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No, They Aren’t Two Wings Of The Same Bird

One of the fastest ways to feign being “above it all,” to imply to other people that they’re stupid but you’re smart, is to blithely proclaim a pox on all houses. If you condemn everybody, after all, you are in a position to criticize everything while taking responsibility for nothing. While it’s true that nobody’s ever gone broke betting on how wrong those in power tend to get things, this is an unsustainable philosophy in the long term. You can get by for a long while voting against things… but sooner or later, you’re going to have to take a side.

People are quick to criticize the two-party system in the United States. Can’t we vote for a third party and thus break out of a destructive system that no longer seems to serve the people? The answer to that question is that, yes, of course we can… if enough people agree to do so. That’s how lunatics like Jesse Ventura ended up governor of an entire state, remember. Enough people voted for the loopy Ross Perot that it changed the course of a national election. Third parties can be and are viable, even if only as “spoilers.”

What third parties cannot be is non-partisan. We all take sides, even by default. When you refuse to make a decision, that too is a decision… and so on. While it’s true that a politician can advocate so many conflicting ideas that he or she never evinces a coherent, cogent philosophy, even this places that person somewhere on the political spectrum. That spectrum has only ever had two sides. You, no matter who you are, no matter what you advocate, reside on that spectrum.

You either favor freedom of individual action or you do not. Your opinion puts you somewhere closer to one or the other end of that line — and it is a line, not a circle, not a Venn diagram, and not a collage of shades of gray. You either support the individual’s right to self-defense, or you do not. You either believe a man has a right to the product of his labor, or you believe a powerful government should transfer some of that man’s earnings to others.

You either believe that men are man and women are women, or you believe that gender is a spectrum and biological sex has little or no meaning. You either believe in free speech, or you want speech you dislike silenced. You either believe that people are free to make their own decisions, even to their own detriment, or you believe the government should forcibly constrain their behaviors to save them from themselves.

We could construct these scenarios endlessly. The point is that there is a clear difference between the two positions. Furthermore, while it’s true that individual representatives of both the Democrats and the Republicans exemplify their party’s platform to varying degrees of success or failure, the fact that we can measure that rate of success points to definable philosophical tenets in both parties’ platforms. Read those platforms and you will see a marked difference between the two.

Eye doctors don’t test your vision using perfect prescriptions. They test your vision by showing you imperfect prescriptions and making small adjustments so that you can detect improvements in the “less wrong” modification. Individual Republicans and Democrats, in the same way, are not perfect exponents of their party’s platform. Some fly distressingly far afield. But to say that there is no difference between the parties — no difference in their visions for America — is to ignore a tidal wave of evidence to the contrary.

Politicians from both parties tell us every day what they want for the United States. One party believes America is a fundamentally good nation build on fundamentally good principles that has, in the past, been characterized by greatness. The other party believes America is an evil place fraught with discrimination and injustice that must be “fundamentally transformed” if it is ever not to be evil.

Both parties intend to pass legislation based on these differing world views.  Close-up, there is little difference between a moderate Republican and a conservative Democrat — but the contrast, when viewed from a distance, could not be more stark.

One party hates the United States. That party hates the demographic majority that built this nation. That party seeks to punish this demographic, and thus to punish the United States, in order to bring it to heel, to make it pay for its perceived injustices. One party sees the United States as stained by original sin, as in need of correction. The other party loves this country and wants to see it continue to prosper.

No, the left and right wings are not wings on the same bird. They are not even roosting on the same planet. There could not be a greater difference between the two — and there could be no clearer choice in whom to vote for in November.

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