The current government shut down debate got me to thinking about the broader issues facing the nation and how dysfunctional Washington has become. Partisan politics has always been around, but between the Trump White House and a deeply divided Congress the climate seems be deteriorating more and more everyday.
Most of us are affiliated with one political party or another. Even those of us who are registered Independents typically lean one way or another – either towards a more liberal view of politics or a more conservative.
Then there are those of us who are right in the middle of the spectrum and consider ourselves Moderates. Now although Moderates are in the middle – they typically lean one way or the other based on the issue.
Normally, the moderates are the people who decide elections, which also means that most Independents identify themselves as being moderate.
It’s no secret that African Americans are in large part Democrats. Although both major political parties have opposed many issues affecting the lives of blacks at some point in the past, the Democrats seem to have made amends even prior to the Civil Rights era.
African Americans were once predominately Republican, thanks to Abraham Lincoln, but the change started in the 1930s, and was cemented during the Kennedy/ Lyndon B. Johnson presidential era in the 1960s.
To sum it up in simplest terms, as the Democratic Party adopted the Civil Rights Movement, the Southern racist or segregationist or Dixiecrats who were always “Yellow Dog Democrats,” became disenfranchised and moved over to the Republican Party, which became more conservative during the 60s.
That is the simple reason in which the South transformed from a highly Democratic region to a Republican stronghold. Basically, the impact of the Civil Rights Movement was not only seen in the human rights gains, but also a shifting of many Southern whites.
An interesting turn of events, but some have always wanted African Americans to be independent of the two-party system. It was W.E.B. DuBois who said, “May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either Republicans or Democratic parties.”
But despite the past and what may appear as bitter differences between parties – both sides really want the same things.
Partisan politics is never about if we support safe communities or a better economy. It’s really about how these things get done.
I will give you a better example. In fact, let’s look at one of the most controversial issues in American politics: Abortion.
Here’s the reality of Abortion in very simple terms. No one likes the concept or actions of abortions or feel that abortions should not be regulated. The difference is simply that most Democrats feel that because it’s a woman’s body that woman should have the right to choose if she has an abortion or not.
Most Republicans – especially those on the far right feel that under no circumstance should abortions be legal. These are your Pro-life folks who are extremely passionate in their beliefs.
Again, most of us totally agree that abortions are bad; the difference is more about who controls the right to abort.
I know that I made a very complicated issue very simple, but I did it to make my point. There are really only subtle differences between most people’s views and belief.
I have several good friends that are Republicans, but the majority of my friends and family are Democrats. My Republican friends want the same thing out of life that my Democratic friends do – successful careers, great families, opportunities for their children, etc.
So I think that we all can agree that no matter what side of the tracks you grew up – we all strive to be the best in some form or fashion. Now here’s where it gets interesting – as some say, “The devil is in the details.”
Now I am going to generalize a bit, but not much. The Republican philosophy on life is based on a bit of Darwinism – survival of the fittest or in other words the strong shall survive. Republicans are generally pro-business and against the big government.
By the way, the GOP mindset is the weak become Democrats so that they can get handouts from the government. So it’s a very simple ideology – if you work hard and obey God despite your environment or the obstacles you face life will turn out good for you.
I wish it were that easy – I would definitely switch parties. This ideology assumes that all of life’s factors are fairly even or that we all start the race from the same place, but we know that’s not the case at all.
However, Democrats (or those to the left) believe that government is in place to help people. This isn’t Reggie talking, but studies have shown that Democrats are usually more educated. Many Democrats are in diverse urban communities, which may explain why they seem to be more realistic about the needs of individuals and families.
A prime example of a Democratic philosophy was in President Roosevelt’s New Deal. He increased the size of government in an attempt to get the country out of the Great Depression by creating new programs and departments aimed at recharging the economy, providing welfare for the poorest citizens and providing for some long term financial security for seniors through the Social Security System.
So again, the philosophies are very different in many ways, but the goals are generally the same. It’s sort of like the NFL – every team wants to win, but every team has a different playbook. By the way, Go Jags despite the loss on Sunday we still love you guys.
I guess the message here is that lets not get too caught up in party affiliation. While I may climb the left side of the mountain, and my Republican brother maybe climbing the right we are still friends and family. Our children can still play together, attend the same schools or even church and who knows maybe even get married one day.
Signing off from a federal building on Dunn Ave wondering if it will open this week,