I’ve been mulling this over in my head as I lurk and observe how the presidential candidates interact with each other, their constituents, the media and their party. One aspect about politics over time, values have degraded substantially. Alas, this is the time to open up the discussion on the two major political parties in America: Democrats and Republicans.
Note: This post is purely my own opinion and does not in any way reflect the views of my peers, friends or my employer. I encourage independent thought, and this is just one example of it.
Growing up, my parents weren’t too interested in politics, mainly due to their view that it was always about money, corruption and empty promises. I don’t fault them for it, in fact, it helped me think independently and form my own understanding of politicians. One problem in my perspective before I dive into things — the only democratic president I’ve lived through was President Bill Clinton; before Clinton’s term, I remember the last several months of President George Bush Sr., only minimally.
President Clinton appeared to have stood up for diplomacy, equal rights (propelled by First Lady Hillary) and helped provide welfare for the working-class citizen. Conversely, I recall Bush doing speeches on Desert Storm and not much else. (I’m not wrong, I’m just younger, and this is just a casualty of that).
I’ve been taught in school that Democrats provided equal protection for all citizens for peace, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to accomplish this, proponents would ensure that the government wouldn’t employ excess taxation against the poor; while protecting the rights of the rich from frivolous claims.
On the other hand, I was taught that Republicans provided land owners protection for their land and preservation of rights for business owners. While slanted at best, I was informed that Republicans were in support of slavery in the darker times of America.
Fast forward to President George W. Bush’s term, I began to have an increased interest in politics. Though I did vote for John Kerry, I really wanted to have some fundamental reasons on why I did so I had reason to give to critics. It was tough, because Bush just didn’t seem to have the leadership/charisma behind him, his supporters were often louder than him, and during his term his true colors have shown.
So having that said, I bring my talking points to the table. In today’s Democracy (rather Republic, by definition), where have the core values of the political parties gone?
I was under the impression that Conservatives favored limited government, limited taxation, and very conservative interpretation of the Law/Constitution.
Why is it that Bush and the rest of Republican-dominated Congress passed the PATRIOT Acts 1, 2 and 3 with minimal pushback? These acts, override the Constitution explicitly — essentially re-writing history of this great nation, famed for Civil Rights and Due Process. Their propaganda to push these through congress were in response to the Terrorist Attacks on 9/11 so they can secure the “homeland” from people who pose risk to it.
Why is it that despite being attacked by Al Qaeda, a terrorist group in Afghanistan, we decided on engaging Iraq in a “War on Terrorism,” further declared as building Iraq’s government to emulate a democratic-republic like ours? Why the hell isn’t Osama Bin Laden’s head in a noose right now? I agree that Saddam Hussein was indeed a distasteful leader and would torture his citizens who dissented — but he was not our number one priority at the time. In fact, after much critical review, he had nothing to do with 9/11, maybe with exception to purchasing weapons from us when we sold it to him.
Who pays for this War on Terrorism? Americans. The very people that conservatives claim they are saving taxes, protecting their freedom and liberties for.
And Democrats, while they didn’t dominate Congress in the past eight years, why didn’t they form a solid voice against republicans? Why was it that many famed liberals didn’t speak up, didn’t hold their ground, didn’t hold atrociously long Filibusters? Democrats are just as wrong for conceding against their party values in favor of lobbyists.
Which brings me to my next point, Lobbyists. How is it legal that someone can accept a combination of monetary donations, trips, gifts or other “contributions” from large corporations to congressional leaders who make important (and some unimportant) decisions for our country? Has everyone been influenced by money in politics? Is the reward to decide what is best for America not good enough? From the Tobacco industry, the fast-food industry, automotive industry, including the Technology (Internet) industry all have lobbyists that “wine-and-dine” congress leaders and influence them into making decisions based on personal agenda. I ask again — how is this legal — how exactly does this protect the interests of America?
I then look at the behavior between presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and just shake my head in disgust. Does Hillary really want to suffer a 2% loss to John McCain for her party? The notion of “working together” also applies to competing candidates in the same party. As a voter, I am more compelled to judge someone by their campaign and their acceptance of other people’s differences than their Senate history. Low, underhanded and down-right lies do not improve the general publics’ view of you or your party. So far, Obama has run a very clean election compared to the other candidates and for that, he earns kudos from me.
As I conclude this rather long diatribe on the loss of values, I want to emphasize my point. We should not make decisions just because one party agrees with a majority leader, nor should we do party-line voting, nor should we accept special interest groups influencing the future of this country. We need to think objectively, in the best interest of everyone — the rich, the poor, the middle class, the class-less. We need to unite together, accept our differences, races, colors, beliefs, religions and understand that this country is built on independent thought. Our country’s founders are confederates from Great Britain; seeking religious freedom. We should preserve those interests by embracing the rights, the wrongs, the justice and injustices we’ve had and move forward into taking America back into the number one technology sector, number one education system, and number one welfare for all.
What do we stand for? Allow me to quote the scripture on the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
— Emma Lazarus, Statue of Liberty’s Tablet
Political Pundits! Please, share your views on political values in America and how we can restore them (or at least improve them.) I don’t claim that I’m 100% correct or that I have the answers, but I do raise the question, so please be respectful in the comments.