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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are You a Democrat or a Republican?

I, along with millions of Americans, watched the Republican candidates debate last night.  Really, what better entertainment is there?  Actually, "Dancing With the Stars" is pretty close; and I did do a lot of switching back and forth.

Anyways, it got me to thinking of the difference between the parties and what makes one a Democrat or a Republican.  I have to admit that I've switched parties and may switch again, but I'm getting so confused that I'm not sure which primary I'm supposed to vote in.  I guess I should make my life easier and just register as an Independent.

My difficulty is that candidates don't stick to their supposed convictions.  Frankly, the basic principles of the parties are well specified; and, on that basis, my choice is clear.  I believe, for most Americans, I can watch their behavior and pretty well guess their political leanings.  Here's the simple test.

Suppose you have a 2-year-old, and he or she climbs on a chair (as they like to do) and falls off the chair (as they inevitably do) and is sprawled on the floor bawling.

Watch closely the parent.  Some will swoop Junior up, shower him/her with kisses, and hit the "nasty chair."  They will explain to teary Junior in excruciating detail that the chair is "bad, bad, bad!"

Watch me.  There is a bemused look on my face.  Someone asks if I'm not going over to help the kid?  I respond that he/she climbed on the chair and fell off.  Let the kid cry and think about what happened.  Maybe the kid will think about it the next time he/she climbs on a chair.  Maybe the kid will come to realize that doing something stupid isn't a way to get attention.

My thinking is that the kid is learning a valuable lesson there on the floor.  One day I won't be here and my wife won't be here to rescue the kid when he/she screws up.  The kid will learn early on that he/she has a certain amount of responsibility.  It is interesting to watch a child all of a sudden stop bawling once he or she realizes no one is paying attention.  Sort of like people miraculously getting a job right after unemployment benefits run out.

By now, most of you have figured my political leanings and probably, with a little thought, can understand why I switch parties.

I'm not arguing right or wrong.  In fact, I believe there is a need for both views - although the extreme coddling is highly dysfunctional, IMHO, as is the view to never offer help - but then that gets us towards the middle of the political spectrum.  I'll admit it isn't easy watching a child learn a lesson sometimes.

I will say, however, that allowing the kids to deal with their own misjudgements has worked.  You never saw my children screaming at the top of their lungs in a grocery store because they couldn't have candy or cookies or a certain cereal.  There was never the the need to call Super Nanny - which, by the way, Cooper Anderson could have used last night.


  1. Thank goodness there's a month break before the next one. I'm all debated out. I hope we have a couple of the weaker candidates drop out by then so maybe we can get something a little longer than 30 second sound bites between the random Romney-Perry food fight.

  2. There is no difference between them, I agree. It boils down to the preference and current economic climate, which are independent of the parties.

    Judging by the economic development last 20 years we should adopt China & Switzerland style - accept money and put them to work. Leave moral obligations for the future generations.

  3. Well, I am in the camp of letting the kid cry it out on the floor until they realize no one is looking. Sadly, I have seen more than one example of this lately in a professional setting - adults wanting to be scooped up and coddled when things don't go their way. Too bad their parents couldn't come to the rescue in the real world. boo hoo.

  4. The problem is that there is a huge disconnect between a party's manifesto and how much elected officials stick to it.

  5. The only difference's between the two party system are minor social issues ( abortion, church/state, gun control etc.). Both parties are owned by the corporations and do their bidding. The decision to fund the military industrial complex was made at the end of WW II with minimum funding for the people. If you like the way it is your lot is cast with the 1% if you don't your lot is with the 99%.
    A viable 2nd way to nominate a presidential canidate is on its way checkout

  6. To be honest, in the most recent financial crisis, I really couldn't tell much difference between the parties. That's why I feel that I understand why it is difficult to stick to a party.

    It's also interesting and sad to watch people spew out hatred for beliefs that I doubt they even half-way understand, or at least they don't seem the appreciate the implications of implementing those beliefs.