The two major parties in the United States are not as far apart as people might think. Most of the sound bites do not come from the center of the parties but from the fringe. Both parties want to see America grow and be strong. They want to see the people happy and successful. They just have different approaches to reach these goals.
This may sound a bit odd but I don’t think there is anything inherently evil or self serving in either party. I think the majority of our elected officials are doing a reasonable job on some very complex issues. Yes there will always be abuse of power. If we were to be honest with ourselves I would say that it would be hard for any of us not to take a little advantage if we were in their position. Would we refuse to take only a warning for a traffic ticket when the officer recognizes us as a neighbor? Would we refuse a discount no one else would get on an item or tickets to an event because we had a friend on the inside? I understand that they have a sacred trust and to purposely peddle influence is shameful and should be punished, but I think most elected officials are doing their best.
I believe the Republican Party is based on strong principles of order and organization. They believe they can keep the United States strong by providing business the ability to grow and to limit restrictions put on it. Stronger business means more jobs, more spendable cash in the system, and a general lifting of American productivity.
They generally believe that it is not the government’s business to get into the daily lives or the pockets of the people. Things like education and health care should be provided but not overly controlled by the government. They believe private industry and charity groups should do their share to support the people’s day to day needs. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the suffering of the poor, and they would not destroy the present safety net. They just believe that the government has to be realistic in how much it can do for its citizens. As the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and the Republicans believe we have to be careful not overburden everyone in a misguided attempt to improve the lot of some of our citizens.
Another major stand of the Republicans is tax reduction by cutting waste from government spending. This is a very popular stand obviously but the waste never seems to get cut because waste is a natural result of any organization containing more than five members. It is like saying you are going to keep your house perfectly clean at all times. It is a good idea but not very realistic.
The Republicans seem to want to be seen as the champions of what is right for the overall good and not necessarily what the people think is good at one time or another. Our former Vice President had become famous for his lack of interest in what the people thought.
The Democrats focus more on the people and less on the institutions like business. They have less trust in business to do what it takes to help the people. They have never had faith in the “trickle down” idea, and history seems to be on their side. Business was given an amazing amount of freedom by the previous administration and for the most part it thrived. During this time of boom for business the lot of the working class improved very little. There was no trickle down but there was an incredible increase in the net worth of the officers of the major corporations.
It is funny, that statistically, I believe the Republicans are more identified with large faith based organizations, but the Democrats feel they have the moral high ground when it comes to the welfare of the citizens. They are likely to regulate industries to protect the workers or the environment. They like to appear to be like Robin Hood; they rob from the rich and give to the poor. The problem is the terms rich and poor are relative. A person can seem rich to one person and poor to another. A tax on business can also be a tax on small family owned businesses and even family farms.
Democrats seem to have an “ends justifies the means” approach at times. What they are trying to do is right but sometimes the way they do it can cause more harm than good. A prime example is that it was the Democrats during the Clinton administration that repealed restrictions on mortgage and banking practices to allow hard working people a better chance at buying a house. This move was well intended but not well thought through. It does not do the people or the economy any good to offer loans that people cannot realistically afford. When the Republicans took control they were more than happy to continue and expand on this blunder and this is one of the main causes of the recession we experienced.
The Democrats seem to want to be seen as the heroes of the people. They are ready to take up the popular causes and their party contains most of the single issue factions. They have women’s rights, gay rights, universal health care, and many other issues. This makes them more responsive and they are more likely to give a voice to people that are seldom heard. However, this zeal is easily manipulated by the Republicans. They have been baited many times on a single issue that will take the focus away from a Republican misstep. I don’t know how many times the Republicans would be facing a problem and out of nowhere an issue like gay marriage would flare up. The Democrats would get all wrapped around their axel and the Republican misstep would be forgotten.
Governing is an extremely complex activity and no one has come close to figuring out the correct path on every policy. A balance is the best. Both parties mean well and we need both of them to maintain the American way.