I know the GOP is desperate to rebrand their party into something with a broader appeal. But for some reason the Democrats just don’t seem to want to cooperate in that endeavor.
I want to warn you up front that this will be one of those serious posts by me. I try to keep this blog light-hearted at least on some level but the topic I am going to discuss has no possibility of that. In the 1950s the “a” word was the atomic bomb. As a school kid during that time I was taught to get under my desk if the teacher told us an atomic bomb had been dropped. I never understood how my desk was going to protect me but that is another story.
In the 1970s and beyond the “a” word has become abortion. Abortion was not a new thing even back then as there were many thousands performed before that time. But when the Supreme Court made being able to easily get an abortion the law of the land via the Roe vs Wade ruling it came to the forefront. Unfortunately abortions accelerated quickly after that ruling.
Of course with our two-party system of government in the U.S. one party tends to take one side of an issue and the other takes the other side. The Republicans took up the “anti-abortion” mantel and the Democrats took up the “pro-choice” position. I recently got into some discussions with one of my regular commentors on this blog about this topic. The post around the comments didn’t really have anything to do with abortion but as usual when ideologies are discussed it often comes into the conversation.
Many who take the anti-abortion stand seem to think that all of us who support the Democratic party in any regard are somehow pro-abortion. They therefore expect all of us to give argument supporting abortion. I usually try to avoid these discussions as they are seldom fruitful but I had to finally declare that I am “pro-life” all the way. That statement probably surprises some but on looking up the facts of this issue it seems that 57% of Democrats do not want abortion on demand. But another statistic that may have even surprising to many is that even 29% of Republicans want abortion to be widely available. Here are the figures behind this statement.
So, it seems that the abortion issue does not fall strictly along party lines as most people seem to see it. I wish people would realize that there are people in both parties that are on both sides of this and many other issues.
Before leaving this post I am going to proclaim one more time.
I am “pro-life” all the way.
That is I am against abortion but I am also against capital-punishment, I am against war, and I am against guns. I am also firmly for universal healthcare and a strong safety net for all our citizens. Of all of these issues I generally only see most Republicans aligned with the first one. Are my Republican friends only pro-life when it comes to the unborn? To me a life is a life and should be treated as sacred in all instances. What point would it be to have a baby born and to then see that life extinguished due to a random shooting, an unnecessary war (and almost all our wars are unnecessary), an innocent person being found guilty of a crime, or even worse having someone die because of the lack of nourishment or adequate healthcare.
I am “pro-life” in all aspects of life. Not just those who are yet to be born. When I look at the overall picture I see the Democrats as being more aligned to the vast majority of these issues. All of them, not just abortion, often result in lives lost and I mourn each death no matter the cause. I wish my Republican friends could understand that.
Ok, enough of these serious issues. Let’s move on to something more light-hearted. How about politics.
I have always been a person who is constantly saying “Why?” Here are some whys that have been spewing off the top of my head lately. :) They are too small for an entire post so I am just going to throw it out here and in no particular order:
“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over a decade.”
It seems that many in this country think that all problems can be solved in a four-year presidential cycle. Of course life just doesn’t work that way. As noted above it took as decades to get into the troubles we are now digging out of. Years of Republican mantra of deregulation caused the near collapse of our financial sector. That mammoth problem can’t be corrected quickly.
“All they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last thirty years: Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”
As usual President Obama’s acceptance speech was uplifting. He knows just the right words to use get his feelings across. But to me the most significant thing about the speech was the difference between the Republican reaction to these time and the Democratic. The Republican convention last week seemed focused on who to blame for all our current problems and they blamed almost everyone except themselves.
The Republican response to our current problems is to blame everyone. Mr. Obama put forward a different approach. He cites the strength of our citizens as the answer and not the problem. He showed us that this is not the first problem that we have had as a country and it certainly won’t be the last one. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan seem to think that the only citizens who can do anything about our problems are the super-rich. If only we give them another tax break then it will trickle down through the economy and create jobs. As Ayn Rand, their hero, points out if only we can keep “those” people away for our riches we will have more for ourselves.
Something happened in the 1980s that caused corporations to no longer think of their employees as assets but to think of them as liabilities. Employees are something to be downsized in order to create a bigger profit. That is the current business mode and that is the basic philosophy of the current Republican leadership. The Democrats showed us this week that it is our citizens who are the primary asset of this country and if we just give them a level playing field prosperity can come to all of us once again.
So to me this election comes down to one basic question. Are our citizens assets or liabilities? It seems as simple as that.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is really the case then I say let the Democrats emulate the Republicans in their do-nothing attitude. There has been talk about the Senate Democrats letting the all the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing the ten-percent reduction in the military budgets by doing nothing. Will the Republicans be flattered by this imitation of their strategy in congress? I kind of doubt it.
But at least it would result in some restructuring of our debt increases. Will it be good for the jobs picture? It can’t be any worse than it is. The conservatives said that tax cuts to the “job creators” (meaning rich) would create jobs; never happened in the ten years since. How long do we need to wait If the Republican are really for no new taxes and all tax cuts then maybe they will agree to a middle class tax cut to put them back to where they were with the Bush cuts. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except those who are filthy rich. They might have to fork over a little more of their obese discretionary income. They may not be able to buy a second or third vacation home but they should get by.
This idea seems too good to be true for a Democrat strategy so I’m pretty sure they will screw it up before the end of the year. After all they have proved to be pretty good at caving into Republican demands lately. But at least I can hold out hope for this one.
But what do I know…
After passing the Senate unanimously in years past, the Violence Against Women Act, with revisions, faces strong partisan opposition. Still, Republicans don’t want to be tagged as waging a ‘war on women.’
As the quote says this bill has been unanimously approved in past years, so what happened this time? The thing to notice is what I underlined and that is “with revisions”. The Democrat leadership wants us to believe that it is just the Republicans being against everything. But reading further into the article you see that the Democratic leadership has added amendments around homosexuals and illegal immigrants to this version of the bill which they know the Republicans will rail against. Why would they do that if it threatened the good and agreeable parts that both sides of the aisle have agreed on in the past?
Of course the answer to that is the Democrat leaders are trying to convince the public that the opponents of the bill are anti-woman. To me this is a blaring example of the leadership gone bad this time in the Democratic party but all to often it is the Republican party. What both sides can agree on gets twisted around and is lost due to trying to make your opponents look bad. I am becoming more and more convinced that the answer to this gridlock is not necessarily eliminating one of the parties but to eliminate the leadership in both. Getting rid of the leaders would send a clear message to future ones that we want you guys and gals to play well together. If you don’t lead in that direction then you too are out the door.
This strategy could be accomplished without a wholesale change of representative. Pulling just eight members out would probably do the trick (four in the Senate and four in the House). But, the problem is how do we even do that? How do we convince the States who elected these leaders to sacrifice them for the greater good. A person who could manage to work this strategy to completion might be the hero of the day we drastically need. Right now those guys, which of course includes one gal, in the leadership are doing things simply to spite their opposition. How sad is that???
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. – Thomas Jefferson
These are powerful words for today and it is absolutely amazing that they were actually spoken more than two hundred years ago! It is no secret to those of us who are studied in American history that Thomas Jefferson was not a big fan of corporate interests. He believed in giving the power to the people; he was the first real Democrat in that regard.
I think Mr. Jefferson’s words have finally come to pass in this country. Especially with the recent Supreme Court decision that corporations are people and therefore have an unlimited right to spend whatever they want in our electoral processes. At least they haven’t “yet” given corporations the right to vote. It is yet to be determined the full extent of corporate pollution in our democratic processes but I fear the result will be ugly indeed! Will the upcoming flood of negative ads put out by the corporate interests turn a whole generation away from the management of our country?
New York Times: But, had a single Republican on the panel endorsed even a modest increase in upper-income tax rates, Republicans could have won trillions in cuts from entitlements and discretionary spending. … None would take that courageous step, and now it seems foolish to have expected that they would.”
National Journal: “Shame on Republicans for a stubborn unwillingness to seriously consider tax increases. Shame on Democrats for keeping a closed mind to significant benefit cuts. And shame on President Obama for standing idly by as Washington failed again to get the country’s fiscal house in order. The political system is broken. It’s only a matter of time before voters take matters in their own hands: The rise of a third party — or the dramatic overhaul of one of the existing ones — is in the offing. … Sooner or later, we will pay for the opportunities missed in 2011. Shame on us for letting that happen.”
It seems that both parties are thoroughly dug into the trenches and refusing to budge. I personally can see some validity on both sides on these issues. Why can’t they like their predecessors in the past been able to take the best of both sides into a common sense solution? Why are they so dug into an untenable position? The Republicans total refusal to consider ANY tax increase, even on those who have benefitted the most from tax decreases, is wrong headed to me. Until they can give a little the Democrats will likewise remain dug in. I guess someone has to blink and neither side wants to be the first to do that. How sad is that?
I seem to hear it again and again from Democratic in-siders that they wish President Obama would get more involved in these issues? I wonder what would happen if President Clinton were in office now instead of Mr. Obama? Would he have managed to wrench out some sort of compromise? I am one to also believe that the political system is broken in this country. I don’t know how long this can continue before a dramatic overhaul takes place. Third parties seem impossible to get any creditability these days; they seem to only form on the fringes of society. How else can an overhaul take place? Let’s pray that someone can consolidate the citizenry around saner principles. We definitely need someone and soon.