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The Tentacle


April 17, 2008

Republicans v. Democrats: A Primer

Patricia A. Kelly

This is for me, as much as for you, a study of the theoretical differences between the two major political parties, one of which will provide us with our next president.

 

In between major events such as this national election, I try to ignore politics. I‘m busy, after all, and political behaviors are slippery, complicated, and hard to follow.

 

It seems to me that a lot of promises are made and that the point of them is to get the candidate elected. After the election, the winner buys some new suits, hires a stylist, and goes to Washington, or downtown Frederick, as the case may be.

 

He then falls is with the “in” political crowd and gets to work on fulfilling whatever promises he really intended to fulfill. He often concludes that what he promised won’t pass. Maybe it was too simplistic. Maybe the powers that be have other plans. Or maybe he was lying in the first place.

 

He soon, in collaboration with his new bedfellows (remember how early American travelers often had to share beds in inns?), takes on deciding what should be done in his district, voters be damned. When the next election looms, he puts his ear to the ground and trots out the promises again.

 

Do I sound ignorant? Jaded? I’m both, for sure, but people become jaded for a reason, in this case, a life of witnessing misbehavior on the part of politicians. Ignorant? Yes, that too; but real knowledge and understanding is certainly difficult in the face of obfuscation, earmarks, junkets, self-aggrandizement and downright lies.

 

Witness Sen. Hillary R. Clinton’s assertion during her husband’s impeachment that he was the victim of a vast right wing conspiracy, behaving as if she believed him in spite of his well-known past infidelities.

 

After he was outed, she “loved him with compassion,” making herself appealing on a personal level, and winning herself a Senate seat. Now she’s been under fire in Bosnia and is one of the “common folk” of America, not elitist at all, her plan for our health care early in her husband’s presidency notwithstanding.

 

As for Sen. Barack H. Obama, formerly known as Barry, he is for unity and respect for all races, for true union, and a resurgent America. He has slipped up, however, both in his assertion that working whites, embittered by their lack of power, turn to guns and religion, and in the unfortunate outing, for him, of his pastor.

 

Surely there is a huge well of anger, passed down through the generations, in the African-American community of the United States. I know I would carry it if I had their heritage. I carry some anger from my experience as a woman.

 

I’m sure The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is not the only one who has mentioned this anger from the pulpit. It is almost certainly reflected in Mr. Obama’s recent remarks. He would just do better with me by addressing it openly.

 

As for the Republicans, I haven’t personally caught Sen. John McCain in a lie, and have read that his involvement in the Keating Five scandal inspired him to avoid favoritism. But his party hasn’t been acquitting itself in a principled fashion in recent years. So, wondering what’s corruption and what’s party philosophy, I looked the two parties up online.

 

To quote from the Democratic Party website: “The Democratic Party is committed to keeping our nation safe and expanding opportunity for every American. That commitment creates an agenda that emphasizes the security of our nation, strong economic growth, affordable health care for all Americans, retirement security, honest government and civil rights.

 

I have questions, but a mission statement is certainly a good start for a website.

 

The official Republican website falls a little short. It invites readers to join, decries leftwing special interest groups, and attempts to raise money for the fight against Liberals.

 

“Join the Republican Party today and help elect GOP candidates who support:

                                    Lower Taxes

                                    Victory in the War on Terror

            `                       Smaller Government

                                    Individual Freedom

 

Not exactly a mission statement, and certainly not much help with what to do about the specific problems facing us now: corporate greed and irresponsibility; the corporate veil; the subprime mortgage scandal; the proper way to fight terrorism in; government violation of it’s own immigration laws; the economic impact of same, etc. Smaller government alone just isn’t enough of an answer.

 

I’ll keep paying attention for now, until I get too sick of it, or until the national elections are over.

 



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