Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Are There Two America's?

Why is it that we are such a divided nation when it comes to politics? We are Democrats or Republican. Liberal or Conservative. Rich or Poor. Could it be that there really are two Americas? How do I know that this is the way it is? Because I am a have staked my claim; picked my side. I am a Republican. To about half of you, that is repulsive, to the other half it means we are brothers (or sisters, as the case may be). So what made me a Republican? For starters my Father owned his own small business most of his life and as such was a Republican. In fact, I remember agreeing about the Ford/Carter election in 4th grade with some "liberal" kid, which Dad was a farmer, which made him a Democrat. Of course, I eventually suspended to the government education I was receiving and began to pay more attention to organizations like Green Peace. I came of age in the 80's where it was nearly impossible not to like Ronald Reagan, while still being scared of his "Evil Empire" tactics that were surely going to lead us to Armageddon. Of course, it was not until the far of the USSR that I could look back with complete and undying admiration for a man that used the power of his convictions (and exploiting his enemies impression that he was a dim wit) to set in place the economic policies that drove this nation to great heights and thereby toppling the Soviet Union under the weight of it's own empty shell of an economy. Again, some of you who are reading this think I have it all wrong. It makes me ask myself, "How can anyone not look at the facts and conclude anything else?" Apparently, some of you can. One theory would be that you were raised to believe that the govenment created jobs. I was razed believe my Dad (and eventually other small business) created jobs. Maybe someone taught you that the government controls the economy and can either slow it down or speed it up (like there was a throttle behind the President's desk in the Oval Office). Where as I learned that in spite of whether which way the economy was headed, I would always be alright if I worked hard sacrificed a little. Maybe you grew up getting a government check that you depended on and that taught you that money fowed from the government. Of course, after my Dad died when I was twelve, we recieve a two government checks from the government until I graduated High School. Yet, it once occurred to me that I shouldn't go to college, that I shouldn't get a job (sometimes 2 or 3) to pay for college and eventually start a career. But, others choose different paths. You see liberal Democrats believe that by extending benefits to people without them having to work for it helps people. I believe that this prevents people from being all they can be. It holds them back and sets low expectations. I believe that safety nets should be in place for the most critical of cases, but by and large charities should be in the business of helping people, not the govenment. Regardless, I have always had a deep conviction that the path I took, while certainly not the easiest way or shortest way, was what formed my belief system today. I also find it diffictult to understand why people (especially people that are older, have good jobs, and are raising families) can still be liberal Democrats. From my perspective, I have been a liberal and could sense it was wrong then and know it is wrong now. I have grown into a conservative Republican by getting knocked down and getting back up largely without the help of the government. Lately, (i.e., since 9/11) I have become much more entrenched in my political beliefs. While I understand that people can look at George Bush's record and say, "I don't agree with his policies," but I cannot understand the great distain the neo-libs have for him as a person. Everything he had done since 9/11 has been no less than incredible. I guess I'd like to hear from some of you Libs. What is it that drives you? Have you ever looked at facts (not feelings - facts)?

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