A lot can be said about the difference between Democrats and Republicans as political candidates. Each one of them stands for an agenda that is beyond one personal belief. But what of a non-politician? What makes a casual citizen vote either Democrat or Republican?
I was in a bar the other night when I overheard someone say to a friend of mine that he was voting republican because he didn’t agree with Obama’s economic policies. Now, I don’t know a thing about the details of economics, and I know that there are a lot of very smart people who do and say that conservative economic policies are better for us. That’s all well and good, I have no problem with that.
Yet I consider what that friend of mine said: that he’s voting Republican just because of the economic policy issue. When I heard this, I was suddenly struck with the notion that, despite the economy and its policies being that person’s motivating issue for his vote, that’s still not all he’s actually voting for by going Republican.
If he agrees with conservative economic policies, that’s fine, but by voting Republican he’s also voting for the other things and policies that come along with doing so:
- Deregulation of just about everything
- The inhibition of women’s rights
- A lack of care or help for those in poverty
- The narrowing of the definition of the first amendment
- Keeping the ultra-rich ultra-rich
- Anti-gay marriage
- Anti-homosexuality in general (this is different from the last point)
- Pro-Theocracy/removal of the separation of Church and State
- Anti-science, anti-evolution
- Anti-affordable health care for everyone
And not to mention a whole other slew of subtle issues involving racism, free speech, equality for all, and freedom for all.
It’s a sad fact that this is what the Republican party stands for these days, such that if you vote Republican for something like their economic viewpoint, you are also voting subjectively for all of the bullet points above and more.
Looking at the economic policies specifically, it’s no secret that the Republican stance advocates less taxes, smaller government, and thus more money per individual after taxes are collected—this is of course a fine thing for many people who look at just this one issue.
But is it worth saving a small percentage of your total income per year for yourself by also inhibiting the rights of so many other people in the ways listed above?
To me, it seems the only way you can possibly say yes to that is if you in fact DON’T care about the social and cultural freedoms that the Republicans want to take away and the Democrats want to insure.
And here’s another thing: the Democratic economic policies aren’t going to bankrupt you. They’re not going to run the country into the ground—logically speaking, it’s entirely against their own interests to do so. We’ve been under Democratic economic policies before, and we’ve turned out fine.
So, I ask the person who said he’s voting Republican because of economic policies alone: are you actually willing to vote that way just to save yourself a few extra dollars and ensure that large corporations and the mega-rich continue their hegemony over everyone, when by doing so you’ll be inhibiting services, respect, and equality for so many others?
It’s just flat-out selfish. You CAN’T vote Republican for economic reasons alone if you care about all these other factors and issues. It’s just flat out greedy, to be willing to sacrifice others’ rights so you don’t have to pay as many taxes. It’s not even like the taxes get pocketed by other individuals, it gets used for something—something that most people rely on in many way and don’t even realize it.
So, what IS a Republican these days? Is it someone who is truly conservative in all aspects, who believe that their way is the only way and everyone else can go to hell (literally), or is it someone who votes for them on one issue alone and ignores the entire list of others? I hope the numbers of the latter start shrinking fast. It’s very short-sighted.
This is a big problem with the two-party system when one party gets hijacked by one very narrow viewpoint. I feel sorry for conservative economic thinkers like my father who have vote Democrat because they realize that they actually don’t agree with the vast majority of current Republican policy.
…but only a little. :)