- Politics and Social Issues
The Hypocrisy of Democrats and Republicans
Why Do Democrats and Republicans Make Each Other So Mad?
Sure, Democrats and Republicans have some basic differences. Let's see: Republicans believe in a smaller government while Democrats believe that government can solve problems. Republicans believe in a strong national defense while Democrats believe in limiting the size and scope of national defense. Republicans are against abortion while Democrats are pro-choice. Republicans are for expanding the influence of religion in government and Democrats are for limiting the role of religion in government. Republicans are against same-sex marriage and Democrats are for same-sex marriage. Republicans favor corporate influence in government while Democrats try to limit corporate influence in government. Republicans believe in lower taxes for everyone while Democrats believe that taxing the rich and corporations is reasonable.
Does this seem fair so far? Of course, there are some Democrats who do not toe the party line and some Republicans don't either. But generally these are accurate statements describing the majority in each party.
If we can lay out the basic differences between Democrats and Republicans so easily, then what is it that seems to get everybody's blood boiling all the time? I'll provide an answer: hypocrisy.
No matter on which side of the aisle you stand, the guy on the other side always seems to be a hypocrite and there's nothing worse than a hypocrite because it appears that he's screaming about something when your guy or gal is in power, then completely tight-lipped about it when his person rules. What's really impossible about the current state of American politics is that it makes hypocrites of us all. Let me provide some examples.
Democrats are hypocrites because:
- They don't jump all over Obama for continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - Fact is, Obama doesn't look all that different from George W. Bush in how much money he's devoted to spending on our conflicts in these two countries. Democrats were vehemently opposed to both of these conflicts, but suddenly now they're pretty quiet about them. And then Obama has gone and created an additional conflict with Libya. Where's the Democratic outrage?
- They don't criticize Obama for his lack of Wall St. regulation - Where is the Democratic outrage over Obama's support of big business? Has Obama done anything to reign in Wall St.? The answer is no. He's done virtually nothing. If you attribute the last economic crash to Wall St. deregulation, then you were all over George W. Bush for his unwavering support of corporate America. Obama is hardly any different in his support of corporate America.
Republicans are hypocrites because:
- They didn't criticize George W. Bush for driving up the deficit - All we hear from Republicans nowadays are complaints about wild government overspending. Yet the truth is that the budget was balanced in 2000 and George W. Bush drove up the deficit to record levels during his presidency. Why didn't we hear any complaints about spending then? Did you know that under President Obama the debt ceiling has been raised three times already? Under George W. Bush it was raised eight times. A lot of Republicans voted to raise it.
- Republicans are leading the charge against President Obama's military campaign against Libya, citing the War Powers Act, yet almost every President since the War Powers Act passed has done something to warrant its mention, usually citing Executive privilege in defending themselves. Besides, Republicans are usually all for attempting to remove oppressive dictators from power when possible. Now they're against trying to advance the spread of democracy?
There are many more examples of political hypocrisy, but both of these serve to demonstrate the trap each party's members are in when it comes to maintaining consistency in their beliefs. Essentially, both parties believe that if they show weakness or criticize a President who is a member of their party, they damage the President's political fortunes along with their own. So instead they sublimate their core beliefs in favor of political expediency.
As participants in political debate, most of us do the same thing. To demonstrate an understanding of complexity muddies the waters. If I'm a Democrat and I express irritation at President Obama for continuing pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I add fuel to the fire of my political opponents. If I admit that I don't completely disagree with some regulations on abortion, it gives my political opponents momentum in their quest to make abortion illegal because they appear to oppose any compromise at all.
If I'm a Republican, I can't possibly attack President Bush for bailing out Wall St. or else Democrats will get the upper hand in the debate and they won't stop until corporations are punished unfairly and business is stifled everywhere. If I admit that marriage between homosexual couples is none of the government's business, liberals will gain too much momentum on the rest of their social agenda, which I think goes too far.
Ultimately, political dialogue in America has suffered mightily and until reasonable people with differences can come together and be consistent in their beliefs without fear that it will damage their parties' political prospects, political dialogue will continue to be maddeningly polarizing and devolve into screaming matches and obfuscation.