Know Your History
When it comes to political parties – Where does it end? And, where does it begin?
We have to look at our history of political parties and their core beliefs to see that there’s even more madness to the equation. Two political parties in America formed in the 1790’s due to the debate over support of the US Constitution and over whether a strong central (federal) government should have power over united states or whether states should retain their own individual power.
“The Federalists [Democrats] believed in a strong central government and supported the ratification of the Constitution. Additionally, they supported industrialization, a national bank, and government aid to build roads and canals. The Anti-Federalists[Republicans] – who were eventually called the Democratic – Republican Party, held the opposite views. The Anti-Federalists strongly supported the rights of the states. They were opposed to a national bank and favored farming over manufacturing. They were firmly against the government helping to further industrialization by building roads and canals.” –Phyllis Naegeli
When the debate over slavery led to the Civil War, it was the Republican party and Republican president Abraham Lincoln representing the North in effort to implement national governing laws to abolish slavery in the deep south. At this time, Northern states held mostly Republican minded citizens, and Democrats held majority the southern states.
“During the 1860s, Republicans, who dominated northern states, orchestrated an ambitious expansion of federal power, helping to fund the transcontinental railroad, the state university system and the settlement of the West by homesteaders, and instating a national currency and protective tariff. Democrats, who dominated the South, opposed these measures. After the Civil War, Republicans passed laws that granted protections for African Americans and advanced social justice; again, Democrats largely opposed these expansions of power.” -Natalie Wolchover (Live Science)
Getting confused yet? Republicans were for expansion of federal power and Democrats were against it. Basically, for the first 150 years of the two political parties being in existence – their core beliefs were the opposite of what they are now.
How did it change into what it has become today?
“Democrats seized upon a way of ingratiating themselves to western voters: Republican federal expansions in the 1860s and 1870s had turned out favorable to big businesses based in the northeast, such as banks, railroads and manufacturers, while small-time farmers like those who had gone west received very little. Both parties tried to exploit the discontent this generated, by promising the little guy some of the federal largesse that had hitherto gone to the business sector. From this point on, Democrats stuck with this stance — favoring federally funded social programs and benefits — while Republicans were gradually driven to the counterposition of hands-off government.” -Natalie Wolchover (Live Science)
Sound familiar? To me, the politicians of today run under a political party, and their entire campaign is based on what they promise “the little guy.” Each candidate says anything they can say to appeal to those with party allegiance and to anyone who might be on the fence. Yet, once elected, the promises are often forgotten, blocked by the opposing party, or get instated in ‘not exactly the same way’ as promised. Furthermore, in the last 2.5 decades of my life as an American, I’ve witnessed big business integrating with big government and not just by way of campaign funding. People with big business ties are actually employed in the government.
“While there are numerous points of overlap between Monsanto and the United States Government under the Obama administration, the three most important connections are that of Michael Taylor, Roger, Beachy, and Islam Siddiqui—all three of these Monsanto affiliates were appointed to high level positions within the government by the Obama administration.” -Josh Sager (Global Research, May 24, 2014)
The same is true with other big business conflicts of interest, such as that of Big Pharma, Big Oil, Goldman Sachs, The Media, GE and Comcast:
“An investigation by the Washington Monthly and the British medical journal BMJ found that at least four members of the advisory committee have either done work for the drugs’ manufacturers or licensees or received research funding from them. The members reported their industry ties to FDA, but FDA decided it didn’t matter and didn’t make the disclosures public.”
If it hurts the average American it’s not a left/right issue:
I can’t see to see the difference in the core belief system of the right vs left when it comes to the biggest issue of present day – the 99% of Americans who are struggling in the face of a huge wealth gap and are in debt to the 1% of the wealthiest Americans who control the American economy, including our information (media).
When I talk to those with political allegiance to one of the two parties, once we get to the state of our economic imbalance and a struggling middle class and workforce, it seems that most everyone agrees – the average American is getting screwed over. The biggest problem with the agreement is that people see the other “side” as being responsible for the problems brought on by the economical imbalance. The average American doesn’t see his/her own accountability and contribution when it comes to thinking about how American citizens allowed this dynamic to become our everyday reality. Furthermore, the problem has become so massive it is difficult to sort through the actions we take in our everyday lives that do contribute to this imbalance.
Generally, most Americans work hard to provide for their families and work toward having what seems like the ideal lifestyle. Even those who complain about wages, work conditions, being overworked and underpaid, being taxed unfairly based on income brackets, and experiencing being price gouged on essential needs, such as healthcare – seem to settle for a mindset of “this is just the way it is” and most say they can’t find the time to advocate for fairness. Most can’t afford to bring issues to employers because they fear loosing their jobs and can’t really afford a lawyer to help counsel and represent them. Most people in these situations express gratitude for simply having a job and they do the best they can with what they have. They express gratitude at the fact that we live in a free country and at least we can have the opportunity to pursue our dreams because we’re protected by our First Amendment rights. Yet, in reality, equal rights and equal opportunities have long been an issue in this country and have led to many disagreements and much discontent between fellow Americans from the time of the Civil War forward.
Am I on the left or on the right?
I never did understand the concept of having a divided country and government. Growing up, and now growing into middle aged, I keep witnessing that the American people never really get the changes they’re asking for because the right is blocking the left agenda or the left is blocking the right agenda. It seemed simpler to just have Americans elected to government and Americans figuring out together what benefits and improves the life of every American. This seems simple enough. Yet the resistance to this always fell under the sentiment of “yeah, but people have different views.” Yes, people do have different views. That’s my point. There’s a whole spectrum of viewpoints on any issue, and the viewpoints are diverse and varied. So why do we insist on having two choices – two sets of views to lump oneself into? To me, that doesn’t make sense.
Around 15 years ago, when I was in my mid twenties I started trying to figure out the real differences between what it means to be Republican or Democrat. I really wanted to know which “side” I was on. The process was maddening. I’d ask someone “how do you know if you’re a Republican?” And I’d get a simple answer like, “well if you believe in the right to bear arms, you’re a Republican.” That’s it? Really? Hmmmmm. I’d ask what it means to be a Democrat and get an answer like “that’s when you want equality for everyone and you believe in pro-choice.” Oh, ok. Well now, right from the beginning I’m a Republican and a Democrat.
As I kept going with little impromptu interviews with strangers in social settings, it kept happening more and more. I want less law so I think I’m on the right. But wait…putting laws on people’s personal lives, like homosexuality or pregnancy, the most personal aspects of a person’s life? Hmmmmm…doesn’t sound like the Republicans want less law, I’m getting more confused by the minute. I’d think about my career choice in healthcare and I could see that health for profit seemed unnatural and that some countries, like Canada, who had socialized medicine seemed to pull it off with grace. At that point, someone on the right would be like OMG you’re definitely a liberal, or a socialist! That’s scary. At that point I’d be confused about why we were having socialized medicine for the poor only (welfare), and you’d have other socialized services like law enforcement, military and fire fighters, which are services honored by righties and lefties.
After that, I chose to be mostly an observer of human behavior. I didn’t get into politics or conversations about politics because the whole thing seemed to lack any sort of common sense. More recently, when I witness how American adults behave within their political categories, the beliefs they have, and their viewpoints – I notice more nonsense. I’d have a friend on the right expressing the same views as a friend on the left, and both saw themselves as against one another.
Moreover, the stereotypes that I see posted online don’t fit. So many angry folks on the right say things like “these libtards will just have to get a job.” There’s a common stereo type that people on the left don’t work and just want a handout. Yet in real life, all of my friends on the left have jobs. I know very few people that don’t work, unless they’re retired. I also witness one of the most aggressive right sided people I’ve been exposed to in a social circle doesn’t work, gets fired from jobs, sells drugs to make side money (while saying “Mexico just send us their criminals”), and smokes pot with his teenaged son. People on the left will constantly say that people on the right are “racists and homophobes” – yet I hear racist remarks from people on both sides. I grew up in a Democrat community replete with racism. I’ve never seen a political stereotype that really does fit what I actually see in the communities I’ve lived in or visited.
I’ve worked in poor white communities and witnessed white people on welfare, as well as minorities. The few times in which I have been the victim of a crime, 75% (3 of 4) of the time the perpetrator was white. Yet, the stereotype is that minorities and illegal immigrants cost the taxpayers money because of the tendency toward crime and being unable to afford healthcare. I live 50 miles from the Mexican border and have never witnessed an illegal immigrant committing a crime. I’ve really only ever witnessed illegal immigrants working hard for little pay (landscaping and housecleaning) when they’re employed under the table by wealthy American citizens. I’m not sure that these are left/right stereotypes, but I do see that rhetoric and stereotyping don’t always ring true in my immediate reality. I know the border issue and illegal immigration is a hot topic in politics, yet I don’t know how many Americans really try to find out what it’s like to live near the border.
What’s the solution?
If the American government is truly run by the people for the people, the solution is going to be found in the unity of the people to agree on implementing a system where both government and economy operate in such a way as to benefit and improve the lives of every single American. To me, this starts with abandoning political allegiance and abandoning the concept of political parties. Take away the force that divides us and unite under the common principle of the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated. This doesn’t seem too difficult.
A demand for equal taxation of every American citizen seems fair. Demand for equal taxation of every business, no matter its size, makes sense. The exact same regulations for each American and each business is fair and equal policy. We can’t afford for our government to support, supplement and bail out big businesses while ignoring or placing more stringent regulations on smaller businesses. People who work in government should not have ties to big business, and this conflict of interest should be pointed out and corrected by the American voters.
It’s a near impossible task to convince people to abandon their political allegiance, because most fear they’re abandoning a part of their social identity and many abhor the principles they think those on the “other side” possess. However, if political parties were abandoned what we would be left with is simply, American citizens who may register to vote, and who may vote for candidates and issues they feel would benefit the American population. This forces people to learn about the candidates and issues in order to determine who and what matches their personal belief system. It’s likely that the majority of Americans do believe in equality and do support the little guy being treated the same as the big guy. We have to change the way we do things without fear that our morals will be compromised in doing so.
Perhaps, with the discontent over the recent election from both sides, the American people would support a campaign and election process that provides us with more than just two choices. If political candidates ran as independent candidates with no party allegiance it prevents people from voting for someone who pretends to be on their side just to get votes. Yet, it would take a long time for people to stop aligning themselves with candidates who claim to have the same set of views as the political parties we formerly called Republican and Democrat. For single issue voters, it’s likely that a person who is pro-life is going to vote for a pro-life candidate even if the candidate’s other core beliefs conflict with the pro-lifer’s morals or core beliefs. Yet, if there were more than one candidate who expressed being pro-life, the single-issue voter would have the chance to see how each proposes regulations and compromises that work out to benefit those affected by the issue.
Perhaps, independent candidacy can be a start to each candidate having to outline how they might propose unity in government which can help improve the lives of all Americans. Compromises might actually be reached instead of hardline agendas being blocked by the “other side” leading to the American people getting more of the same decade after decade. This would have to start with removing all labels and simply just referring to each candidate as “American” and making an educated decision on which candidate’s promised policies would actually improve the lives of Americans and their communities. The illusion of left and right has kept us divided for far too long.
If you think this idea is insane – look at what we’ve got right now.