What’s the Difference Between a Democrat and a Republican? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, and it is. Fair warning, you probably aren’t going to laugh.
When I was in highschool, my history teacher spent an entire class explaining the philosophy of the Federalist Party. The Federalist Party was a strong believer in centralized power for the national government and a powerful Executive Branch. He then looked at me and asked “This theory is the foundation of what modern political party?” In my highschool years, I considered myself a political expert. I was active in debate clubs and wrote political stories for the school paper. I knew everything there was to know about politics, so I didn’t hesitate to answer the question. “The Republican’s are the party of big government!” He laughed and went on to explain all the reasons I was wrong. I suddenly had to reevaluate everything I knew about government.
For the next four years, I committed my life to the study of government. I poured myself into the works of John Locke, Edmund Burke, Thomas Hobbes, and Tocqueville. I followed every campaign from the President to the city ward leaders. I read, wrote, talked, and breathed politics. Eventually, I came to a shocking and frightening conclusion. I was right that day in history class. The Republicans are the party of big government.
Conventional wisdom and the accepted narrative of the media would still call me incorrect. The Republicans are the party of states rights, gun rights, and low taxes; they are absolutely the party of small government. I’m not ignorant to the modern convention and understanding, but like so many things before it, the modern convention is wrong. What does it mean to have a small government? In simplest terms, a small government would be one that generally leaves its people alone. The power it wields is minimum and stays out of your day to day life. Of course, the biggest aspect of a small government is that it will not infringe on your rights, instead protect them at all costs. Does that fit the republican party of the last 50…60…70 years? Hell, no!
Over the past century, the Republican party has transitioned from the party of laissez-faire to the party of the Military Industrial Complex. Does anyone born during or after the mid-90s remember a time when America wasn’t involved in some sort of war? No, the first memory you have is probably the Trade Center falling and the following War on Terror. That was almost 20 years ago. Modern Republicans water at the mouth at any hint of a potential foreign war and use that war as an excuse to monitor and collect data on law abiding citizens.Terrorists in Afghanistan? Let’s go to Iraq for 15 years. Kicked the terrorists out of Afghanistan? Get your tools, boys. We buildin’ ourselves a nation! I think that might be a quote from George W. Bush’s State of the Union.
If unnecessary and draining foreign wars don’t do it for you, let’s consider social issues. Ask anyone in the LGBTQ+ community if they believe Republicans like to stay out of their lives. Talk to the millions of people put into prison over minor marijuana possession, and see if they think the Republicans work to protect their freedom. I bet both groups would say no. The GOP has adopted a platform of traditional family values. Thats fine for the individual person that decides to live according to the Ronald Reagan picture of America; however, modern Republicans have taken it upon themselves to force this lifestyle broadly across 50 states, passing DOMA, refusing to repeal marijauna restrictions, and fighting gay marriage rights tooth and nail until the courts had to step in. Regardless of what you think of the individual’s choice to pursue such lifestyles, no one in this world can defend these policies as “small government”.
Truth is, the Republican’s are just as invasive, oppressive, and shameless as Democrats. They tote small government sound bites, while keeping their eyes in your bedroom and their hands in your pocket. So, finally I will finish my joke. What’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican? Absolutely nothing. I warned you it wasn’t funny.
Michael A. Romano