What Kind Of America Do You Believe In?

There’s a lot of talk of how the country is more polarized politically now than at any point in our nation’s history. And while there’s no way to prove such a claim, a quick look at the party platforms of the Republicans and Democrats supports the idea that the right and the left have little common ground in ideas or beliefs.

Take Medicare, for example. The Democratic party platform says the party opposes “any efforts to privatize or voucherize” the program. Republicans, on the other hand, want to gut the program for those under 55, changing it to an “income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice.” And Medicaid? Forget it. The whole thing is unconstitutional, say Republicans.

The same is true for Social Security, of course. If Republicans are offering the equivalent of health savings accounts for Medicare patients they want Social Security turned over to Wall Street in the form of “personal investment accounts” that supplement the Social Security system.

Translated out of political-speak, Republicans want to privatize the whole lot.

There were a few surprise differences though. Republicans made a lot of hay out of the fact the original Democratic plank language didn’t mention Jerusalem or “God” Democrats quickly obliged the posturing to amend those planks and appease their critics.

Where else to the parties differ? Well, just about everywhere. Democrats believe global warming is a real and serious threat that needs swift legislative action. Republicans do not. Democrats believe women have a fundamental life to make their own health care decisions. Republicans do not. Democrats believe the pro-life position supports families beyond birth. Republicans do not. Democrats believe in marriage equality and Republicans do not.

But at the heart of the difference is a clash of vision. The Republican platform is a constrictive document with a bleak future that pines for the days when Jim Crow was the law and women knew their place.

The Democratic platform, by contrast, is a vision of the future, a world where parenting is a shared responsibility, where equality means equality for all races and genders and where opportunity for economic advancement is still possible, even for the children of undocumented immigrants.

So for the undecided voters out there, if there are any, they need to decide what vision of America they support. These platforms are not just campaign tools, they are articulations of a vision of leadership and beliefs for this country. And in less than three months when we elect a new president, these platforms will be the touchstone for future policy.

Related Stories:

Democrats Finally Sounding Like Democrats Again

GOP Declares Medicaid Unconstitutional

Is Mitt A Bigger Joke Now After The Convention?

Photo from springhill2008 via flickr.


Ernest Roth
Ernest R4 years ago

@ Wendy S. “I don't care because I think people are people and we all have something to offer”. That’s right, but some of the things others have to offer, you really don’t want, such as Mexico’s “silver or lead”choice. I’m afraid you will get them anyway.

Phyl M.
Dai M4 years ago

Why does the American government give money to Egypt when it could be used for US citizens?

Why does our government give money to & help ILLEGALS instead of natural true Americans?

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

(Truman speech Cont)

They indorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools.

They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them.

They approve of social security benefits-so much so that they took them away from almost a million people.

They believe in international trade--so much so that they crippled our reciprocal trade program, and killed our International Wheat Agreement.

They favor the admission of displaced persons--but only within shameful racial and religious limitations.

They consider electric power a great blessing-but only when the private power companies get their rake-off.

They say TVA is wonderful--but we ought never to try it again.

They condemn "cruelly high prices"--but fight to the death every effort to bring them down.

They think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people.

And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.

Now, my friends, that is the Wall Street Republican way of life. But there is another way--there is another way--the Democratic way, the way of the Democratic Party.

Of course, the Democratic Party is not perfect. Nobody ever said it was. But the Democratic Party believes in the people. It believes in freedom and progress, and it is fighting for its beliefs right now.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

This is from a 13 October speech by President Harry S. Truman

Today the forces of liberalism face a crisis. The people of the United States must make a choice between two ways of living--a decision, which will affect us the rest of our lives and our children and our grandchildren after us.

On the other side, there is the Wall Street way of life and politics. Trust the leader! Let big business take care of prices and profits! Measure all things by money! That is the philosophy of the masters of the Republican Party.

Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues.

Since they won't tell you themselves, I am going to tell you.

They approve of the American farmer-but they are willing to help him go broke.

They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing.

They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights.

They favor a minimum wage--the smaller the minimum the better. (Cont)

Stanley Rampersad
Stanley Balgobin5 years ago

I believe in an America of social Justice and economic equality for all. An America free of neo-con right wing fascists, free of Vulture Capitalists, Vampire Corporations, Parasite Ceo's and phoney psuedo Christian hypocrites.

James Crowley
James Crowley5 years ago

I think this country is split with this vote in this presidental election. I don't know what it's going to take to unite us again as a one nation (under GOD) to care about each other...this election shouldn't be so much about winning, as it is about holding on to the idea's that this country can do anything and be a shinning light to the rest of the world !!! We must hold our LEADERS acountable for actions !!! We need to find middle-ground with issues and do what's best for our people and our nation....This winning every fight, wanting your way only and not giving a inch in you idea's will divide us to the point of no return..THINK ABOUT IT !!!

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

Romney's cynical braying about Obama appeasement in the midst of the attack on the American diplomatic post in Libya and the murder of the brave ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was shameful.

Richard Williamson, a Romney adviser, had the gall to tell The Washington Post, "There's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation."

He's right -

a scarier situation.

If President Romney acceded to Netanyahu's outrageous demand for clear red lines on Iran, this global confrontation would be a tiny foretaste of the conflagration to come.

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

"Off the record, Paris is burning," Senor told a group of reporters a year into the war. "On the record, security and stability are returning to Iraq."

Before he played ventriloquist to Ryan, Senor did the same for Romney, ratcheting up the candidate's irresponsible bellicosity on the Middle East. Senor was the key adviser on Romney's disastrous trip to Israel in July, when Mittens infuriated the Palestinians by making a chuckleheaded claim about their culture.

Senor got out over his skis before Romney's speech in Jerusalem, telling reporters that Mitt would say he respected Israel's right to make a pre-emptive, unilateral attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Republicans are bananas on this one. They blame Obama for casting Hosni Mubarak overboard and contradict themselves by blaming him for not supporting the Arab Spring. One minute Romney parrots Bibi Netanyahu's position on Iran, the next Obama's.

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

You can draw a direct line from the hyper power manifesto of the Project for the New American Century, which the neocons, abetted by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, used to prod an insecure and uninformed president into invading Iraq - a wildly misguided attempt to intimidate Arabs through the shock of overwhelming force. How's that going for us?

After 9/11, the neocons captured one Republican president who was naïve about the world. Now, amid contagious Arab rage sparked on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, they have captured another would-be Republican president and vice president, both jejeune about the world.

Senor is emblematic of how much trouble America blundered into in the Middle East - trillions wasted, so many lives and limbs lost - because of how little we fathom the culture and sectarian politics. We're still stumbling in the dark. We not only don't know who our allies and enemies are, we don't know who our allies' and enemies' allies and enemies are.

As the spokesman for Paul Bremer during the Iraq occupation, Senor helped perpetrate one of the biggest foreign policy bungles in American history. The clueless desert viceroys summarily disbanded the Iraqi Army, forced de-Baathification, stood frozen in denial as thugs looted ministries and museums, deluded themselves about the growing insurgency, and misled reporters with their Panglossian scenarios of progress.

Michael G.
Michael T5 years ago

Neocons Slither Back
Maureen Dowd, New York Times, September 15, 2012

Washington - Paul Ryan has not sautéed in foreign policy in his years on Capitol Hill. The 42-year-old congressman is no Middle East savant; till now, his idea of a border dispute has more likely involved Wisconsin and Illinois.

Yet Ryan got up at the Values Voter Summit here on Friday and skewered the Obama administration as it struggled to manage the Middle East mess left by clumsily mixed American signals toward the Arab Spring and the disastrous legacy of war-obsessed Republicans.

Ryan bemoaned "the slaughter of brave dissidents in Syria. Mobs storming American embassies and consulates. Iran four years closer to gaining a nuclear weapon. Israel, our best ally in the region, treated with indifference bordering on contempt by the Obama administration." American foreign policy, he said, "needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose."

Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor. The hawkish Romney adviser has been seconded to manage the running mate and graft a Manichaean worldview onto the foreign affairs neophyte.

A moral, muscular foreign policy; a disdain for weakness and diplomacy; a duty to invade and bomb Israel's neighbors; a divine right to pre-emption - it's all ominously familiar.