There was a time when it was fairly easy to distinguish a Democrat from a Republican.
- Democrats believed in the goodness of government (after all, a democratically elected, representative government reflects the will of a majority of the people, right?). Meanwhile, Republicans believed that government was essentially evil (as in “government is not the answer, government is the problem,” to paraphrase Ronald Reagan.)
- Democrats believed that wealthy people and corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. Republicans believed that taxing the rich would amount to punishing our most successful, hardest working individuals.
- Democrats believed in health care as a right, not a privilege. Republicans believed in keeping as much of our health care system in the private sector as possible.
But one thing was for sure. Both parties respected the sanctity of the voting booth and the honesty of those volunteers who counted votes.
Nowadays, things have changed.
- Democrats believe it’s evil for big government to pry into the highly personal and private nature of the relationship between a woman and her physician. Republicans believe big government should vigorously police the personal choices women make in areas relating to their reproductive health.
- Democrats believe that the best way to counter high fuel prices is for the private market to guide us away from oil and gas as our primary sources of energy. Republicans want big government to “do something” to get gas prices down.
- Democrats believe we as private citizens can do more to care for each other, especially those most vulnerable; for example, Democrats have been eager to get vaccinated and willing to wear face masks to protect their fellow citizens. Republicans believe vaccinations and face masks are for snowflakes and pansies.
- Democrats believe that the phrase “well regulated” in the 2nd Amendment allows for common sense legislation aimed at limiting the number and severity of mass shootings. Republicans would rather not read the actual text of the 2nd Amendment. And when they do, they believe the phrase “well regulated” means “don’t you dare regulate anything.”
In the year 2022, the idea that the loser of an election should congratulate the winner so that both sides can unite in a spirit of shared governance is out the window for Trump Republicans. Instead, one should yell “fraud!” and demand a recount.
Today’s Democratic and Republican Parties appear to be separated less along matters of political policy and more along continua based upon maturity, social consciousness, and compassion. You can decide which party fits where along each continuum.