Ever since I registered to vote as a Democrat, I’ve always questioned that decision. Nearly every day, I ask myself, “Why did I choose to become a Democrat?” There is no particularly strong leftist influence in my family. But, I grew up in a large, diverse city. I’m also pretty open-minded. And, almost everyone in my immediate family is either liberal or progressive. One other possible reason for my choice of affiliating with Democrats is that I registered in 2007, during the Bush administration—and, we all know how well that turned out. Despite my knee-jerk decision to choose a political party (I literally made up my mind within two minutes), I believe I was correct in following my gut. Later on, I began researching the history of American politics (on top of my basic grade school knowledge). With Lincoln and Eisenhower being the only notable exceptions, by and large, the Republican Party has not been the driving force behind social progress, and to some extent, economic progress, in America. It was Democrats who pushed for fair labor laws, Social Security, and minimum wage. It was Democrats who fought tirelessly to provide equal rights for women and black people. It was Democrats who created NATO, pushed our space program to be the first to land a man on the moon, and secure affordable healthcare for all Americans. To be fair, Republicans did end slavery, created the interstate highway system, and signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. And, Democrats were responsible for Jim Crowe laws and racial segregation. But, the parties’ past characteristics have changed. Today’s Grand Ol’ Party is a whole new, frightening animal. This ignorance-embracing, religion-pushing, rights-denying, socially-regressive, fiscally-irresponsible Republican Party truly is something that should concern all Americans.
I am having the toughest time understanding why Republicans are so fact averse. I’m not only referring to how they misuse, manipulate, and fabricate historical data to win over a voting group. I’m mostly directing this criticism to their unreasonable, immature denial of scientific fact. Despite overwhelming evidence, they deny and deride evolution, climate change, and historically verifiable information. And, that’s really what bothers me about the conservative agenda. This willingness to embrace ignorance, and disparage anyone with factual evidence contrary to their stance is a huge turn off. They not only deny the facts, but believe schools are misleading students by providing them with the tools of critical thinking, as well as, proven information. So, how could I—a thinking, reasonably intelligent person—go along with the crowd that is willfully ignorant, and proud of it? It’s insulting.
The United States is a rich tapestry of several different cultures, nationalities, and religions. We are home to ex-patriots of every country on Earth, and they bring along their own sets of beliefs and cultural norms. It would be difficult to place an American in a cultural category—his ancestry could be a mix of many different world influences. One of the things the Right wing is trying to accomplish is a more Christian-influenced method of governing. Regardless of the fact that the authors of the Constitution were not a very religious bunch, and they intended for American citizens to have the right to practice whatever religion they please, it is ethically and culturally insensitive to govern with a religious aim. I oppose this because I’m not a Christian. And, to assume a country as diverse as the US will benefit from religious pressure is just plain stupid.
In the 1960s, the US experienced the Sexual Revolution and the Civil Rights movement, which affected women and black people. As a result of these demonstrations (more so the Civil Rights movement), government progressives drafted two huge pieces of legislation: the Civil Rights Act, which ended segregation of racial classes, and the Voting Rights Act, which afforded black people and other minorities the right to vote. These legislative victories were realized in spite of conservative opposition. Today, we face a similar issue: The legitimacy of a gay couple to get married, raise children, and have access to the same benefits straight married couples enjoy. Republicans are also questioning the legality of abortion. I’m not going to get into the details of my argument because I’d like to keep this essay relatively short. But, I will say, if history is an indicator, future generations who live in a United States where gay marriage and abortions are legal, will look back and laugh at the opposition's ridiculous stance, much like we ridicule the slave owners and separatists of yesteryear.
If I had been born in the 40s, and registered to vote in the 50s, I might have registered as a Republican. Eisenhower was the last good right-wing President the US had. Nowadays, we have this ugly, hate-filled, illogical group of misfits known as the Grand Ol’ Party. “Ol’” is the key word in the nickname. The GOP’s ideas of the proper role of government are as outdated as a mathematician using an abacus. Are we seriously considering giving power to a faction that wants to implement policies that would limit access to education, healthcare, equal rights, and economic growth and stability? Are we going to hand our country over to a group of narrow-minded, disrespectful, out-of-touch buffoons? I know most of what the Democratic Party has done has benefited a vast majority of the American population—much larger than Republican legislation. And, that’s one question that must be answered: Who can do the most good for the most people? We must ensure more freedoms and a higher quality of living for future generations. If not, what’s it all for?