Time and time again, I’ve heard the same narrative:
The democrats stand for low income families – people barely making by on the margins of life, the elderly, minorities, women, children, and the homeless. The republicans stand for millionaires and billionaires – the wealthy and the powerful; they stand for big business because big business is at the heart of American politics and they keep the rubes happy with meaningless tax cuts while they take away their support systems and social safety nets.
That is the essential message I get wherever I go these days. We need to recast that narrative, because it’s not a fair representation of the core values of the two parties. Let’s be clear…BOTH republicans AND democrats BELIEVE that they are standing for everyone who needs an ally. They both think their basic governing philosophy is better for the homeless and the poor and the sick and the elderly. Believing otherwise is believing propaganda (on both sides of the political spectrum).
Democrats think that the way to help the poor and the weak is to charge taxes against those who have more to give and to redistribute that wealth into programs intended to provide assistance to the needy. At core, democrats don’t think that Americans can or should take care of themselves because, at core, democrats don’t think we’ll do enough to help the disadvantaged get by on our own. In some cases, they’re right…there are definitely services that are best administered from the top down because organizing them would be difficult for ordinary citizens or even churches.
Republicans believe that the struggling poor benefit most from an economic system that places the incentive on innovation and capital investment. They believe that an unfettered economy allowed to function without excessive regulation benefits everyone by creating more jobs, more wealth to distribute in exchange for work, and more opportunity for the individual to invest in their own genius and create wealth out of nothing. We are currently fighting to avoid increases in capital gains taxes, income taxes for the wealthy, and corporate taxes because we believe these things will hurt job creation and keep more Americans poor and subservient to government aid…not because we think Joe Millionaire should keep all of his money and swim in it at night, and not because we dislike all of those people who the narrative casts as helpless and marginal.
That’s it, folks. There is an honest, yet very real core disagreement…this isn’t a game of heroes and villains, it’s not about identity politics (continuing on that train of thought from my previous post), and it’s not about nefarious characters ni the shadows scoring a fortune off our backs. There are, no doubt, bad dudes in Washington, but they cross party lines and they don’t ascribe to one core ideology over the other.
This needs to be said by any candidate from the GOP before I’ll get excited.