One of the questions that plagues the Democratic party is why a significant proportion of the poor are Republicans. After all, we’re the party that seeks to help the lower and middle classes rise. It’s really hard for a Democrat to comprehend why a poor person would support the abolishment of an estate tax.Social issues certainly play their part in the story. But the primary explanation for it is misinformation. Republican politicians are spreading vitriolic mischaracterizations of what the Democratic party is about.
Democrats desire a welfare state. Democrats want to take freedoms away from people. Democrats want to spend money and don’t care about deficits.
The Republican establishment loves to spread these oversimplified, slanderous easy-to-repeat mantras. Unfortunately, this stuff resonates with people. Republicans create terrible policy, but they do politics quite well.
They also just love their mantras. My personal favorite is “No new taxes”. It’s easy to repeat and it doesn’t require a single brain cell, although repetition of the mantra may cause brain cells to atrophy over time. It comes perfectly wrapped in a to-go Happy Meal box to accompany their other cheap, nutritionless offerings.
The truth is that no Democrat wants anyone to live off of government subsidies. But temporary subsidies can do wonders.
A friend of mine, who happens to be very conservative and hates government handouts, took unemployment after losing his job while having a mortgage. Now, he’s back with a job, paying his mortgage and doing well for himself.
Without those six months of unemployment, his house would likely be foreclosed and our economy would be worse off for it. When fellow Americans hit hard times, others lend a helping hand. We help each other, knowing that it comes back to help ourselves.
When we give a kid a subsidized loan or give a family welfare payments, we know that our country is better off for it. Democrats know that poverty and crime are inextricably related. We also know that when we help a student pay off his loan, he becomes an engineer and invents something cool for our phone or builds a small business that brings jobs to the community.
Democrats understand that we’re in this world together; that Person A’s success is a good thing for Person B.
The Republican will say, “I built this business myself, and I want all the money for it”.
The Democrat will respond, “Excellent. A few questions: Where did you get your education? How were your educators educated? How did you get the infrastructure? The roads to bring customers? Customers with money to spend? A labor force that is specialized and educated? Resources that are cheap enough to afford and transport? A cheap water supply? Must I continue? Do you need me to repackage these rhetorical questions into mantras?”
“Do you think your business would have been equally successful in Somalia, where the world around you isn’t so helpful?”
Of course Democrats believe in self-reliance and work-ethic. We don’t want people to be satisfied with government handouts (which are hardly a satisfactory means of living anyways). But we also believe that regardless of whether or not a parent is to blame for a family’s impoverishment, the children in that home deserve to be brought into this world with food on the table.
We believe that healthcare is a fundamental right in the 21st century, particularly in the richest country in the world.
Democrats do not like taxing people. But we see the importance of taxes. We recognize that they build the world around us. We know that with taxes comes betterment of the whole. We know many of us our blessed, and that other fellow Americans are less fortunate and need help.
And we believe that even if our investments in others may not always directly come back, we want to lend a helping hand because sometimes it’s about something greater than ourselves.
But what truly sets Democrats apart from Republicans is that we are aware of the realities around us. We recognize that we don’t live in a world where it’s as simple as “if you work hard, you win.”
Instead, we live in a world where Walmart can move into a small town, drastically lower all of their prices with the intent to undercut local businesses, then jack up prices once they drown out competitors and effectively kill an entire town’s economy in one fell swoop – and do it legally.
Where the people who have created small businesses in these towns are suddenly applying for part-time positions at the only place now offering steady employment, the local Walmart. Unfortunately, Walmart isn’t particularly keen on offering outstanding healthcare benefits, so now the small-business owner is unemployed and without health insurance for the long-term.
We recognize that we live in a country in which Wall Street can leverage their assets 35-1, operating as a casino with our 401k accounts, causing a global financial meltdown and leaving millions of seniors with no retirement money after those seniors have responsibly saved for forty years so that they could live the dream during the last couple decades of their lives with their life partner. Now, they aren’t sure how they can afford their standard medical bills or even food.
We know that most people receiving welfare benefits and/or unemployment want jobs and seek the dignity of work. We know the myth of the “lazy” poor is conservative propaganda, and that people who are lazy and not seeking employment are very much the exception rather than the rule.
And we hear the oversimplified mantras and empty talking points. But then, instead of blindly regurgitating this nonsense, we think it through. And when you think these things through and you observe the truth about the way the world operates, you usually find yourself to be a Democrat.