In Brief—A discussion of the hurdles Republicans face that will determine whether the nation stands or falls in an ever-changing world.
Hurdles Determine the Race—
I have a confession. My first vote was Republican. If it was good enough for my family it was good enough for me. I quickly realized that my philosophy didn’t fit the vote I cast. From that day on I have never cast a vote for a Republican or their propositions. Indeed, I have gone beyond the American two-party system.
The world is more complex than when I cast that first vote. Turmoil has greatly increased over the ensuing decades. Naivety evaporated in the face of reality. Prompted by that awareness, I researched the party platforms of the two main parties to see how they would govern the nation.
The facts presented here are based on the 2012 documents and may differ slightly from the platforms being written today. Based on what the current candidates are saying, it’s fair to guess that the Republican platform may be even more regressive than in 2012.
Both the Republican and Democratic platforms, the blueprints guiding party politicians, are partisan documents that are lengthy and present arguments that set the parties apart from one another. However, if you ignore the partisan claptrap, a startling difference emerges.
The Republican platform looks backward to a mythical golden city on a hill while invoking God and would, in fact, limit or eliminate many of the programs and laws that make America as humane as it is today. They adhere to “conservatism” that is defined as clinging to the past. Not only do they want to turn back the clock, they idolize the past.
In sharp contrast, the Democratic platform seeks to build on proven successes by looking forward to leading the nation to a more enlightened place. It embraces science and works to improve the lives of all. Put succinctly, the Republican platform looks backward to an imagined past while the Democratic platform looks forward toward a better future.
A quick look at just a few of the current areas dominating the political scene today clearly reveals the differences between the parties. A look at the two parties’ presidential candidates’ statements illustrates the enormous gap between them.
Voting—Citing spurious concerns—curiously targeting Democratic voters—at least 18 Republican-governed states have recently enacted stringent laws disenfranchising numerous voters. Voter suppression is almost exclusively Republican and is multi-faceted. America is alone in the democratic world in disenfranchising voters. Republicans are the apostles of disenfranchisement.
By contrast, the Democratic platform proposes the expansion of the voting franchise and supports the concept of counting every single vote instead of the antiquated Electoral College method.
Marriage—The Republican platform condemns the recent Supreme Court decision permitting couples of all sexes (LGBT) to marry, saying that only a man and a woman are to be allowed to marry. This carries over into acceptance of the constitutional rights of the LGBT community.
The Democratic platform supports the rights of all loving couples to marry. They wholeheartedly support the rights of all regardless of sexual status.
Climate Change—The Republican platform is completely silent on climate change stating only that the Clean Air Act stands in the way of economic development. Based on unfettered economic growth, almost all the Republican presidential candidates at least doubt if not deny the validity of human-caused climate change.
The Democratic platform and candidates uniformly believe that human-caused climate change is undeniable.
Health—The Republican platform and virtually all Republicans oppose Obamacare (ACA), saying that consumers must be free to see to their own health needs. They have repeatedly and unsuccessfully voted against Obamacare despite the law being upheld by the Supreme Court.
By contrast, the Democratic platform supports the ACA and looks forward to expanding it.
Abortion—The Republican platform and most Republicans oppose abortion for any reason. In addition, they would forbid the scientific use of fetal tissue that devises treatments for a range of diseases. Republicans dishonestly and unscientifically pillory Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves all females, despite abortions being less than 5% of what the organization does.
The Democratic platform fully supports the rights of all females to make decisions regarding their own reproductive health as well as the science of fetal cell research.
Environment—Bowing to Koch money and business interests, the Republican platform calls for the sharp reduction of services performed by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmentalist use of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Democratic platform supports the use of the EPA to protect American citizens and supports the protection of endangered species.
Social Security—The Republican platform calls for the privatization of Social Security to allow citizens to invest their retirement funds with the Wall Street gamblers who nearly brought the world to its knees in 2008.
The Democratic platform not only supports Social Security but supports expanding it through a small tax on the wealthy.
Immigration—The Republican platform and all their candidates for president in 2016 propose limiting or opposing the immigration of aliens, in some cases abandoning a more welcoming stance held previously. The current refugee crisis feeds much of this intransigence.
The Democratic platform supports alien immigration. The current presidential candidates support immigration policy albeit with caution arising out of present refugee concerns.
Military—Both parties stand together in support of the military. Peace through Strength, they say. Sounds Orwellian. With at least two wars going on and military personnel active in hundreds of locations around the globe, it’s fair to say that congress and the administration will shovel money, indeed more than the Pentagon requests, into the greedy maw of the military.
These are just a fraction of the many differences that display the irrational backward orientation of the Republican Party contrasted with the forward embrace of the future by the Democratic Party. Ask if you doubt what is in the party platforms.
Think about this when you step into the voting booth. America’s future depends on you.