At the mall yesterday I ran into a condo neighbor of mine, another American quasi-retiree of approximately my age, education and background. We expressed some similar views of the current state of our country, but he added, “well, they’re all the same, both sides are guilty.” Politics of course, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals. This is a common attitude right now, but it is wrong. They’re not the same at all.
While it may be true to say that in modern American politics no one is innocent, it remains true that there are dramatic differences in the effect of one side or the other being in power. Individual politicians, virtually all of them, are more or less guilty of the negative behaviors that the process forces upon them, or brings out in them. They are, most of them, a bunch of prevaricating, money-grubbing, self-interested vultures. But this does not make them the same, except in the most shallow analysis.
Here’s the difference: One side is almost always on the wrong side of important issues of social justice, and the other side is much more often on the right side.
Issues of social justice! Here’s an incomplete list, in no particular order:
1. Reproductive rights (abortion and contraception);
2. Voting rights;
3. Gender equality;
4. Sexual freedom;
5. Campaign financing;
6. Racial justice;
7. Social Security, Medicare, etc;
8. Invasive surveillance;
9. Fair wages and taxation;
10. Excessive military spending;
11. Mass incarceration;
12. Financial abuses;
13. Net Neutrality;
14. Employment rights;
15. Gun violence;
16. Drug addiction;
17. Consumer protection.
I would add Global Climate Change, but that’s just me.
My friend also mentioned that taxes were ridiculously high in America. So we had, “they’re all the same,” “government is the problem,” and “taxes are too high.” He’s way up on his talking points, this guy.
None of those things are true. They are all the agit-prop talking points of the side that is wrong. This is how they get people to vote for them. And when they are in power, what do we get? Unnecessary wars, unnecessary reductions in taxes for people who don’t need the help, reductions in the budgets of social programs, wild spending on unnecessary military programs, the erosion of many rights that we take for granted, increased budget deficits, and more incarceration for minor offenses. Reagan, both Bushes, guilty, guilty and guilty. Oh, and we get a lot more talk about how America is the greatest country in history, that’s a good vote getter too.
They inflict violence against social justice across the board.
When the other side is in power, it really is different. Bill Clinton was certainly no Liberal, but his eight years were marked by general peace, prosperity and reduced deficits. (That all ended suddenly when W. Bush was elected.) Barack Obama is no Liberal either, but he did a great job of avoiding financial disaster and returning the country to some kind of economic equilibrium. He also seems to prefer avoiding war, which is a good thing. He has also reduced deficits.
Neither Clinton nor Obama can be considered perfect, but they can both be considered friends of social justice and fiscal responsibility. That cannot be said about anyone on the other side.
So don’t believe the hype when someone says, “they’re all the same.” They’re not.
It’s worth recalling that Mr. Jesus was way up on the social justice himself. He stood four-square with the common man against the excesses of the ruling powers of his age, including his own religion (Judaism). So if you won’t do it for me, do it for Jesus! Find the social justice vote in every election, and give them your support. It will help you on Judgment Day. Vote against social justice at your peril. They say the other place is unpleasant.