Written by: Laurin Jackson
When I was little I asked my mom the question many kids have pondered, “What is the difference between Democrats and Republicans?” She sighed, thinking of the easiest way to explain to a small child the intricate differences between the parties. I waited for an answer, curious as to why it was taking her so long to answer. She finally said, “The Democratic Party is the party for poor people and the Republican Party is for the rich.” Thinking about this now, my mother’s statement wasn’t that far from the truth. But the differences between the parties are even more intricate than that.
At one point, the Republican Party was the party of progress, I mean hello, who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation?! The answer is Abraham Lincoln. Who fought for the US to have national parks?! The answer is Teddy Roosevelt. Who gave the EPA even more power over the environment in the US?! That would be Richard Nixon. All were Republicans who would be laughed out of the clown car that is the Republican Party today. It has moved further to the right (not that the Democratic Party is that far left compared to the rest of the world) and has become home to extremely conservative factions.
When I finally became of voting age, it was the year that Barack Obama was running for reelection in 2012. I paid very close attention to what both the Republican candidates and the sole Democratic candidate had to say about their plans to move the country forward. I couldn’t for the life of me get behind any of the things the Republican candidates were supporting. Well, with the exception of Ron Paul, but only sometimes. Maybe I’m just too much of a bleeding hearted liberal, but I can’t get behind the whole attitude of “everyone should just fend for themselves, except the job creators, they need the government’s help.” Oh and the whole racism thing… can’t get behind that either.
This is why I vote Democratic. Historically it wasn’t always the party of progress (southern Dems against the voting rights act anyone?). However presently it is seen as the party of progress by many in the US and also by those abroad. I heard someone say something along the lines of “the Democratic party lets everyone into the room, not just the select few, but for some reason a bunch of people keep leaving out the back door.” The Democratic Party is not perfect, nor does it satisfy my dream of a progressive political party on key issues like the environment or foreign affairs, but what I do know is that there will always be people willing to listen to a message, but it is until that message directly affects them do they truly pay attention.