The vast majority of Americans in the recent past, now, and for the foreseeable future are and will continue to naturally lean Republican. As a country, our immediate political tendencies are to side with the Republicans and only when we feel the Republicans have screwed it up enough, do we vote Democratic. However, we will always default in favor of Republicans when our lives are not extraordinarily painful and there are no wide-sweeping movements in favor of civil rights of one group or another.
We are a nation of consumers. Pro-business government, incorrect free market assumptions and the quelling of consumer protections have largely given way to a corporatocracy in which corporations are not accountable for legal violations or unethical activity as long as they put enough cash in the pockets of the decision-makers. These corporations have spent oceans of dollars studying how best to target American buyers, purchasing every morsel of information on every purchase and convince us the world is our oyster – leaving out that we’re selling our soul and justifying their behavior with claims of free will.
The television tells us from the time we are young we can have whatever we want. International trade has flooded our markets with cheap goods, encouraging those on the lower economic echelons to live high on the hog like those rich people across town. The credit industry has convinced people that the size of their paycheck should have no bearing on their lifestyle. And our natural inclinations toward competition, narcissism and self-centeredness has evolved into an ostentations consumerism and a culture toward monetary dominance over ones’ neighbors.
Republicans naturally feed our desire to have the biggest, best and brightest of everything by claiming (falsely, most of the time) they will not tax us and the Democrats will. Republicans call upon the politics of personal responsibility, convincing voters that their hard-earned money should never be taken by the government only to be wasted in amidst the bureaucracy or dolled out to the undeserving poor who are actually just lazy drug addicts who want to mooch off society.
Despite the growing wealth gap and widespread publication of wealth statistics indicating the top one percent of Americans earn far more than those in lower economic classes (the top one percent of Americans earned more than the total income of the bottom 20 percent of Americans from 2003-2005), the majority of Americans are convinced that they could make as much money as they want easy as pie and the Democrats simply want to tax them into poverty and ruin their chances to achieve the American dream.
Disturbingly, term after term, Republicans insist on policies that make the rich richer and give businesses more powerful tools to vacuum money right out of American pockets. Republicans are vastly responsible for legislation that weakens the dollar and helps to grow the impoverished population. Yet, time and time again, these voters fall for Republican machinations of representing and protecting the working class.
WHO IS A DEMOCRAT?
Democrats, on the other hand, tend to lay claim to the more educated, community-minded and globally exposed voters. While many votes are determined by familial culture, most Democrats become enlightened that coexistence is inevitable and, thus, adopt the philosophy that we must think of others and not just ourselves when casting a ballot or were taught this philosophy as a child. In basic terms, the competing presidential considerations are “Who would be the best president for the country and the world?” vs. “Who would be the best president for me?”
In times of peace and economic prosperity, the move across political lines is most likely from Republican to Democrat. Many are born Republican – especially in the South – but grow and go farther for college and work. Travel has become cheaper and easier, allowing more and more Americans to discover foreign nations and appreciate cultures across borders. The isolationist nature of Republican doctrine becomes short-sighted and distasteful to them.
Certainly, there are abdications. Many professional athletes who may have grown up in poorer neighborhoods or belong to minority demographic groups begin to vote Republican as their income grows. The same development applies to business people. Also, Republican “philosophy” of limited government draws many uninformed voters who believe the party’s false promises of protecting basic American freedoms – even now as a Republican administration stompes on one civil liberty after another.
DANGER = REPUBLICAN VOTERS
In times of war or danger, the gut reaction of Americans is to protect their own and vote for the Republicans, who follow “might makes right,” invasion of democracy, sealing our borders and market their ideas with utterly ridiculous notions like “Freedom Fries” and patriotism = character, encouraging their uneducated followers to viciously attack and morally assassinate anyone who should utter an opposing viewpoint (2006’s Shut Up and Sing about the Dixie Chicks is shocking and infuriating).
This reactionary culture of Americans plays right into the Republican’s hands as they take advantage of the politics of fear, whispering about attacks around the corner as Lieberman did in June and using verbiage indicating it is because of Bush and Bush alone the U.S. has not sustained another terrorist attack since 9/11.
The politics of fear, however, doesn’t simply pertain to physical insecurity, but also cultural attacks. Republicans, who are largely populated by white-bread, uneducated or very rich, christians, scurried to the polls when convinced that the possibility of gay marriage would somehow reduce the value of their own marriages (again, the voting mindset that only takes into account the ballot-casting individual rather than the community as a whole) and is a danger to the basic foundations of American culture. While it wasn’t surprising that Republicans would stoop to such levels to win elections, it is dreadfully disappointing for the rest of us to watch these unenlightened Americans play right into their hands without so much as a second thought.
Certainly, when a demographic group has felt oppressed enough to risk their lives in the creation of a national movement, as the African-Americans did in the 60’s, the result is widespread education and information proliferation among voters, driving up Democratic numbers. Because the gay community cannot rely on the organization of the religious institutions to aid in their battle, as African Americans could, their attempt to educate and reach voters will progress much more slowly. But take into consideration the decades and decades of injustice faced by African Americans and it easy to understand that progress may be slow, but it is inevitable.
DEMOCRATS SUCK AS POLITICIANS
Democrats could counter this American gut culture more than they do if they were more concerned with governing well and speaking loudly and passionately for that which is right. Instead, as with Republicans, Democrats are singularly concerned with winning and join the ranks of lobbyist-dominated degenerates. They allow the shadows of polls and assumptions of voter whims to lead them into capitulation and, subsequently, domination by the Republicans as the Democrats’ hypocrisy and weakness become palpable. Democrats try to stay out of Republican mud, but never fully grasp their ability to claim victory on the issues with cleverness and clarity. Each election becomes a theater of errors and disheartens those of us who want to fight the good fight, driving us to register as Independents.
And so the United States will always lean Republican. And when the Republicans screw things up enough, the voters look to the Democrats to clean up the mess. Which they do. And once the country is enjoying smooth sailing, Americans fuck everything up again by voting with selfishness and refusing to acknowledge the complete discord between Republican promises and the actual results of their leadership.
The pendulum may swing back and forth, but it will always linger on the right. I try to counter this by raising my voice and refusing to be afraid of offending people. That annoying bumper sticker “If you’re not angry, you’re not informed” is right, though. Education is the key to altering the immediate reaction of the U.S. to look to Republicans for answers. Because the Republicans will never do right by everyone – only by themselves.