Have you read your party platform lately?
My friend John hails from Alabama, but has lived in Maine most of his life. John was a registered Democrat for over 50 years, but several years ago that all changed.
You see, up until then, John had never read his party’s platform. He equated the Democratic Party with the teachings of such moderate luminaries as John F. Kennedy. With a certainty that his chosen party held the moral high ground, John had no reason to consider changing parties.
But upon reading the Democratic Party platform, John was in a quandary. He then read the Republican Party platform to compare the two. What he found shocked him. The Republican platform very closely mirrored his own thoughts and the Democratic platform was at odds with everything he stood for.
As a supporter of the Second Amendment, John realized that his connection with the Democratic Party worked against his own ideals. Then as a dedicated, Bible-believer, John found that the Democrats were at odds with biblical teachings.
John’s case may sound like an isolated one, but I’ll bet that a good many people on both sides of the political spectrum are unaware of what their chosen party purportedly stands for. To that end, here is a brief synopsis to compare the 2016 Democratic and Republican party platforms. Note that party platforms are adopted each year and may or may not include changes from the previous year’s platforms.
On marriage, the Democrats stand on last year’s U. S. Supreme Court ruling that everyone has the right to marry the person they love, regardless of gender. Republicans oppose that same ruling and support a move to reverse this SCOTUS decision.
On religious freedom, Democrats say: “We support a religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.” Republicans stand for religious freedom as defined in the Bill of Rights. The Republican platform applauds the First Amendment Defense Act, an act that would protect religious institutions and individuals from government discrimination.
On national defense, Democrats support decreased military spending and less spending on nuclear weapons. Democrats also support placing women in combat roles. Republicans consider a strong military essential to national security. Republicans hope to rebuild the military to past strength. They would also upgrade the nation’s nuclear arsenal and would end treaties that only help our enemies.
On terrorism, the Democratic platform states that global terrorism must be defeated, but through diplomacy, and Democrats hope to improve international intelligence strength. Republicans disallow the Iran “deal” as illegitimate and, therefore, lacking in legal status. The Republican platform also calls for the total destruction of ISIS and for government help in Christian communities that are being exterminated through genocide.
On immigration, Democrats condemn Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from terrorist-supporting countries. Republicans reject any type of amnesty for those here illegally and also support building a border wall with Mexico. Republicans would refuse entrance to any persons who cannot be scrutinized by full and scrupulous vetting.
On poverty, the Democratic Party platform supports more anti-poverty programs as an answer to the problem of poverty. Republicans embrace creating employment opportunities for those in poverty so that “opportunity takes the place of a handout, where true self-esteem can grow from the satisfaction of a job well done.”
On law and order, Democrats hope to abolish the death penalty and would also reform mandatory minimum sentences, close private prisons, end racial profiling and would train officers in de-escalating explosive situations. The Republican platform seeks restorative justice, which would include becoming partners with faith-based institutions. Republicans uphold the death penalty, stating that it is a solid part of our system as defined in the Fifth Amendment. Republicans oppose any effort to abolish the death penalty.
And finally, on Israel and Jerusalem, the Democratic Party platform supports Israel’s right to self-defense and opposes any force that seeks to de-legitimize Israel. It also states that Jerusalem is “a matter for final status negotiations.” The Republican Party platform mandates “unequivocal support for Israel.” The GOP recognizes Jerusalem as the “eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state.” The Republican Party stands in staunch opposition to United Nations treatment of Israel as a pariah state.
As both party platforms contain at least at least a small amount of what most every individual could support, making a choice between the two can pose a difficult problem. It is up to the individual to choose the party that best aligns with his or her beliefs and preferences. And that, as it stands, should be a no-brainer.
Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.