I am disregarding my own philosophy by writing this. Yes, the one about teaching pigs to sing. But this constant chorus of "Both parties are exactly the same!" must be countered and shown to be a lie once and for all.
First, there are similarities. Both parties are much too obligated to corporate donors, though I would argue that the Democrats have not entirely abandoned the middle class in favor of the rich exclusively, as the Republicans have done with amazing honesty and transparency. Of course much of this has to do with campaign financing on the Dem side while the GOP simply hates anyone who is not wealthy, and for the most part, white.
Second, both parties' Middle East policies suck large, the Democrats being far too ready to invade a nation there while the GOP is absolutely salivating over the idea. Both also seem to believe that Israel is our 51st state. Actually, it isn't.
Those are the two greatest similarities. Now let's see if we can spot some differences.
Which party do you suppose is more likely to defend a woman's right to have an abortion? Get birth control? This should be a fairly easy one, since the GOP in the past year has written almost 200 pieces of legislation designed to end both while defunding Planned Parenthood.
How about a simple and basic right like voting? 26 states have enacted voter ID laws or are doing so. Republicans in many of these states are reducing absentee voting, cutting back on polling locations, etc., all with the intent of disenfranchising the poor, minorities, the elderly and the young. Ever seen the Democrats do that?
How about taxation? Which party do you believe wants a progressive, fair tax and which wants to protect the upper 2%?
Which party is more environmentally friendly? The one who wants to eliminate all environmental regulations or the one that created the regulations?
Maybe you're a member of the LGBT community. Which party is more likely to care about your rights? Which is working to make you a second-class citizen and wants a constitutional amendment guaranteeing that?
Let's say you are a minority. Any minority. Which party is more likely to care about your interests? Which party cares about civil rights, and which has dozens of members serving who believe these rights were unnecessary or even unconstitutional?
Possibly you are an atheist, a liberal Christian or some other faith. Which party is more likely to keep the wall of separation between Church and State? Which party's presidential candidate just had a fundamentalist prayer rally in a 60,000 seat arena?
Maybe you are a scientist, or someone who believes science is important and has a large role to play in making this a better world. Which party seems to agree with that concept and which wants to teach Creationism in our schools, denies global climate change, thinks being gay is a choice and generally would hang Galileo?
Suppose you are a student, or someone who believes that education is critical to maintaining a healthy country. Which party wants to insure that an education is available to all and which wants to eliminate the Department of Education, home school children, destroy public schools and make college unaffordable for any but the wealthiest Americans?
So you're a union member. Which party wants to end your right to organize and wants to send your job overseas? Which party paints teachers, nurses, cops, firefighters and other union members as parasites who have destroyed our economy? Which doesn't?
Or maybe you're a reasonable person who appreciates diplomacy over war. Which party is more apt to sit down and talk and which is more likely to sing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" as if it were funny?
Okay, let's say none of the above really matters to you. Which party is more likely to improve the economy? You can arrive at an answer by a quick check of history. One party has historically had lower deficits and greater growth than the other one. Every time.
I could go on, but this should be enough to establish that important differences exist. Being disappointed in Obama is understandable, maybe even fashionable. But handing the control of our country back to people bent on making it worse for all of us (excluding the top 2%), is not smart. It is also remarkably selfish and amoral. People will die. I know, I know, I'm a liberal. Things like that matter to me.
© 2011 Kona Lowell