Reading over yesterday’s post and subsequent comment exchange (and resulting RL convos), I was inspired by a comment made by Ken, saying that being a PLP member and Republican ideological supporter means I am “delusional and hilarious”. Yeah, that irritated me on many levels, not the least of which is that many people seem to think that Republicans are some “big bad”… some evil group of people that are sitting around just thinking of ways to destroy the world. So I thought perhaps a bit of discussion related to the ideology and history of the GOP is in order.
The GOP, or Republican Party, was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists. They were created to oppose the expansion of slavery into Kansas, breaking off from the Democratic party and becoming the Republican Party. The vision of the US emphasized higher education, banking, railroads, industry and cities. Their first president was Abraham Lincoln, elected 1860. They have more than 55m registered members and are the second largest political party in the US. They are best known as the conservative party. But what does that mean?
- They believe that law-making is the province of the legislature and that judges should refrain from “legislating from the bench”.
- They believe in greater limitations being placed upon federal power and giving more power to the States (as compared to the Democrats).
- They believe that corporate and personal decision making is most important in fostering economic prosperity, favouring a free market.
- They believe that reduced income taxes increase GDP growth – thusly creating a bigger pool to pull taxes from and thereby increasing revenue to the gov’t.
- They believe the private-sector are more efficent than the gov’t in helping the poor (by definition gov’ts are unwieldy) and thus believe the answer is providing higher amounts of grants available to failth-based and other private charitable organizations.
- They introduced and strongly supported the Welfare Reform of 1996, which Clinton signed into law, which has been proven to have lead many former welfare recipients to find jobs.
- They do not support “socialized” universal health care, being more in favour of personal or employer-based healthcare supplemented by the gov’t.
- They oppose raising minimum wage as it has been proven to cause companies to cut jobs and thusly harm those who would actually get the benefits of the increase.
- They started the EPA, the US Park Service and believe that gov’t need to create incentives for companies to invest in environmental technologies.
- They believe that marriage is a man and a woman, but do not oppose civil unions for same-sex couples.
- They favour pro-life and pro-choice, depending on which state you are looking at.
- They support class-based affirmative action as opposed to race or sex based.
- They favour school choices through voucher systems for private schools, charter schools and favour greater accountability being held by the schools whose students under-perform.
- They disapprove of interventionalist foreign policy.
Not everything they believe I agree with but the fundamentals, yeah. Republicans are not evil people, they are simply people.