“You’re really a Republican, you just don’t want to admit it,” my publisher said to me the other day.
“I’m a business Democrat,” I countered, “if you insist on trying to label me.”
“No such thing,” he replied, adding “and just what the heck is that?”
Back and forth we go, having fun by trying to put each other on the defensive and deliberately distorting what the other says. We take our politics seriously and often disagree without being too disagreeable (at least in my case!). At the end of the day, though, we both say a pox on the houses of each party for being enthralled to their particular special interests.
Neither of us has ever voted a straight ticket and both of us sometimes despair about the future direction of both Idaho and the nation. We are both dismayed at the inability of the two parties to work together for the common good.
One of several reasons I would never subscribe to being allied with the Republican Party can best be explained by a recent Pew Research poll. Three out of five self-described Republicans disagreed with the statement that government has a responsibility to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. For Democrats, by contrast, three out of four agreed with the statement, and that number has remained fairly constant over the last 25 years.
Significantly, even with Independents there has been a slight decline, with 70 percent agreeing in 1987 but today it has dropped to 59 percent.
Twenty-five years ago three out of five R’s accepted the notion of societal obligation to help the weak, the infirm, the mentally challenged, the homeless, the drug addict, the child of a single mother trapped in poverty. No longer is that the case.
This is a “social Darwinistic” attitude to say the least. Frankly, I don’t want to believe my many Republican friends no longer care about others. Many of them do and many are generous in their donations to various charities.
Rather, I choose to think this appalling factoid reflects that a considerable number of R’s are more concerned about the efficiency of the programs being delivered than that they want to stop the programs. Pew’s research indicates this attitude may indeed be part of the shift away from recognizing there are legitimate needs amongst many of one’s fellow citizens. (more…)