Friday, December 28, 2007

How Are Democrats and Republicans Different?

Before the Bush-Gore elections of 98, I never went out of my way to read about or discuss politics. Bush scared the shit out of me during the primaries, so I jumped in. When I was telecommuting in Indiana, we hired a nanny to help out with the twins. She was a new agey musician who was an avid Bush convert. I spent hours talking in circles with this bizarre woman, trying to find a common ground. There was none to be found. I thought Bush was corrupt and incompetent and the Iraq war was a disaster, but I felt like I was open to softening my views, especially if someone came up with reasonable arguments. She thought Bush could do no wrong and was one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- leader in the history of politics. I am not exaggerating. There was some serious hero-worshipping going on. As I've been delving into politics, I keep trying to find a common ground with those on the right. And I keep trying to figure out how right-wingers tick, asking myself what fundamental differences are between Democrats and Republicans?

Because I grew up Mormon, I started my life as a Republican. I voted for Reagan and the first Bush, but then something switched in me. I voted for Clinton twice (although I really liked Bob Dole), and now I refuse to vote for anyone aligned with the Republican party. I don't know if my way of thinking is scalable -- probably not -- but here are the fundamental differences between the two me's:

Republican Bob:

* I believed in objective reality on some level. There was always a truth to be found. God existed (or at least should have).

* I was certain of my convictions. In most instances, the convictions preceded the support of those convictions.

* I believed that an individual thrives best when society is set up with healthy moral restrictions. Too much individual freedom tears down the moral fiber of society.

* Life was good before the 60s, and then the dirty hippies came along.

Democratic Bob:

* I believe in a more subjective reality. I'm closer to a moral relativist.

* I distrust any conviction. I get more enjoyment out of looking at an issue from a different perspective than in defending something I believe in.

* I can change my opinion on some subjects from day to day. If you accuse me if lacking conviction, I may or may not disagree, depending on the circumstances.

* I still don't like the dirty hippies.