Thursday, June 01, 2006

Top Ten Conservative Myths about Democrats

Today's post is by guest blogger Steve Southwell, who writes about the top ten misconceptions conservatives have about Democrats. It takes one to know one, and Steve is a reformed conservative who speaks from the heart. Steve developed these points with an eye toward canvassing. You can catch more of Steve's musings at his blog, Who's Playin'.

If you listen to conservative talk-radio, you might hear some common myths that make for good radio, but just don't bear out in light of the truth. Read on to see how we're a lot closer to what you believe than what you might currently think.

1. That we have contempt for religious faith and expression.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats tend to view faith as a personal matter, and thus in order to avoid offending people, we have done a bad job of communicating that most of us also believe. While there are a percentage of folks in any party who do not believe, the majority of Democrats, like the majority of Americans, do have a religious faith. Democrats believe in freedom of and from religion, and that nobody should be persecuted or ridiculed for their faith or lack thereof. We believe the home and the church, synagogue or temple are the proper place for the exchange of religious ideology, and not the government.

2. That we are dismissive of middle-class family values.
The majority of Democrats live within middle-class family values. Though we gladly accept and welcome those who are in non-traditional families, we recognize the importance of the nuclear family unit. Parents should teach their children well, and instill in them a sense of responsibility to themselves, their families, their God, and their communities, and a sense of love for their fellow man. Hate and prejudice are not family values.

3. That we are pro-abortion.
We are most certainly NOT pro-abortion. Abortion is a sad tragic choice for many women. The goal for both Republicans and Democrats should be to reduce abortions to as close to 0% as possible. There are real policies that can work to reduce abortions by significant numbers without undermining a woman's personal choice. For instance, when Bill Clinton was president, by the end of his term, abortions had declined to the lowest level since 1974. Seven percent of American women who don't use contraception accounted for 53 percent of all abortions. The government should do more to educate, inform, and provide assistance to these women. Instead of making abortion more difficult, we should make it less necessary. Most Democrats are pro-choice, preferring abortions to be safe, legal, and RARE. There are other Democrats who consider themselves pro-life. The party line mirrors basically what the average American believes.

4. That we are anti-business.
Capitalism and democracy go hand-in-hand. Democrats believe that business should pay its fair share of taxes, and treat employees and customers right. In most cases companies will do the right thing on their own because of market pressures. However, there are times when government intervention is necessary and welcomed by business to level the playing field and force all business to play by the same rules instead of rewarding those who cheat the system, pay unlivable wages and provide no healthcare. Democrats are quite often small business owners and entrepreneurs themselves. They understand that the best way for the government to help is to level the playing field by refusing favors for large corporations who pay lobbyists to schmooze the politicians entrusted to safeguard our economy.

5. That we want to take away your guns.
Democrats support and defend the ENTIRE Constitution, including ALL of the bill of rights, of which the second amendment is a part. We are for the enforcement of existing laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, violent, and mentally ill people. Law-abiding citizens should be allowed to keep and bear arms responsibly. Background checks have worked well at keeping a large number of guns out of the hands of felons, and they don't represent a significant hindrance to law-abiding citizens. Gun safety is very important, and for this reason, we believe gun locks and education are important. Democrats who don't like guns don't own them, but nobody seriously believes we will ever disarm the public. The second amendment serves as a check against government tyranny and must be preserved while ensuring that guns do not end up in the wrong hands. Many Democrats are hunters and marksmen.

6. That we support a Gay Agenda to corrupt your children.
All that we ask with regard to gay Americans is that they be treated with dignity and afforded the same human rights that we would expect for someone with a different religion or race. All of the major psychiatric organizations believe homosexuality is a trait that is inherent in a person's personality, not something learned from the environment. It is not a disease or a treatable condition, but a state of being that cannot be changed. We are not asking for Gay Affirmative Action, or quotas or any special privileges, just the basic rights that heterosexuals have. Nobody is recruiting children to become gay. Schools that teach lessons about homosexuality do so in the spirit of encouraging understanding and promoting tolerance for the 10% of our population that is gay.

7. That we can't fight and win the war on terrorism.
There is a misconception that because Democrats regret the war in Iraq, and the passage of certain liberty-eroding parts of the PATRIOT Act, that we are soft on terrorism. As Americans, many of us veterans of the armed services, we can say unequivocally that we support efforts to seek justice for the victims of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks preceding and yet to come. However, in addition to carrying a big stick, we believe that true diplomacy and a cessation of unnecessary provocations will go a long way towards decreasing terrorist motivations to strike the US. Democrats support implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. It also was NOT Democrats that funded the Taliban, or provided Saddam Hussein with weapons. Before he left office President Clinton's staff gave the incoming team a battle plan for attacking Al Qaeda and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, who was almost killed by one of Clinton's cruise missiles. The Bush administration ignored Al Qaeda until the attack of 9/11, choosing to focus instead on other issues, including the invasion of Iraq. We believe that war is an option of last resort, but that once committed, we should prosecute it with precision, discipline, and overwhelming force, with a clear exit strategy. We are strong and we recognize the threat, but refuse to be afraid. We refuse to trade our hard-won liberties, guaranteed in our constitution, for the temporary illusion of security.

8. That we're Socialist when it comes to health-care.
Universal access to quality health-care is a moral imperative. This is a complicated issue that will require the public and private sectors to work together to increase the health of our nation. In the face of obesity and diabetes epidemics, we believe prevention and early detection are key to lowering the overall cost. For too many people, the emergency room is their only form of health-care. This is expensive and morally wrong. We have to find a fair way to pay for universal health coverage, while preserving market incentives for health-care providers to provide their best service on a competitive basis. We will not allow the rationing of health-care under any universal coverage plan.

9. That we hate the rich.
We do not hate anyone. We are a party of Love and Hope. We see a problem with the widening gap between the working class and the well-off, and a shrinking middle class. Some of us resent that certain CEOs get new tax breaks on top of obscene amounts of salary and bonuses even while their companies fail to pay a living wage to their employees, or a decent rate of return to their shareholders. Corporate accountability and the preservation of a progressive tax system will help close the gap. We're not for a redistribution of wealth, but we are for preserving the equal opportunities for individuals and small businesses to compete on a level playing field so that the American Dream can be kept alive, and anyone can compete and possibly earn their way into prosperity.

10. That we are the party of weirdos.
Often our central message gets lost because of the one-issue groups that side with our party. Not all liberals can be pigeonholed any more than conservatives can. We believe that an essential aspect of democracy is the inclusion of those with controversial beliefs, even if we don't support them. We can be faulted for not making it more clear what our central message really is: the greatest good for the greatest number.


Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO This is the funniest thing I ever read dude. You really should take this act on the road. You could win last comic standing hands down.

Bradley said...

I don't think it was meant to be funny!

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that celtictexan is your typical Republitroll, having posted similar vapid "attack-and-run" comments on other liberal blogs.

I'd welcome a serious discussion on the merits of anything the article says, but I suspect celtictexan simply feels threatened by anything such as this that attempts to bridge the divisive polarization that has so entrenched itself in our country during the Bush administration.

A posting like "Top Ten" is meant to highlight the similarities in purpose of those who seek to better our country. Celtictexan is a troll, so I don't put any weight in the comment, other than that if a hack like this feels so threatened then we must be doing something right.

Unknown said...

Steve, well said.

Karl Rove has succeeded in convincing us that because we divide ourselves into "Dem" or "Repub" we have nothing in common. I have worked with Republicans of all stripes, including devout evangelicals, which include many of my closest family. Politics has never prevented us from coming together to work on common goals.

Bradley said...

I think it's a great article, Steve. I'm proud to have it posted here. I'm sure "celtictexan" didn't even read the whole thing. If he had, he might have actually had a real comment.

Anonymous said...

It really is easty to tell when you have a repub troll. They are the ones making the nasty comments and say nothing constructive nor fact-based whatsoever. I guess putting someone down is a "moral value". ;-)