Why are you a Republican or a Democrat?
By Steve Clark and Allison Anderson
Question: Sometimes voters affiliate with one party or another because their parents or other people important to them did so. Others choose a political party because they favor a current candidate or leader, then continue to identify with that party. Many of us have, in fact, never read our party’s platform and are surprised to find that our beliefs may not conform with this platform once we know what it says.
What are three or four of your party’s tenets, and why do you agree with them? What makes you a party loyalist?
Steve: Contemplating this subject, I read and reread the platforms of both parties and selected four major areas of the Republican platform for this discussion. They are: Individual liberty, taxation, immigration and abortion.
Individual Liberty: Quoting the preamble of the Republican platform, “We believe our constitutional system—limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and the rights of the people—must be preserved uncompromised for future generations”
“…When political freedom and economic freedom are separated—both are in peril…The people, not the government, are the best stewards of our country’s God-given natural resources.”
The thing I value most about being a Republican is our party’s unwavering commitment to individual rights. I believe in small and limited government, in states rights before federal mandates and in individual rights above all.
I believe all of these are imperiled by the current Democrat proclivity to greatly expand the role of the federal government in our everyday lives.
Taxation: “Republicans consider the establishment of a pro-growth tax code a moral imperative,…call for passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment” and for “…a super-majority for any tax increase.”
Also, that “religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies…should not be subject to taxation and donations to them should remain deductible” (from the section on “Fair and Simple Taxes for Growth).
Joe Biden and the Democrats are calling for massive spending increases, which would require tax increases and undo the enormous strides our economy has made under President Trump. They would also decrease businesses ability to survive and would raise everyone’s cost of living, especially in a COVID-19 environment.*
(Note: it may be well to explain that the 2016 platform was carried forward due to constraints on meetings due to Covid-19 restrictions.)
That’s two of my four. Your turn, Alison.
Alison: The national Democratic Party has created an extensive platform for 2020, which can be read at https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/party-platform/.
In contrast to the Republican focus on individual liberty, the Democrats emphasize the common good. Among many other initiatives to promote the prosperity, health and security of Americans, the platform states:
“We believe that the world’s richest nation should have the world’s best infrastructure system. That’s why we will invest in resilient, sustainable, and inclusive infrastructure…
“Democrats will invest in the American heartland and rural communities.
“Democrats support public investments in technology and innovation that help create a stronger economy for all Americans.”
What makes me a loyal Democratic Party member is that we recognize that most Americans won’t inherit wealth from their families. We need to work to provide for ourselves.
My parents didn’t pay my college tuition, nor did they have important connections to pave my way to a successful career. They did provide a home, food, and I had access to good public schools.
Many Americans don’t even have access to those advantages, however, and Democrats try to help. These initiatives create jobs for the future and help people who work hard, and aspire to own homes and provide for their families.
Regarding taxation, the Democratic platform states:
“Democrats will take action to reverse the Trump Administration’s tax cuts benefiting the wealthiest Americans. . . and make sure the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes.”
If you earn less than $400,000 per year and don’t hide your savings in accounts in Bermuda, you have nothing to fear from Joe Biden’s presidency, no matter what Republicans tell you.
Steve’s further response
Immigration: Alison, Republicans believe that without a secure border, we do not have a nation. Our platform says, “We support building a wall along our southern border.” Further, “he border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border…”
It also says, “We insist upon workplace enforcement of verification systems so that more jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program…must be made mandatory nationwide.”
Additionally it says, “Sanctuary cities… should not be eligible for federal funding.”
I am disappointed to say that our platform doesn’t address the issue of so-called “Dreamers;” however, I can say from personal experience that few Republicans I know believe that children should be punished for their parents’ sins.
I and many Republicans believe that law-abiding children raised here without choice should, with some restrictions, be allowed residency status and given a path to full citizenship.
Right-to-Life: Our platform unequivocally states, “We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.”
Democrats and Republicans hold diametrically opposite positions on abortion. In my view, Republicans are the “pro-life party” and the Democrats are the opposite. Not all of them on either side to be sure, but as an official party policy, the Democrat platform calls for the doors to be thrown wide-open to abortion on demand, without restriction or reservation. This is the deal-killer.
For this single reason alone it is morally impossible for me to support any party or candidate, Democrat or Republican, who supports, or who does not oppose, unrestricted abortion upon demand.
Alison’s second response:
The Democratic platform has this to say regarding immigration:
“Immigrants make America stronger. Not only do immigrants support us—immigrants are us. Our families and our communities, our congregations and our schools, our businesses large and small have been built and sustained through the inclusion of immigrants.
That’s why Democrats commit to building a 21st Century immigration system that reflects our values, repairs past harms, heals our communities, rebuilds our economy and renews our global leadership.”
I agree wholeheartedly with this policy; my own family includes a much-loved immigrant from Mexico, now a contributing, taxpaying, law-abiding citizen who has added two bright, charming bilingual grandchildren to our crew. We love them and they enrich our family culture daily.
I believe that the wall on our southern border is racist (it is designed to keep out immigrants of color) and it would never work anyway!
And since you raised the issue, Steve, let’s discuss abortion. True, “Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice.”
But your rigid stance is morally simplistic. Here is what I mean: Most women who seek abortions are poor black women. They have no family support, work at low-paying jobs and may already have other children. They do not have health insurance to pay for pre-natal care or delivery, have limited skills and education.
I don’t approve of abortion, and neither does Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, but I believe that Republicans who want to criminalize these women are the least likely people to support federal programs to help them support their babies and escape poverty.
Neither does your position acknowledge a rape victim or an abused child who might be too young to even bear a baby safely, let alone raise one. This is not “right;” nor is it even kind.