Living in a country with a two-party system isn’t easy. It doesn’t offer any flexibility for the voter by forcing them to choose one side or the other. I constantly grapple with this problem on a daily basis just when reading about all the different issues these parties are arguing about, and I really wonder if there is a Democrat out there that is a pure Democrat or a Republican that adopts the entire Republican platform.
I consider myself to be a moderate because I have mixed views in so many areas, but since I feel it is important to be affiliated with a party, I chose to be a Democrat.
Originally, I thought of myself to be a Republican. I believed in human nature – every man for himself. I believed in the Horatio-Alger Myth, where working hard will ultimately get a man to achieve the American Dream. Those at the top are there because they worked hard to get there and similarily, those at the bottom are there because of the choices they made too. I thought welfare spending was a waste of money because people would give into moral hazard and become reluctant to find a job. I guess you could say I was pretty “hands-off” when it came to the economy, and I believed in pure capitalism. You work for your money, so it should all be yours. I was elitist and an asshole, but it all made sense to me.
But as I was exposed to the wonderful, terrible and messed up world of politics and economics, I started to change my mind. I guess I’m still an asshole, but a more enlightened one in that I realize that the way the world works isn’t black and white. There are a ton of gray areas where you could see both sides of an issue. As an econ major, I learned that the average American income hs been stagnant for over 30 years, while the very top 1% of American incomes have gone up by over 200%. I felt as if the Republican ideology didn’t care about this. While I was in Washington, the Republicans didn’t put together one jobs bill. Instead, they would tie jobs into another bill that is important to them, like the Keystone Pipeline. When the Super Committee was trying to cut $1.2 trillion out of the budget, the Republicans wouldn’t budge when it came to tax reform and they refused to raise taxes on the top 1%, who I feel could clearly afford to pay their fair share of taxes. Instead, Republicans wanted to cut spending in all departments. This is when I realized that the GOP is the Rich Man’s Party.
The problem with not giving a damn about anyone but yourself is that everyone in society is interconnected whether you like it or not. A lot of our most successful entrepreneurs went to public colleges on government financial aid, and now they want to cut spending in higher education. Many Republicans formerly served in the military, but don’t want to be bothered with policy that assists veterans in assimilating back into civilian life after being overseas. A lot of them also never had to deal with discrimination and fail to acknowledge measures to create equal opportunities for minorities, women and the disabled.
I think a real problem in our system is the intolerance of people’s differences, and the lack of willingness to see things from a different point of view.
It’s easy to be selfish, and ignorant to the lives of others. But it really is important to be open-minded and understanding toward people’s differences. This is why I’m a Democrat – because I care about the interests of everyone, even those who I don’t understand. I was lucky to get into a good college and have parents who worked hard to pay for what my minority scholarship didn’t pay for. But not everyone is this lucky, and some people have to work right out of high school to support themselves or their families. Being raised a Catholic, I’m pro-life and I would never put myself in a situation where I would have to get an abortion. But I know people make mistakes, especially teenagers being raised in this type of generation, and if they feel that now is not a time they are able to support a child, they should make the decision they feel is best. I have always had health insurance and my mom would send me to the doctor’s office for everything from a mild cold to preventive care, and this may have made a difference in my health that I may never realize. I think it’s important for everyone to have an opportunity to have health insurance just as I do for anything else.
I’m not very good at organizing my thoughts. I’m not a very strong writer. But I just wanted to explain why I decided to align myself with the Left and why I feel what it advocates is important. Our system most definitely is not perfect because human nature is not perfect, but in order to get closer to a better future, I’ve always thought it was important to ‘be the change you want to see in the world,’ as Ghandi said. And whether you agree or disagree with what I believe, I hope you all do the same.