So, what is the difference between a Republican and a Democrat?  Is it the DNA?  Is it that one is intelligent, moral, and tries to govern (my party) and the other is stupid, corrupt and rants and raves (the other party)?
Somewhere in this battle between the two I started wondering, “What is the difference?   
Over time, both parties are probably equal in corruption, greed, and mistakes as well as hard work, integrity and good government.  But it has comforted me to recognize that there are real philosophical differences.  While both agree that government is responsible for our defense, the Democrats see government as a means to “level the playing field” so that all people have a chance. The Republicans see government as a means to secure primary freedoms for everyone, freedom to earn money and compete in the world. 
It seems that Republicans want people to take care of themselves, and the Democrats want to make sure everyone is taken care of.  This is a huge generalization, but it begins to make sense to me when I remember raising children.  We have to take total care of babies, but we need to raise them to take care of themselves.  As parents (and as citizens) we ask:  Are we giving both the right amount of care and of freedom?  
I remember when my sons were young teenagers and we were vacationing on a quiet river that fed a large lake.  Life seemed safer in those days, and the boys convinced my husband and me to let them pack their gear, paddle down the river, camp out overnight and paddle back tomorrow.  Question:  how much should we control their packing and how much should we let them learn for themselves?   They rejected suggestions like “take lots of food.”  No need.  They were going to catch fish.
They were responsible kids so we weren’t terribly worried about them, but we drove down to the lake the next morning to check.  There was a decided change in tone:  fishing was terrible; it was too wet for fire so rice wouldn’t cook; they needed money.
My husband and I disagreed about whether to help.  He maintained that they had wanted to do this on their own and they should have to finish on their own.  I felt, “Hey, they had no way of knowing how hard it would be, so we should help a little.”  Hard to find the right balance.
Doesn’t that reflect the major split between our political parties?   I support the historic Democratic New Deal and think it gave needed opportunity to many people.  However, my Republican father dammed the New Deal for the way it took away people’s initiative.  We’re probably both right. 
If it was hard with my own kids, it is much harder for a whole country, a country where some inherit millions and some inherit poverty; some are raised to work and achieve while others are raised to watch TV and do drugs.  This is a huge over simplification, but it gives me a little more patience when I hear the “other side” ranting their views.  They simply have a different way of thinking.
Speaking of which – back on the lake that summer day, I quietly slipped $5 to my sons.  They thank me for it to this day.  And I’m still with the same husband!

Recommended for you