy designed to assume what countries or situations could pose a risk in the future and dealing with them before they became problematic. After 9/11, both parties were unified in their support for going after terrorist groups, but after the emotion of the World Trade Center attacks started to fade, so did Democratic support for a war in Iraq with seemingly no goal and no end in sight. Iraq was used as a tool of criticism against not only President Bush, but also against the failed actions of the intelligence community. What is even stranger is that the moment Obama was elected, suddenly all the Republicans who supported Bush now attacked Obama over a war that Bush started. In the end, the preemptive action against Iraq proved to be based on poor information and lies that were obviously connected to politics and ten years later, Iraq is really in no better shape than it was when Saddam was in power.
With all that being said, had the intelligence behind the Iraq war been accurate, I think it would have been fair to say that Bush acted correctly in defending our nation and because he doesn’t do the intelligence legwork himself, it is hard to blame the Republicans and his administration alone for the mess Iraq wound up becoming. If Iran turns out to be similar in the accuracy of our intelligence, then we are going to have a problem, but I must admit, if it turns out they are building a bomb, and are planning on using it against Israel, as they have publicly stated, then they are going a step farther than Saddam did and the Republican view of preemptive striking will, in my opinion, be justified.
The Best Perspective? I am going to have to side with the Republicans on this one, despite my disgust with what became of the Iraq situation. I do not support every aspect of their platform but I do believe if we have accurate information that a country is a threat that we need to defend ourselves. The Iraq situation was not a case of the platform being wrong, instead it was the intelligence. If after the invasion, we had located a bunch of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, I feel our attack would have been far more justified and that is what the Bush administration believed would happen. Considering that fact, I will only say that I hope in the future, our intelligence community is more accurate in the information they provide so that if we do send our sons and daughters to war, they are going for a legitimate reason. One other thing. For those out there that want to blame Bush, keep in mind two things. First, I thought Bush was generally a moron so it isn’t like I’m some big supporter trying to defend him and secondly, I hope people remember that after 9/11 Democrats and Republicans alike were united in their aggression towards the Middle Eats in general so it can’t all be thrown on the Republicans now that it didn’t work out.
These are only two areas of policy but I thought I would look at each of them is parts so it isn’t too long-winded. Part two should be posted within the next day or two. Thanks for reading.