A Two-Decades-Long Quest For Understanding Political Parties

I did not really study in depth the history of our United States of America until 2016. I didn’t study how government works until then. But I did spend almost 20 years interviewing other Americans about what it means to them to be registered a Democrat or a Republican.

I was in my twenties when this investigation started. At that age, I started asking questions because I could not figure out what, if any, political party I would belong to. The process was no less confusing than is the state of our country today, with politics being turned into an absurd showing, akin to a series on Netflix, depicting a government being overtaken by zombies, pedophiles, lizard people, and agents of the Dark King.

In the year 2000, I started by asking people who were older than me, when I was “out” or at any social gathering, questions like, “How do I know if I am a Democrat or a Republican?”

One full figured fellow with a tall glass of brew and a salt and pepper beard, peered down at me and asked, “Well do you believe that people should be allowed to own guns?”

I said, “yes.” My dad was a hunter, we had hunting dogs, he had guns, and he shot dear and other animals with his guns, which we ate at our dinner table.

The burly, smiling man said, “Well then, you’re a Republican! (pause) Wait, are you pro-life or pro-choice?”

I said, “I’m pro-choice.”

The men wrinkled his forehead and smirked differently this time, he said, “Well then you’re a Democrat, a liberal.”

I always remember smiling and shaking my head as I would walk away from yet another conversation where I was not getting answers to my question.

After the first 5 years of this, living in two states and traveling to at least 10 other states plus some countries in Europe, I was able to deduce a couple of themes, or patterns, that people believed were true to their political ideology and party.

Democrats see themselves as liberals who want Federal Law and Taxation to be used to protect marginalized groups, minorities, and the equality of all Americans, with taxes being used to fund social services, and more regulation of companies; with less emphasis on States Rights and more emphasis on individual protections.

Republicans see themselves as conservatives who want less Federal Law, less Federal control, less Taxation, and more States Rights. They are fond of using local law to control and police their own territories, without Federal involvement. They don’t feel that the government should supply handouts to the people. And in general, the Federal Government should not interfere in our private lives and should not have any power over our basic constitutional rights.

The problem with these broad strokes is that, when it comes down to practicality, neither wants their rights taken by government, and each claims to be supporting the more important rights that they don’t want government to “take” from them – then they accuse the other party of wanting government to take their rights. Both want to take rights from the other in some way.

For example, the single issues mentioned by Mr Big Burly Beer drinker in the scenario above, have to do with believing someone should have “the right to”. Single issue voters are absolutely the most frustrating to understand, because they don’t focus on common solutions such as how tax money should be spent, or how healthcare can be improved to benefit them as the patient/user, as examples.


Pro-choice is a single issue for many who claim to be liberals – no one has the right to tell us what to do with our bodies and our medical decisions. Ok, sounds reasonable, so what’s the issue? The issue for someone who is passionately pro choice might sound like – “They want to force women to have unwanted children and then they don’t want to give services for children who are in poor communities. It’s not like pro lifers are adopting the unwanted babies.”

What’s weird is that conservatives I talked to, didn’t really go on and on about abortion. Some of the pro-life people I talked to were Democrats, and some newly Republican because of that single issue, as well as many who claimed to be Republican. But in person, they were mostly curt, saying things like, “I just don’t think abortion should be legal. That’s all I’m saying. If it’s rape or something like that then yes, if it’s done right away.” Yet, for the most part, I found, conservatives who were pro-life, weren’t willing to start insulting women who had abortions, they didn’t say the kinds of things you see at protests outside of abortion clinics. They weren’t vicious.

The pundits, the politicians and the propaganda are vicious. The extremists are few, but always highlighted.

Gun ownership is a single issue for many who claim to be conservatives – we have the right to bare arms. Ok, sounds reasonable, so what’s the issue? “They want to take our guns!”

Um no. I’ve spoken with “them” liberals. Mostly, I saw, over the course of these years of asking questions, most people agreed on gun regulations, and about 10% on either side were stuck with “no guns” or “no regulations.” Polls actually show that most voters agree that we have the right to bare arms within a degree of regulation that is reasonable. Most Democrats are not coming for anyone’s guns, and some do think assault rifles in the hands of everyone is too much pro-killing. Yet, in the overall sense, both sides seem to agree on the basics.

These two hot topic single issues actually bring up so many contradictions on both sides. It makes the decision on who to agree with all the more impossible. It also makes rational conversations less probable. The contradictions inspire me to identify and share with others that we’re “fake arguing” and by doing so, we’re not holding our government officials accountable for the harm they are doing to us.


Freedom of medical choice, for example, was stripped from Americans early on when a citizen enrolled in public schools, higher learning schools and in military; vaccines and injections were not the choice of the child or the adult receiving them. Students and military members willingly gave up medical freedom in most cases, without much thought.

Even before vaccines were required, insurance companies instated “in-network” plans. This became the norm despite it violating anti trust (fair competition) laws. People are forced into “in network” doctors and services, and “preferred pharmacies” – easily giving up their right to medical choice.

Both “sides” have been complicit and quiet about being given less and less freedom of choice with respect to their own healthcare. There are plenty more healthcare examples, but for now, this will do.


I do not believe a person can be pro-life and pro-war at the same time. I don’t believe a person can be pro-life and pro-assault rifle at the same time.

I do not believe a voter who wants federal (or state) law involved in the most personal aspects of a citizens life – like marriage, childbirth, love and consensual sex – is a conservative. Republican voters are often not in line with less law, they represent a group that wants more law and regulation over individual rights. In this day and age they’ve become a party that supports tyranny and lawlessness at the same time.

It’s difficult to conceptualize a person claiming to be pro life, (which to me means they are passionate about other people’s pregnancies and the rights of a fetus), and also being pro guns, including assault rifles, because they’re afraid the same government that forced people to have babies is going to take their guns and be an oppressive force controlling their lives.

I do not believe a voter who wants federal government to control healthcare, while implementing healthcare law that mandated it illegal not to have health insurance (Affordable Care Act), is pro-choice or pro public health and wellness. Big business interests, profit for sickness, private insurance company corruption soaking up the tax payers dollars, is not a sign of support for public health and wellness. I do not believe a person can be pro-choice and pro privatized healthcare. I do not believe a person can be pro-choice and pro vaccine mandates. To me, pro-choice means we get to choose and have medical freedom over our bodies and decisions.

Government has mandated healthcare to benefit the private sector, insurance companies, Big Pharma, and Healthcare Conglomerates/Industry Giants. Lobbying by big business to pay off politicians and to get them elected, keeps this in full motion. I do not see how this lack of regulation, and lack of choice, is supported by someone who is claiming to be a liberal. Democrat voters are often not in line with pro choice, they represent a group that wants government control over healthcare and medical freedom of choice.

Both parties turn a blind eye to the corruption and the pay offs within their party. The voters can see the lies and corruption, and support their “party” anyway. Now it’s taken a step further, where supporting your party comes with bashing the other, even if you can’t find anything good to say about your party of choice, you can always spew the hate at the other political party, making a case for choosing the lesser of two evils.


Topics of social concern that affect all of us and are the most influential for the majority of voters are actually topics that have to do with the economy, first and foremost. Protecting the workforce, the middle class, and healthcare, are “universal issues” of sorts, because they are majority concerns. These are the universal, big, bipartisan topics that completely fade away amidst the media hype about the single issue hot buttons, because the voters are easily dissuaded away from what affects them, to focus on self righteous hypocrisy.

Why do people continue to argue out the same old single issues when what we complain about every single day is the price of gas, inflation, price of healthcare and medications, restrictions on anything, and shortages? So many voters who are passionately political, do not really assign their political ideologies to these particular topics. People will tend toward blaming whoever is, or was, in the presidency for their discontent with the major issues. This is another extremely confusing aspect of trying to figure out what these parties and their voters really stand for, if anything.


In my lifetime, I have observed the presidency going back and forth between Democrat and Republican administrations, while Congress is always gridlocked so no legislation gets passed that benefits the majority. The benefits have gone to extremely wealthy people who own conglomerates. The economy is devoid of morals. The government subsidizes banks and big business in return for lobbying money. There are anti trust laws being violated daily. There are criminals in offices. The scandals are out in the open.

Yet somehow, people who have a political party think that theirs is going to redeem itself and benefit them in some way. They passionately and willfully ignore the fact that we haven’t succeeded with this experiment we call Democracy, and we are about to see it crumble if we can’t hold our officials accountable.

Big money also owns the media, which means, as soon as a distraction is needed, the media will leak something or drop a bomb shell story. Our ADHD voters and passionate types start with thousands of social media memes to start the banter and raise the hype about whatever the latest hot button topic is.

At the same time, I still can’t understand what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican and a Liberal or a Conservative.

People talk to me, try to convince me that one side is responsible for the problems and the other side can fix the problems if I’d just vote for their preferred side. Yet, it matters not that their preferred side has already been in power about half the time throughout American history – and things stay as they are, and seem to be worsening.

To make the whole thing more confusing, I started coming upon friends who had a vision and personal philosophy right in line with Liberals and were convinced they were a Republican and always vote that way, no matter what. I then had friends who always vote Democrat while they whole heartedly believe the rhetoric of conservative pundits, and their entire personal value system fits the conservative side. As if I needed even more proof that I was never ever going to figure out what it means to sign up as person who supports the Liberal agenda or the Conservative agenda.

Even if I pointed out to said friends, or strangers, that their views actually collide with how they always vote – they would respond as to let me know I’m a jerk, and they’re offended, or they just end the conversation. Either response is fine. I’m just collecting data. And this kind of response gives me a lot of information.


At present, in 2023, my interviewing and investigative process is over. Between 2016 and 2020, I dug relentlessly into the history of our country, it’s beginnings, and of course, the Civil War. I was surprised to discover how Democrats were once Republicans, why the parties switched, and just how completely bizarre and illogical the bipartisan system is. Someone who is a Republican elected official, can switch to the “other” party at any time, and people do.

In speaking to voters, and not to the politicians, it has become clear that the voters are victims, albeit by consent, to a design that will provide illusions of a Federal, and of States government(s) that has checks and balances, and that two parties are needed to ensure that balance. Yet, the two parties, at the actual level of the elected officials, have the same agenda and the system lacks checks and balances.

The wealthy own the systems. No one has any checks on the wealthy.

This may or may not be what the forefathers intended. We can’t ask them. We’re not obligated to follow their documents and to guess at what was meant by certain vague options, or judge what it means, letting our judiciary branch go unchecked when deciding how to interpret, add to, or take away rules for citizens to follow.

The rules are created often against what the majority of polled citizens want. Do voters really want Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Guns, Big Tech & Big Banks to lobby, legally bribe lawmakers to create and pass legislation that lets the Ultra Wealthy have control over the economy, the world economy, and the governments, and the officials that oversee governing?

It’s what we do have now.

Lawmakers, representatives in Congress, Presidential administrations, and Judges in the highest Courts don’t really enact a right or left agenda, but most pretend to, by appearances. Yet, when we look at major laws that have been passed, controversial laws, none of them benefit the left or the right exclusively, but the majority benefit big business and government control over the individual. The Patriot Act, The Affordable Care Act, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – are some examples of laws that are harmful to the majority, and the workforce. All are disguised with names that mean nothing within the context of what these laws actually do.

More importantly, the majority has asked for balance, privacy, for better health insurance and regulation on prices of healthcare services and medications, for tax breaks for the workforce and middle class, for the tax money to go to helping the majority, for less government involvement in our personal lives and choices, for the legalization of marijuana, and for higher pay to teachers. Neither Left or Right government majorities, nor administrations, has delivered fair and simple results for its voters.

What both parties have done, is design a government and economic program based on how to keep the influx of big money concentrated to the same groups that have an ironclad grip on the world’s wealth, and thus, the power. Bureaucracy and Fascism have always been impenetrable forces of our governing style. The appearance of Justice, Freedom and Democracy has always been the main objective. Yet, by design, not one of these is a reality for an infant born on American soil.

To be born, means being born into the Law of the Land. There’s nothing free about it. The food that grows on this Earth is not free, it’s governed over. The water provided by this Earth is not free, it is governed over. The Earth itself isn’t free, it’s claimed and said to be “owned” by a man and you must agree to love the land and the man’s laws. You must. You are without choice in this matter. You had no choice in the matter at its inception, this country was founded on injustice, slavery, inequality, and concentrated wealth & power.


Here it is now, 2023. This journey of trying to figure out what’s the difference between a Liberal or a Conservative, a Democrat or a Republican – began for me in the year 1999.

I’ve come out of it as an Independent, meaning no party allegiance. And also as a-political. Meaning against politics, abstinent.

Politics and governing are not the same thing to me. They are similar in that both are now replete with corruption in the United States of America.

I don’t believe that people vote for the ideologies they internally believe in, and I don’t think the representatives care about the ideologies they claim to represent. I think people vote the way they do because they are influenced by false promises and security. I think representatives, politicians, will make fake promises to get the vote because they are influenced by self interest and security.

By design, no matter which candidate we vote for, they are not a person who truly represents us and our beliefs and our best interest. They are a human that represents their own internal belief system, their own best interest and their own personal agenda. Voters who believe that governing is the answer to the problems we face today, are prime targets for extremist politicians who sew chaos and discord. More so, voters are tightly fixed on the economy at every moment of any era. Who might be better for the economy is who a lot of people will vote for, and that’s only if they don’t vote the same way every time.

The problem is that neither political party is good for me or any other member of the middle class and the workforce. My tax dollars, as we are paying fines because we were born here and chose to work, are not helping my quality of life. They pay the salaries of corrupt men and women, and men and women that don’t work nearly as hard as I do. I can not blame a political party for this and I can’t depend on one to fix this.

We have very few local start up businesses that can still thrive today. Neither party has created a playing field for capitalism that supports the worker. The worker should be able to work in their own place of business. The government hand outs have gone to big businesses. The government grants have gone to huge, wealthy nonprofits, and not local start up charities. Government bailouts for banks and big business has been a consistent practice. Allowing the wealthy to be above the law has been a consistent practice. These are not partisan practices.


I look at my fellow Americans with even more confusion today. Especially those in my generation. We never worshipped politicians before this era of social discord, domestic terrorism, violence and political extremism. We never flew flags of the name of a man like he was some kind of savior. Immoral, self serving men, spewing chaos and gathering followers. Men in my generation wanting to kill other American men. Men who pretend to be all about law and order who are the anarchists -who threaten American government officials, their local government officials, their local teachers, and their fellow Americans. I’ve never seen so much scapegoating and hatred from brother to brother in my country ever.

I can only conclude after this long search for answers that the need to have a social identity, to be a part of a tribe, outweighs logic. People are vulnerable, and unable to understand that the system they rely on to keep them feeling free is a prison, a system of oppression and control. Yet, people want the rules, the laws, and some system of control. People like order and often fear change. So to admit that things are always changing any way, and much needs to change, is just too scary an idea.

That’s why there will remain an insistence that in order to have a free country with a true Democracy, we have to have the same old 2 political parties, whose ideologies continue to switch; and we have to stay stagnant, stuck in the past, against our own growth and moral evolution – so we can still feel safe and secure. If we venture out, and introduce more reasonable options, we feel like the train might go off the tracks. We don’t want to change. We want to remain the greatest country in the world. And we’re ok with giving over power to the wealthy so we can have our toys to play with in prison.

No matter who is in office, even when it’s the guy people voted for, people are still arguing and angry. They are still blaming the other side for whatever they are angry about. Most have nothing to be angry about, because their lives are pretty good except for when they mess things up for themselves, or someone close to them dies or moves away. Still – none of that can be blamed on anyone else. But these people still want to fight.

In conclusion, I’ll not continue to be baffled.

I’ll continue to be an Independent.

My research has proven to me that the political parties stand for nothing & the people in them have agreed to be bought. That the voters remain in a hypnotic state of Stonewalled confusion, under the spell of meaningless tribalism that has them dumbed down and numbed out to any sense of independence and individual empowerment.

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