Thursday, March 10, 2011

Core Beliefs

With all the posts on politics I've offended some people.  Some of these people were long standing friends.  I'm not sure whether they will continue to be my friend after this bout of political sharing.  In every day life, I'm pretty middle of the road.  I'll vote for the candidate and how he or she represents themselves.  I don't consider myself either Democrat or Republican.

One of the friends who disagrees with my point of view told me to explore the different beliefs of the parties and present a more balanced view.  My first thought was - it isn't supposed to be a balanced view - this is my blog about MY opinions.  However, I like to keep an open mind and I like to listen to a lot of different perspectives.  So I thought I'd start at the heart of the beliefs. 

Here are the core beliefs of the Republican party (http://www.gop.com/index.php/issues/what_we_believe/)

What we believe
We're fortunate to live in America
You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming
Helping those around you is worthwhile
Small government is a better government for the people
You know what to do with your money better than government
Free markets keep people free
Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy

Now to be fair - after each of these statements on the site they have a statement of what this means to the republicans. 

Here are the core beliefs of the Democrats (http://strongdems.com/tag/core-beliefs/)

We stand for:

•Liberty
•Justice
•Equality for all
•Community
•Strong Middle Class Jobs
•Defense of our shores
•Modern Infrastructure
•Economic Stability and Prosperity
•Energy Independence
•Environmental Protection

I look at these two lists and think - were they copying from each other the day they wrote these?  Okay there are a few differences in their wording but let's look at these lists.

Dems - Liberty, Defense of our shores  Rep - Our Armed Forces defend and protect our democracy :  This seems pretty equal to me - not the same wording but the core ideas are there.

Dems - Community    Rep - Helping those around you is worthwhile :  Here we might be a bit further apart.  The Republicans seem to be saying that it is OK to help others... the Dems seem to be wanting you to be involved in your neighborhood and society - maybe a bit broader point but without further definition it is hard to tell.

Dems - Justice and Equality for all     Rep - You can be what you are, and become what you are capable of becoming:    Dems seem to be spewing words from the constitution - not a bad thing but how are you defining it?  Reps are just vague and here is where I have to say I take SEVERE issue with them.  They have this in their core beliefs but if you are a woman they are going to tell you what to do with your body.  If you are gay or lesbian they are going to prevent you from being married... so maybe they need a codicil on their statement.

Dems - Economic stability and prosperity     Reps - You know what to do with your money better than government:    Reps - have you seriously looked at the bankruptcy rates and the credit card debt - are you sure that Americans have a clue about money?  I think we may need a remedial course in money management all the way around... Dems - true statement and any reasonable person would read this and say "yes I agree" but what do you mean by it, how will you achieve it?  I want more details from you on this...

This leaves four principles for the Dems and three for the Reps which I can't really match up - perhaps they decided to have things just slightly different so the teacher wouldn't think they were cheating??? 

The Dems say they want a strong middle class and the Reps say they believe a free market keeps people free.  Economists will tell you that if the middle class is doing well the the economy is doing well.  I believe (not an expert) that most economists agree on this ...  

Free market is a whole different thing.  If we look at NAFTA and other free market deals all that really did was allow companies to take jobs out of the US and move it overseas.  Now nearly everything is made overseas where there are little to no workers rights or protections..  Do you know if your clothes were made in a sweat shop?  ABC news did an interesting report where they took everything out of a house that was not made in America.  The house was nearly empty.  They then put back only made in America items.  Overall I believe (didn't see every report) they found items that were the same cost or less that were made in the US.  The only items they didn't find to be less expensive were the appliances - only ones still made in US are the top of the line WOLF appliance (made in WI I think).  So why are we buying foreign made goods so much?  Why aren't we putting our neighbors to work?

The reps also say we are fortunate to live in America - yes we are.  That doesn't mean that things are perfect here.  They also claim to believe in small government being better for the people.  A principle I agree with.  I don't want the government regulating my womb.  I don't want the government telling me who I can marry.  Oh wait the reps do that - maybe someone should show them their core beliefs and explain them to them so they remember that.  (That may have been slightly bitchy or all out bitchy but I'm not apologizing for the republicans)

On the other side of the aisle the dems stand for modern infrastructure, energy independence, and environmental protection.  I'd argue with this but I can't.  I too believe if we have these things it makes our country better.  Yet I don't want to go into debt to achieve these things.  If we go into debt though initially will it stimulate the economy enough that more revenues will be generated to cover the debt?  I don't know - again I"m not an economist. 

Here is my thing - when we are talking about ideals.  I agree with both parties.  I like the principles of each and think they have some great core beliefs.  The problem occurs when they try to implement these beliefs.  There needs to be a strong independent spirit in our politicians.  They have to be above things like their own greed in accumulating power and money for their own aggrandizement.  Unfortunately most politicians aren't. 

I see these beliefs and I want to weep for joy in the wonderful idealistic tone of them.  Then I look at how they have been applied.  I think at the heart of it our politicians have forgotten they are hired by the people to serve the people.  Few of them are doing a good job.  Sadly it seems to me that recent events have proven that money can buy an election.  Just look at Wisconsin.

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