Just Some Good Old Fashioned Politics

“Democrats are God’s gift to mankind,” Johnny claimed. I couldn’t agree less—nor could I agree more. In a sense, the Democratic and Republican parties are a tiny gift to humanity, each seeking a means to an end. Ultimately, the way in which they achieve that end demonstrates the similarities that exist in each party’s disservice to the people and groups they represent. Sure, the methods they employ to attain their political goals are certainly different, but what they seek is always the same. Johnny went on, “all the values that humanity should have, and will have, are represented solely by the Democratic leadership; I mean take a look at ol’ Teddy Kennedy.” I had to chuckle. Seeing that we were talking about ol’ Teddy, as my friend labeled him, I vividly remembered a bumper sticker that I spotted the other day: “Ted Kennedy’s car has killed more people than my gun.” I chuckled a little bit harder—but not too much.

“You see, Democrats, they love the environment…and they would never harm a creature.” Johnny continued on, “actually, I’m not really too sure about that, but it definitely seems that way.” And Johnny was partially right. Democrats do have a tremendous track record when it comes to environmental issues; they are champions of curbing the effect of greenhouse gases, and are calling for the development of cleaner burning fuels. More often than not, they push for environmentally friendly legislation, which ultimately bans the drilling of oil in specific regions, and leads to the creation of national parks and wildlife reserves. The effect of all of this positive action is a beautiful, clean environment that our children’s children will enjoy a great deal more than we can possibly appreciate—at least I’m assuming they will. The downside to all of this is that the emphasis Democrats have placed on environmentally friendly legislation has put a great strain on the relationship between the Democratic leadership and big business.

“Republicans would see the world destroyed, just to earn a profit,” Johnny claimed. I would have to agree—to a point. Unlike their political counterparts, Republicans are often seeking ways in which to enhance capitalism and to boost the world’s largest economy this side of the European Union, but if it happens to be at the expense of Joe Squirrel, so be it; he and his other woodland buddies happen to be a tremendous obstacle in the path of the capitalistic machine that is the Republican Party. For instance, they have repeatedly attempted to enact legislation that would allow for the drilling of oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, and only a few things have prevented this from happening: the Democratic love of the moose, the squirrel, and the tree. In an effort to maintain profits, Republicans have repeatedly attempted to curb any effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, id est. the un-ratified Kyoto Treaty. What is truly unfortunate about the lack of effort in the fight to curb emissions on the part of Republicans is that it is incredibly likely that profits would remain just as high, and it is liable to produce an entirely new industry in order to develop ways of lowering emissions; alas, the economy rolls on, emissions are up, and corporate profits are high.

“If Democrats were allowed to control business properly, we would never have another problem with unemployment—ever,” Johnny proclaimed. And perhaps this is true; they would certainly regulate business practices in an effort to increase worker compensation. While this ultimately seems good for the worker, in the long run it can be the most detrimental thing to happen to the workforce. Why, one might ask? Well, to put it bluntly, the Democratic emphasis on globalization in business, and their inherent need to increase pay for unskilled labor, has forced many corporations to move once lucrative manufacturing jobs overseas where the workforce is much cheaper. In the end, the Democratic claim that their policies have the effect of creating social equality are dead wrong—the policies create a much wider gap between the rich and the poor and it stretches the middle class to the point of extinction. When it comes to the Republican Party, they are not nearly as innocent as they would claim in economic circles. While they have placed little emphasis on the regulation of business, and would probably prefer none, they have assisted the situation that globalization has created by giving tremendous tax breaks to companies who have moved factories out of the country. “Look at all the evils of the Republican Party,” Johnny stated without any sense of why. I had to agree with Johnny, but I implored him to remember what the lack of regulation and globalization has done for the nation. It has created a situation of inflated profits, not only for the oil industry, but also for most energy consortiums, and has moved the American economy beyond manufacturing and into the realm of service. Johnny asked, “So, now you understand?” Sure Johnny, I understand.

“The two parties are so different in every way, I just don’t understand how they can both exist in this country together at the same time,” Johnny wondered aloud in such a way as to force one to question his intelligence. The answer is pretty darn simple: the two parties are exactly the same. Regrettably, most of the population fails to recognize the simplicity of the party system. In essence, what you have are two groups competing for power in order to enact a particular agenda. What is that agenda? To maintain power for the group that has obtained it. Both sides are equally guilty of using the same tactics; they campaign and fundraise, albeit illegally at times, sling the mud of politics, and issue fallacious promises. Despite the claims that either side makes in order to acquire power, neither will follow through with the “ideals” they represent. Once power is obtained, both parties will typically do the same things in order to maintain it: subvert the constitution, lie to the people, usurp power for the federal government, create a tyranny of the executive branch, and go home smiling about the great job they’ve done extending democracy and freedom around the globe. This is most effective in times of crisis, as both parties gather up more power and limit many civil liberties in order to protect constituencies from the evils of the world. What an incredibly heroic deed. “No, Democrats would never do anything sub…subversive,” Johnny poorly exclaimed. Perhaps not, but the similarities that exist between the methods of the two major parties is incredibly ironic, to say the least.

Perhaps the real solution would be to eliminate the existing power structure; that is to say that it would be most beneficial to Americans to bring a third or fourth party to power in order to undercut the muscle that one party might flex over another. “Why, that would be terrible. Leave the governing to the Democrats if you want to see positive change,” Johnny interjected. Maybe Johnny is right, a third or fourth party would only introduce a third or fourth contender for the usurpation of power. In any case, the Democrats and Republicans are stuck where they are, and in the end, a Republican replaced by a Democrat, or vice versa, is still a politician.

Note: Originally published Friday April 28, 2006 on an old defunct project.