Friday, January 23, 2009

So what is the difference between me and my raging dem friends?

Sometimes I just can’t help but talk political beliefs to my co-workers who claim to be hard-line totally loyal Democrats. I want to better understand what it means to be a “democrat.”

I am going to make a hard confession here. I was briefly a Democrat. In 6th grade.

It’s an election-year staple to have mock elections in civics/history class when you are in grade school. It is supposed to help you learn about the electoral process, help you learn to make decisions for yourself regarding where you stand politically (independent of your parent’s beliefs), and build a sense of pride and patriotism in being an American and having the right to choose a president.

So two kids stepped up to the plate, one girl (Deanna) representing the Democrats and Hubert Humphrey, a boy (the smartest person I knew when growing up, his name was Glenn Crow) representing Republicans and Nixon. We had a mock convention and after the class heard each platform, you chose which side best represented your beliefs.

I quickly saw the writing on the wall. All of the popular kids were taking the Humphrey side, even though Glenn had done a much better job of explaining the differences between the candidates. Being that I was not one of the popular kids, I decided to go with the pack and decide I was a Democrat. Even though I knew I wasn’t. Poor Glenn had few kids on his side.

Anyway, I went home and was talking to my dad about what had happened in class, and how I thought I was really a Democrat, even though I disagreed with pretty much everything Deanna had argued. My dad told me that it really wasn’t too bright to ever vote against your conscience just to be part of the prevailing in-crowd.

The next day I went over to Glenn’s side and haven’t looked back (well, except for the Terri Schiavo thing).

So fast-forward to today. When I talk about what I expect from government with my supposed liberal friends, we end up wanting the same things. Don’t raise taxes, curb spending, secure the borders, smaller and less intrusive government is better, etc.

(One could argue that in reality, neither side wants secure borders, but for different reasons. Republicans want that nice cheap undocumented labor, and dems are looking for new Democrats! Why can’t we simply admit that a secure border will allow us to know exactly who is in the U.S., and it’s not about whites versus Hispanics, etc. Besides, I don’t hear about illegal Canadians getting welfare or CalWorks benefits and bankrupting California …)

What I want to know is this: I thought the basic beliefs of Republicans were less government, not overtaxing the citizens, promoting personal responsibility and protecting personal freedoms, and that Democrats believe that government is the teat that feeds us all, and that we need government to keep us safe from ourselves, and that it’s okay to spend irresponsibly as long as it feels good.

Why do so many of my so-called Democrat friends expect the same thing from government than I do? Are they really Republicans who don’t want to do the unpopular thing and admit they are somewhat conservative, or am I a closeted Democrat?


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