Why I Still Don't Trust The Republican Party ... With Or Without Tea

Economics Politics

It's easy to make fun of many Republican candidates in the 2010 election season (especially when their slate includes Christine O'Donnell). But American conservative politicians have a strong following, and their ideals and programs deserve serious consideration.

Because I take my own (fairly liberal) political ideals very seriously, I've made an effort during this election season to listen as sympathetically as I could to a variety of conservative voices. I've paid more attention to populist voices than intellectual ones -- that is, I read conservative blogs, watched Fox News and listened to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin on the radio, and didn't bother reading the National Review, or the New York Times Book Review's Buckley-esque political pieces. I was more interested in hearing from the Tea Partiers than the Ivy League.

I paid attention to our most popular conservatives to see if they had anything to teach me, and also to see if I had anything to teach them. On the positive side, I was able to appreciate their emphasis on principles -- liberty, economic simplicity, government by Constitution. I was also able to appreciate the sense of humor and rebellion that helps to explain the popularity of some conservative commentators.

On the negative side, I discovered that today's Republican party -- the one that's expected to take over a majority in the House of Representatives after election day -- has shockingly little substance when it comes to fixing the economy. You thought Christine O'Donnell was an airhead? Listen to John Boehner try to explain how he's going to reduce the staggering budget deficit and keep tax breaks for the wealthy at the same time. It's as if he really thinks you can pay off the national debt with words.

Day after day, hour after hour, conservative broadcasters and politicians claim that they will get our economy in order by cutting entitlements and unnecessary spending. There's a problem with this, and it's called mathematics. The numbers don't add up. Taxpayer-funded entitlements and unnecessary expenditures are offensive -- but they don't amount to a significant portion of the federal budget. Even if we managed to cut spending along the lines of what the most extreme conservatives are suggesting, we'd still need to increase taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget.

It's an uncomfortable truth for the Republican party that its hero Ronald Reagan only managed to reduce taxes by making the budget deficit worse, by borrowing from the future. That's the same program, unfortunately, that John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican establishment have: pretend to cut costs, and keep spending money we don't have. For all its anti-spending rhetoric, the Republican party is addicted to spending. The Democratic party is addicted to spending too, but at least Obama is willing to admit that we need to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for our spending. The Republicans want to keep putting it on the credit card.

Some people think "tax" is a dirty word. I don't -- not if the taxes are well-spent. The reason there is so much popular outrage about taxes these days is not because taxation itself is wrong, but because the horrific 2008/2009 taxpayer-funded bailouts of corrupt banks and mega-corporations was so completely unfair. I feel this outrage too.

But which party has the better program to fix our broken economy and make sure disasters like the 2008 crash don't happen again? It's one of the most vital questions for any American voter to consider. The Democratic party under Barack Obama wants to make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, and wants to enact a fresh and effective set of reforms and regulations to prevent the kind of corporate abuses -- mortgage-backed securities, hedge funds, massive executive bonuses and salaries -- that led to the crash of 2008. I think that's a reasonable plan, and I support Barack Obama today as wholeheartedly as I ever have.

The Republican party, it seems, wants to solve America's problems by giving corporations a freer hand to increase profits and growth, and reducing the role and scope of government. It's as if they think the government was solely to blame for the economic crash of 2008. (It's also as if they think we won't notice that these same corporations are funding their advertising.)

Sure, the government did a terrible job of preventing the crash of 2008, and in some terrible ways contributed to it. But let's not forget that it was not the government but rather the unregulated growth-obsessed free market -- banks, insurance firms, mortgage giants -- that actually caused the crash. We need to make sure this doesn't happen again, and we won't get there by having fewer regulations. We'll get there by having better ones.

I respect the passion and convictions of many of today's conservative thinkers and politicians. I think they deserve to be taken seriously, and criticized constructively.

But, as of today, they don't seem to have much more than outrage on their side. Look at their policies, and it's hard to see how they've matured at all since George W. Bush was President.

We all saw how well that worked out.

41 Responses to "Why I Still Don't Trust The Republican Party ... With Or Without Tea "

by TKG on

Hi Levi,

Don't you know you are supposed to hate these people with an unrivaled passion. You are supposed to hate them and have zero empathy or sympathy for them. In fact each one is to be personally demonized as evil and subhuman.

Get with the program, man.

by Milton on

Yeah, what TKG said.

But seriously, I'm always amazed by the fact that so few political writers, thinkers and pundits seem to realize that engaging with the opposition fairly and open-mindedly will actually make their own arguments sounder. You've done that very well in these columns, Levi, and I commend you.

I know quite a few conservatives: none of them are racists, or fascists, or outright homophobes. They're rational people. So if you tell them that they're supporting the second coming of the Third Reich, they're not going to listen to you. If you tell them that their economic plan is mathematically insupportable with solid precedents of past failure, well...they'll at least hear you out on it.

by mtmynd on

The Republican agenda is straight forward - get Obama out of office at any cost. Their outright animosity towards this man confuses me. The words they (politicians on the opposing side of the fence and every 'right wing' commentator), refuse to acknowledge anything Obama has accomplished with any positivism whatsoever. They prefer to distort the President every opportunity with words such as 'dangerous', 'socialist', 'communist' and the whole litany of slanderous remarks we've all heard since Obama was sworn into office.

It's very difficult to have any respect towards these folks, especially the politicians who were hired by the public to perform the best of their ability to do their jobs for their same public.

This is not everyday political business that we have been accustomed to in our lives. No, this is something far more insidious. The attitude of these people is completely unoriginal. The right wing is turning what the Democrats and their followers had in common with their own dislike of Dubya Bush. But the one fact goes right over the heads of the right wing: GW Bush and Co were dangerous to our country on many levels. From the two unnecessary wars they started, to the rape and pillage of our National Treasury and the usurping of the Constitution (sounds exactly what the right wing pundits use toward the 'left', doesn't it?).

Exactly what is Obama's crime? This President has accomplished far more in his 18 months in office than any President in history. (I won't bore the reader with a list, but if anyone is interested in knowing any of his accomplishments, 'googling' Obama's accomplishments, will reward the curious with several choices)... and this quite possibly is Obama's 'crime' - working hard to bring positive changes to our country... changes that aid and assist the people of this country that no other President, Democrat or Republican, has ever done before. This must be the fearful thing that haunts the Republican Party more than any President has ever has... doing what he promised in his campaign. : bring change to America.

We generally don't like change in our lives. We're uncomfortable with it... it's too new and we haven't had time to cozy up to the change. We get stand-offish and watch the new with a skeptical eye wondering if this change is good or not. It's a normal thing for we hu'mans to do.

When the change happens to us on a National level, it brings millions of us to the sidelines and watch and wonder about all this change brought on by one man - our President. It's unheard of on the level that Barack has done. But unbelievably to this writer, the man has brought about positive changes that could redefine America and bring her into the present and out of a past that we, Americans all, have been far too comfortable with... far too assured with all the hype about America that is based upon the past, not NOW!

What are America's truly wonderful accomplishments for her people to stand up and proudly cheer her for? The internet? Possibly, but that is still relatively so new, we don't really know how it will pan out in 20-25 years from now. Our auto industry, once a proud feather in America's cap, is struggling with a new future. What has become so powerful and worldwide in power, and does little for respect, is our Corporate Elite - the Fortune 500. It's not that America doesn't have that impetus and cleverness to bring about innovation and job creation as we did for so long. No, it is the contrary that prevents America from it's former glory - the banking and mortgage companies and the corporate giants who control so much that they shadow the innovative with their very presence, doing whatever they want to do at the bidding of the politicians in their pockets to pass laws that favor them to do as they wish.

Can Barack Obama, virtually an army of one, like the proverbial David against Goliath, topple the giants who control America? Is this the man's crime that the defenders of Corporate America see and fear due to his ability to speak clearly and get across his point unlike the last President, who mumbled and acted like joker, exactly like the Corporate powers-that-be want in a leader? Methinks so.

Anti-intellectualism is currently more powerful than even common sense. If anyone doubts this, listen to the Republican leadership - Boehner, to Mitch McConnell... look at Sarah Palin and the 'cute little dunce' Christine O'Donnell, or try to comprehend Joe Miller, Sharron Angle or Michelle Bachman. These people are standard fair for the Republican Party/Tea Party... people who intellect has never been a strong point in their favor, but yet their followers number in the dangerously high percentile.

Is this another 'crime' against Obama = intellectualism? Is his ability to think things out and rely on his smarts to grapple with problems only a President would have? Is his ability to draw huge crowds to listen to him speak and describe what is going on with the political world a disadvantage to our President? Intellectualism could definitely be a disadvantage to the corporate good when it comes to a President who does not believe a corporation has an equal vote to the people of the United States. Corporate powers would much rather have stooges like I've named above to do their bidding. What successful intellectual would stoop so low as to go against their belief in doing the right thing for something as dishonest as bribery. It's certainly not Barack Obama.

by Mickey Z. on

America votes...

The people in places like Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. - living under relentless US-taxpayer subsidized bombing - don't even notice.

The plants and animals going extinct every single day don't notice.

The 29,158 children under the age of 5 dying every day from preventable causes don't see much difference in the two wings of the American corporate party.

I could go on and on and on but I know most folks at this venue would rather pretend corporate-owned war criminals like Obama are heroes.

by Eamon on

It's been a similar Republican story for quite a while now. Armed with nothing more than emotion and unlimited cable news face time, the conservatives just keep pounding away hour after hour after hour the same short-sighted, easy answers to big economic questions. The American populace, who are known for not having sound worldly views or thorough political knowledge while seeing things from the perspective of "my team versus your's," can't seem to grasp the big picture (that probably doesn't sound very nice, but true I think). Then again, the Republicans on air are constantly pounding away with simple answers, so who can blame a dumbed down populace.

by Levi Asher on

Mickey Z., I understand your point of view that both parties are frauds, that the differences between them are insignificant. But I do think there is a critical practical difference between a party that wants more regulated capitalism (Dems) and less regulated capitalism (GOP).

If you don't like American-style capitalism at all, you might not appreciate the difference. If you're a duck on the Gulf of Mexico coast, though, or an insured cancer patient who just found out your insurer is dropping you, the difference can be very real.

by mtmynd on

Z: "I could go on and on and on but I know most folks at this venue would rather pretend corporate-owned war criminals like Obama are heroes."

If our two party system were as similar as you continue preaching, there wouldn't be the Great Abyss between the two as there is now, don't you think?

But there is something to be said about those who live on the fringe, judging the world with a critical eye but yet offering little to the discourse but the easy negativity that does little to build a better world.

by Levi Asher on

Well, Mtmynd, even though I agree with you that there is a big difference between the two parties (and, by the way, I really appreciate your intelligent comments on many of my posts) -- I will stick up for Mickey Z and say that he does offer more than negativity. He's a pretty busy activist, shows up in lots of different places, even writes good poems.

I do think Mickey's been singing the anti-Obama song a little too long now, though, and maybe ought to try out some different tunes. There's a lot at stake right now.

by mtmynd on

Levi: "I do think Mickey's been singing the anti-Obama song a little too long now, though, and maybe ought to try out some different tunes. There's a lot at stake right now."

That's all I've read Mickey write about. If he has more to his life than that, may I suggest he spend more time with those things rather than wasting his time with the negativity towards Obama, which Obama himself knows he receives more than his share and still manages to maintain his dignity... IMHO, of course. ;)

by Mickey Z. on

If everyone is done psychoanalyzing me, I have a question: Do yu have facts to back up your Obama-worship?

by Levi Asher on

Mickey, why do you think I "worship" Obama? He's a hardworking guy trying to do his job. I see hardworking people all around me trying to do their jobs. I don't worship him any more than I worship anyone else who tries to do their job.

You know I've got as much energy to keep debating this as you do. I think it's good that you keep reminding people not to blindly fall for Democrat vs. Republican hype, and to realize that there are bigger issues that neither of the mainstream USA parties ever address. At the same time -- yes, I follow politics very closely and you know I've got lots of facts. Which do you want? Here's one -- Obama picks judges like Sonia Sotomayor and Elana Kagan for the Supreme Court. Republicans pick disasters like Samuel Alito and John Roberts. If you tell me there's no difference there, that means you don't think it matters whether or not a woman has the right to privacy over medical decisions regarding her own body in America. I can't believe you're going to tell me that this issue doesn't matter.

by Mickey Z. on

Obama has shown no leadership on abortion. The same as Clinton:
http://www.counterpunch.org/sharon05262009.html

But here's my primary point: With the planet of the verge of environmental, economic, and social collapse, it's more than a little myopic to focus on a single issue. As important as the right to choose is, it does not impact the big picture and is not reason enough to support this homicidal/suicidal system.

George W. Obama is merely a symptom. To pretend he's not is to allow the downward spiral to accelerate. It's not just about him. It's about survival.

On that note, I surrender. I love posting poetry here and will stick to that. I fear I will never be truly heard in terms of social realities and sadly do not have the time needed to debate here.

by Levi Asher on

Mickey, I think you are being heard here. First of all, I hear you. The fact that I don't automatically align my beliefs with yours doesn't mean I don't hear you. Like you, I've been growing my own belief system for a long time. I'm capable of considering new opinions from others (like you) without jumping to parrot them.

Second, you are heard by others. Even if I and a few other commenters disagree with you, your words remain for all who visit the site to read and weigh fairly.

There are many ways I think Obama's policies (and general Democratic party policies) are way too similar to Bush-era/Republican policies. By far the biggest one is his foreign policy, specifically the war in Afghanistan. I have a lot of trouble supporting a president who carries out bombing attacks from the air in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In foreign policy, unfortunately, Obama is a follower rather than a leader.

I know this is on your mind too, Mickey, so I agree with the criticism of Obama here.

On domestic and economic policies, though, I'm sure the differences are significant, and abortion rights are far from the only issue. Most mainstream Republicans support deep-sea oil drilling with loose regulations (incredibly, they still support this even after the BP disaster). Obama doesn't. Republicans want to repeal health care reform, which I still believe will go down in history as one of Obama's best accomplishments if Republicans don't manage to squash it and give power back to the corrupt insurance industry. Republicans have been responsible for most financial industry deregulations, and thus were primarily responsible for the crash of 2008 (and the subsequent bailout). Democrats are too blame for failing to prevent the Republican campaign to deregulate banking and finance, but let's not forget that the campaign to deregulate banking and finance was a Republican initiative.

Finally, the Supreme Court threatens more than a woman's right to choose. The Roberts/Alito Republican-nominated court last year decided that corporations should be able to contribute to political campaigns secretly -- in the name of "Constitutional authority" of course, ha ha. The pattern is clear. The Republican party is in the pocket of corporate barons who want to maximize profit and growth over financial, environmental and popular common sense. Obama's greatest strength, I think, is his determination to block this agenda and establish safe, common sense regulations for finance, insurance, environmental practices and many other areas that affect all our lives very significantly.

by Mickey Z. on

You can cherry pick and rationalize all day, but here's the reality:

Friends, it's very simple: if you support Barack Obama and the Democrats -- even if reluctantly, even if you're just being all sophisticatedly super-savvy and blogospherically strategic about it, playing the "long game" or eleven-dimensional chess or what have you -- you are supporting the outright murder of innocent people who have never done anything against you or yours. You have walked into a house, battered down the bedroom door, put the barrel of a gun against the temple of a sleeping child, and pulled the trigger. That is what you are supporting, that is what you are complicit in, that is what you yourself are doing.

http://www.chris-floyd.com/articles/1-latest-news/2035-obamas-finest-hou...

Micky Z, this is a serious question (as opposed to rhetorical or sarcastic) because your words have caught my attention and I'm trying to understand the further implications of your statements. Are you suggesting that we should push for a third party candidate, or not vote at all, or stop paying taxes, or what exactly?

by Mickey Z. on

We need to opt out of a system that is systematically destroying all life as we know it. To play the Democrat vs. Republican game is to contribute to this destruction.

Sure, voting for Nader or McKinney in 2008 would've been the more radical choice by miles...but the bigger picture requires revolutionary change.

Again, Obama is merely a symptom. It's facile to label me "anti-Obama" but in reality I am pro-future.

More:

http://www.truth-out.org/theres-no-time-like-now-be-activist59403

by Levi Asher on

Mickey writes: "if you support Barack Obama and the Democrats -- even if reluctantly, even if you're just being all sophisticatedly super-savvy and blogospherically strategic about it, playing the "long game" or eleven-dimensional chess or what have you -- you are supporting the outright murder of innocent people who have never done anything against you or yours. You have walked into a house, battered down the bedroom door, put the barrel of a gun against the temple of a sleeping child, and pulled the trigger. That is what you are supporting, that is what you are complicit in, that is what you yourself are doing."

The problem is, even if you *don't* support Barack Obama and the Democrats, you are still supporting this. You're an American too, Mickey. You really think you get a "Get Out of Guilt Free" card just because you're against the two-party system? When's the last time one of the alternative parties has managed to make a significant difference in global politics?

I'm pro-future too, Mickey. And I think you and I are in agreement on just about every political topic. But I brushed my teeth this morning, even though brushing my teeth doesn't help the situation in Afghanistan. I also voted for a Democrat this morning, even though voting for a Democrat doesn't help the situation in Afghanistan. Did you brush your teeth this morning, even though it doesn't help the situation in Afghanistan?

by mtmynd on

MZ: "... you are supporting the outright murder of innocent people who have never done anything against you or yours. You have walked into a house, battered down the bedroom door, put the barrel of a gun against the temple of a sleeping child, and pulled the trigger. That is what you are supporting, that is what you are complicit in, that is what you yourself are doing."

In the latest count, there are 310.6 million Americans with a net gain of 1 person every 12 seconds. Using your logic, everyone of us, including yourself, supports your accusations. But you continue using 'you' versus 'we' which is what would be a more fair assessment, again using your logic. Yet by using 'you' you opt to not include yourself solely because you apparently did not vote for Obama.

I presume your logic would apply to the war in Vietnam where every American was guilty of murdering innocent civilians? How about all the casualties in the Korean War or WWII...? I believe your way of thinking would make your parents guilty of the murder of innocents that invariably happen in war.

It's not me or your convenient use of the word 'you' but all people, every stinking one of us hu'mans who are all connected, share in the murder of our own kind by our own kind. You, my friend, are no exception regardless of what you may think of yourself.

by Mickey Z. on

1. Nobody sane pretends tooth-brushing makes a difference.
Most people pretend voting makes a difference.

2. I didn't absolve myself of guilt. That's your straw man.

3. You ask: When's the last time one of the alternative parties has managed to make a significant difference in global politics?

I ask: If everyone wanted hope and change in 2008, why did they vote for a candidate who raised more Wall Street money than any one else?

by Mickey Z. on

That's it? You point out the obvious: I'm guilty, too. Something I never denied.

Is that the best you all can do?

by Levi Asher on

Mickey, I only wrote that because you pointed out that anyone who supports Obama is guilty of supporting evil international acts. So it seemed worth pointing out that anyone who doesn't support Obama is equally guilty of the same thing. That's all.

Me personally, I'm not into guilt. I barely believe in it at all, for myself or anyone else. I'm into making things better, and I have a lot of hope for the human race.

I think this has been a good conversation. I'm curious if people who read this comment thread will be persuaded more by one side or another. I would be happy to say more -- I've ALWAYS got more to say -- but I think I've expressed myself clearly, and others have too.

I wish we'd have heard from more Republicans here too -- maybe next time.

by Mickey Z. on

The excerpt everyone assigned to me was from the link I provided, btw. I provide such links to back up my points so I was hoping folks would at least take a glance before replying.

by Bill_Ectric on

Wait... tooth-brushing makes a difference...what...

by Zach on

It's hard to take Mickey Z's side seriously when it is presented like a drunken yelling match. I disagree with you, Mickey. However, simply in response to the topic and not adding to the debate, I do believe the "side" you represent deserves a fair glance. If we cannot take both sides equally seriously, how will we be able to argue for one or the other without sounding pretentious or childish?

by Mickey Z. on

I provided facts and links (which it seems no one even clicked on) and end up being psychoanalyzed and being compared to a loud drunk.

Is anyone here aware that 80% of the planet's trees are gone? 90% of the large fish in the ocean are gone? All your loyalty to the two-party farce is not even giving lip service to 100 plant and animal species going extinct every day. I could go on but I'm afraid it'll be compared to tooth-brushing again.

Good luck with your narrow debate. I may be tilting at windmills but my focus is on a much, much bigger picture.

by Levi Asher on

Mickey, I clicked the link. The article was about how wrong the US wars in the middle east are. Since I 100% agree and have written plenty of similar stuff myself, the article didn't seem to tell me anything I didn't already know, and so I didn't spend much time dwelling on it.

I share your disgust with the two-party system in the USA. I don't support Barack Obama because he's a Democrat. Rather, I support him because I've read his books and listened to his speeches, and I believe he will do a better job as President than any of the other viable candidates.

Finally, Mickey, I respect your political beliefs. I wish I could hear you say you respect mine.

by Mickey Z. on

Who decides which candidates are viable?

by Mickey Z. on

Honestly, Levi, do you really mean this:

I support him because I've read his books and listened to his speeches, and I believe he will do a better job as President than any of the other viable candidates.

I'm sorry for throwing in the comment about tooth-brushing when this discussion is actually very serious. I agree, Micky, on the ecological issues. i clicked on the link "there's no time like now to be an activist." I think my problem is that I just don't know where to begin. I do recycle but I want to do more. I think Obama is more inclined to ecological concerns that McCain would have been, but really, it starts with each individual one of us, which is what I think you are saying.

by Levi Asher on

Yes, Mickey, I really mean this. A lot of other people feel the same way. I don't understand what you find strange about this.

I did err in using a future tense, though -- I should have said "I've read his books, listened to his speeches and closely followed his first two years in office, and I believe he is doing a better job as President than any of the other viable candidates would".

I'm basing this mainly on these agendas: passing health-care reform, working to end Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, increasing regulatory reform of financial industry, appointing Sotomayer and Kagan to the Supreme Court.

If the alternatives to Obama were better, maybe I wouldn't support him as strongly as I do. My first choice was Dennis Kucinich, but unfortunately he didn't seem able to win over many voters.

by Mickey Z. on

Bill: It's much MUCH more than recycling. Here's the 6th (and final) link I'm providing:
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/identify-worst-polluter-...

Levi: What you write above is, to me, akin to believing in Santa Claus and no, I do not respect it as a political view. Why? Because it is precisely the mindset that has brought us to the brink of social, economic, and environmental collapse.

Okay, Micky Z., I read the link, but are you simply an anarchist, then? Do you want to completely dismantle the Department of Defense?

By the way, happy Guy Fawkes Day. I almost forgot.

by Mickey Z. on

"Simply an anarchist"? Are you and Levi "simply capitalists"? Why labels? What good does that do?

And yes, dismantling the Dept. of Defense would be amazing start. One million tax dollars per minute to war while Obama and his alleged rivals talk about how to "save" the economy.

by Philiv on

I've been reading this debate with interest. I will admit that my views generally align with Levi very closely, including a desire to understand the real interest and arguments from all sides. I will also admit that I am inspired by Mickey Z., though its not without a lot of wincing at his extreme position. I will say that in the grand scheme of things, which is the realm in which Mickey dwells, I feel like what he is asking is inherently impossible. What would really happen if we followed his impulses? What COULD happen? Don't get me wrong, I LIKE the vision and outrage he feels. What secular humanist would feel otherwise? But I think whatever path is taken, human beings area what they are, ignorance and greed will always prevail. From The Blithedale Romance and beyond, America has dreamed one way and lived another.

I admit, dismantling the Dept. of Defense might be a good idea, but it also scares me. And really, fear is what drives social behavior. Not only fear of running out of food or being attacked, but also fear of being seen as a coward.

A man can so clear his mind from fear that he can stand before his attacker and accept pain or death with outspread arms; but if he believes his children, family, or country are under attack, he feels compelled to fight back. Is he right or wrong? I don't know. I guess that's where we get that contradiction of "turn the other cheek" vs. "an eye for an eye."

Maybe we could get out of the Middle East entirely but keep the Dept. of Defense intact, in case we are attacked. Of course, it never seems to work that way. Somebody starts hollering that we're in danger, even if we're not.

by mtmynd on

MZ: "You point out the obvious: I'm guilty, too. Something I never denied.

Is that the best you all can do?"

So you read a few opinions on the internet and extrapolate from them that every American should live in a state of guilt and remorse because Mickey believes the words he reads on these sites are the absolute truth..?

I think it is I who will ask "Is that the best YOU can do?

by Aleprechaunist on

I just wanted to say that your article is a breath of fresh air.

If Republicans (officials) truly practiced what they preached, I might be a moderate Rupublican instead of a moderate Democrat.

Also, I commend the commenters who pointed out that most of our real world solutions are solved, not through affiliating to a political party, but by putting our money where our mouth is. Volunteer work, charity, managing our budgets, practicing good communication, sharing goodwill instead of animosity, and EDUCATING ourselves (the tough academic kind that can withstand scrutiny) are key steps to moving society towards a positive direction.

Look at the statistics. Highly educated countries (highest avg IQ) are correlated with some of the best standards of living.

Unfortunately, the US is slipping in terms of education and, likely, consequently, our standards of living do not hold up to other countries like Sweden. Many people do not realize that the US is no longer #1 in almost any category that we would consider important. We are #1 only in media, politics, military and GDP. Not to underscore the significance of those accomplishments, but I think that our society needs to get our priorities straight before we end up completely sacrificing our freedoms to a military state rather than using our freedoms to make this world a better place to live in.

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