Monday, February 17, 2014

Political analysis from a non-political person

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Once again elections are upon us. The mid-term elections will occur on November 4, 2014. I’ll admit I really dislike elections years. The endless ads, the debates and the petitions being shoved in my face as I enter a store. However, as a responsible citizen, I do participate in the voting process. I vote because I want my voice to be counted even though what I may vote for doesn’t pass. I always say, if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain. With the coming elections, it got me thinking about the comparisons and differences between the Democrats and Republicans, the liberals and the conservatives, especially with the emergence of the Tea Party in the last few years. This post is not to say which party is better or which one you should join. That’s for you to decide. Personally, I don’t belong to any political party and I definitely don’t like to discuss my political views. Political views are too volatile and it’s not worth the argument, if you can’t discuss things civilly.
                The Democratic Party is the older of the two parties with its origins in the anti-federalist factions when this country was founded. The party was organized by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other opponents of the Federalists in 1792 (Encyclopedia Britannica). It is follows the liberal philosophy which based on community and social responsibility. According to their website, the Democratic Party is a political group which focus on fairness. “We’re greater together than we are on own - that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.” (Democratic Party official website). While the Republican Party was founded on March 20, 1854 as an anti-slavery platform. The party rose to prominence with Abraham Lincoln as the 1st Republican president (History Channel). It is follows the conservative philosophy which based on small government and laws should reflect the best interest of society as a whole.  
                I would like to discuss each of the issues that the parties support. While there are many issues in which the parties support, I would like to focus on the main issues.  First, the economy is important to everyone. It means jobs, income and security. The Democratic Party supports ending tax loopholes for corporations, tax cuts for small businesses, investing in clean energy and creating jobs rebuilding the country’s infrastructure (Democratic Party official website). They also favor minimum wages increases and a progressive tax rate (Diffen.com). A Progressive tax rate simply is the more income you make, the more you pay in taxes. While the Republican Party supports a free market and opposes government intervention in control of industry (Republican Party official website). They also oppose increase in taxes and believe wages should be set by the free market (Diffen.com).
Second, immigration reform is an important topic right now. The Democratic Party supports securing the border, end to employer exploitation of undocumented workers and responsibility from undocumented workers (Democratic Party official website). The party proposes that undocumented residents: 1) be in good standing, 2) must admit they broke the law, 3) pay taxes and penalties, 4) learn English and 5) get right with the law before submitted an application for citizenship (Democratic Party official website). While their official website does not mention immigration reform, according to the Pew Research Center, the Republican Party supports a path to citizenship similar to the Democrats’ plan. They also support a requirement for U.S. employers to conduct immigration status of all new hires as well as tightening the U.S. border security and providing Border Patrol with resources they need to keep the border secure (Pew Research Center).
Third, education is an area of concern. The Democrats supports an educational system which encourages math, science and technology (Democrat Party official website). The party supports a national standards, increased spending particularly teachers’ salaries, reducing the minority achievement gap, government-controlled school options and programs like Head Start, the party believes puts students on the path to college (Joy Pullman).  While the Republican Party supports the math, sciences and technology; however, they would like to see more parent choice in which schools their children attends (Republican Party official website).  The party supports a variety of school options including charter schools, vouchers, and supports the ending of “last in, first out” requirements for teacher hiring and retention (Joy Pullman). The “Last in first out” is seniority based lay-offs.
                If that wasn’t very confusing, enter the Tea Party. The Tea Party is a populist movement which began in 2009 urging political change for the benefit of the people (Tea Party Movement). Their focus is on fiscal conservatism. The Tea Party favors decreased taxes and decreased government spending in order to reduce the federal budget deficit (Tea Party Movement). The Tea Party is mostly associated with the Republican Party and they are not registered as a political party. They have no central leadership which according to some is proof of its grassroots credentials which leaves its goal and beliefs to be highly localized and personalized (Encyclopedia Britannica). Tea Party is basically a label that some politicians have taken up to further demonstrate their ideas of where this country has been and where it needs to go.
                In conclusion, I really dislike politics. While some issues I wholeheartedly disagree with one side with, there are other issues that I think that it makes sense. What I really dislike is that both sides claim that they are for the people and they have our best interest at heart but when they get to Washington, they are out for themselves. Maybe at first, the new idealist politician comes to Washington to help get the country on the right track, but if they aren’t carefully, they will forget why they were elected and by whom. I distrust politicians on both sides of the aisle because I feel that they think they know better than I do what I want in life. I don’t like being dictated to. And I don't think that I'm alone. 

References
Democratic Party official website www.democratic.org
Diffen.com www.diffen.com/difference/Democrat_vs_Republican
Encyclopedia Britannica www.britannica.com
History Channel www.history.com
Joy Pullman, Heartland Institute www.heartland.org
Republican Party official website www.gop.com

Tea Party Movement www.what-is-the-tea-party.com