Here’s how to tell if you’re an idiot. I’ve made a simple test for it. Give it a try!
Is there a difference between Republicans and Democrats, or are they basically just the same, so who cares, why vote, Ron Paul 2012!
If you agree with the above statement then you are, alas, an idiot.
You see, we have two major parties in the USA, and that’s fine. It is, in fact, an unavoidable outcome of “first past the post” voting. Those parties are known, broadly, as the Democratic Party and the Republican Party; two names with very nicely encapsulate our status as a representative republic. There are other parties out there, of course, but they don’t matter much, and likely never will.
Some people out there like to smugly claim that there isn’t any real difference between our two parties, and that they’re both equally bad versions of terrible. Well, first off, if that were true, it’d be the fault of the voters (which this smug person probably isn’t one of, unless he votes for Ron Paul 2012!).
There are, in fact, many, many differences between the Democrats and Republicans, and in case you’re too stupid, too ill-informed, or too willfully blind to see them, allow me to make them clear to you.
There are some areas of overlap. Both love their country in their own way. Both will say or do just about anything to get into office (same with any third party person who actually gets elected). Both are significantly beholden to corporate interests and pay way too much attention to lobbyists. Both bow and scrape to make it appear that they “love our soldiers!”, our police, our fire departments and our teachers, while at the same time not exactly busting ass to make sure those groups get well-compensated for their efforts.
That’s…really about it. That’s it for the areas of overlap. Now for the rest.
Please note that the following statements are all broad generalizations. There exceptions to all these things within both parties, but the statements are broadly true for the party as a whole.
Republicans believe that you should never have sex unless you want a child, and especially not gay sex. If you’re too poor to afford birth control, don’t expect the government to provide it, to pay for an abortion, or to help you raise the child after you give birth. Bonus points if you end up pregnant by being raped, because, you know, not saying you deserved it, but you shouldn’t have been dressing like that and walking alone in that neighborhood after dark, just saying.
Democrats believe that, yeah, you should probably stick to sex only within marriage, but if you don’t, that’s cool, too. Sex for pleasure is ok, but we’ll never actually discuss it in those terms. If you’re poor, government should probably provide you with birth control, or at least subsidize it quite a bit. Obviously, if you’re too poor for that, you can’t afford to raise a child, so some welfare is probably on order, too. As for abortions, well, clearly, for some reason taxes shouldn’t pay for them, but you should have the right to have one if you want! Of course, if you can’t afford that, we’ll at least provide you with welfare for the child you didn’t want!
Republicans tend to favor war as a solution to all foreign affairs issues. North Korea might use their nuclear weapons? WAR! Syria’s government is up to no good? ARM THE REBELS! The rebels are somewhat ISIS-y? ATTACK THE REBELS! Iran might develop a nuclear bomb?
To be fair, some Republicans do favor a certain level of diplomacy, but god forbid that should involve compromise at all.
Democrats, by contrast, at least try for diplomacy and do so publicly and without shame. Yes, there is a hawkish wing to the party, and it gets more attention than it should, but in general the Democrats tend to favor diplomacy. Thus we have things like the pending arangement with Iran and the opening of relations with Cuba.
Basically, it breaks down to Republicans being arrogant and assuming everything we do is always right all the time no matter what. Democrats have a bit more nuanced view. This is not always the case, but it is more often than not.
Republicans tend to be completely, 100% ok with torturing suspects and holding them without charges or trial. Democrats are against this, though not as loudly and as often as they should be. Neither really have come out in support of trials for those who used and approved torture, which annoys me.
Republicans have no problem, in general, with the death penalty. Neither do a lot of Democrats, but when you see stories about reform to the death penalty, or it being ended entirely, it tends to be done by Democrats. A stance against it is also a part of the party platform.
Republicans have become extremely pro-business, anti-union, and very much stand out against the poor in favor of the rich. Democrats tend to also be pro-business, but generally support unions and help out the poor. Not always to the amount they should, but more than the Republicans would.
Republicans tend to support candidates who don’t believe in evolution or global warming, and who often support the idea of teaching that the Earth is 6,000 years old. Some even go farther and support the idea of forced school prayers.
Democrats don’t generally support this. They tend to support actual science being taught in schools, as opposed to religion. The Democrats have their anti-science wing (mostly over things like GMOs and vaccines), but they tend to not allow those people to make policy.
These are just a handful of differences. These are just the merry few that come to mind. They alone prove that there is a great, big, giantic difference between Democrats and Republicans, and if you genuinely choose not to see that, and choose to believe they are basically the same, then you are, absolutely, a total fucking idiot.