By now, readers have had ample time to ponder the points raised in my last column. There, I contrasted a number of conflicting points found in the Maine Republican and Maine Democrat party platforms. Now I’ll offer some thoughts on the specifics of those opposing views.

Many of the points upheld in both party platforms are extremely contentious and adherence to or opposition to these points have a great polarizing effect upon people. In many of these, there are no gray areas. It’s black or white, yes or no. Let’s begin with something that is cited and frequently argued over, but that many people do not completely grasp. That something is progressivism. Democrats, in their party platform uphold what they call, “a fair, progressive system of taxes.”

And just what is progressivism? To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Let me count the definitions.” When reduced to its core, though, progressive politicians have one thing in common and that is, the rights and power of the government trumps the rights and power of the people. In other words, government first, individuals second.

And when we look the Maine Democrat platform, we find that it includes a progressive tax system. This system emphasizes the concept that those who make more money should pay an increasingly larger percentage of their income. A progressive tax system also calls for an end to tax breaks on investment income (think people who worked hard all their lives, invested their money towards a comfortable retirement and then get tagged by the government for having investments).

And finally, progressive taxation upholds the estate tax. This is widely held as the most progressive tax of all. But for those on the receiving end of it, the estate tax often means the loss of property that has remained in families for generations. A conservative would call this theft. And none other than Thomas Jefferson, once said, “Taxation is legal theft.”

Republicans want nothing to do with progressivism or progressive taxes. In their platform, they say, “Progressive principles are incompatible with the principles of the Republican Party of the State of Maine.”

Minimum wage

In my last column, I listed the following line from the Democrat’s platform: “…a minimum wage high enough to raise a worker out of poverty — for all who can work.”

Consider this statement carefully. Just how much money per hour are we talking, that would raise a worker above the poverty line? Current federal guidelines cite an annual wage of $11,670 for one person as 100 percent of the poverty guidelines. But for purposes of collecting various federal benefits, people may earn far more than that and still be within an acceptable percentage of the poverty guidelines.

Getting back to the Democrat’s goal of raising all workers above the poverty limit, let us remember that doing so will result in more people losing money than those getting a slight boost in income. Conservatives, and I’m not just talking Republicans here, but true conservatives, whether Independents, Libertarians or Republicans (by definition Democrats can’t qualify as conservatives, as long as they adhere to their party platform), don’t look to government as the means for people to prosper but rather, for people to use their own initiative and resources to get to where they wish to go.

By boosting Maine’s minimum wage to a far higher level (nationally, President Obama is urging a 40-percent minimum wage boost), young people and those just starting out in the work field will find jobs even more scarce than they are now because employers will be compelled to hire fewer people because they won’t be able to afford to pay the new, higher minimum wage.

Low-skill jobs, entry-level jobs and so on are not necessarily bad things, despite what Democrats say. People learn life lessons in such situations. They learn the work ethic. And they soon see the connection between work and the ability to purchase goods and services.

Conservatives do not despise those who, through hard work and diligence, have made a comfortable life for themselves. Democrats do. It’s that simple.

Contrasting these two points of view, the Republican platform says that the profits of an individual’s efforts and accumulation of private property belong to the individual. The Democrat platform disagrees and as a progressive manifesto, holds that the more you make, the less you should be allowed to keep.

Education opportunities

As a youngster, I had a checkered college career. My family hadn’t the money to send me to college and consequently, I attended part-time. It was hard to work and go to college at the same time. Also, I had no one to help me in securing loans or scholarships. I paid as I went. What I did, I did on my own. And guess what? I never once even considered that the government had any obligation to educate me. It never occurred to my conservative mind to ask for that.

The 2014 Maine Democrat platform, though, supports a: “…universal, high-quality public education system that spans early childhood through college and workforce training.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds as if the Democrats support someone else paying for other people’s college educations. And that, on its face, is pure socialism. But don’t forget, the Maine Democratic Party platform is prefaced and ends with the words of that arch-socialist, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Illegal immigration

The Maine Democrat platform supports a government that: “offers a path to legal residence for long-term and otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.” This, at least, is crystal-clear to me. A person who comes into this country illegally (that’s what “undocumented” means) has nothing to worry about from Democrats as long as he or she breaks no other laws.

Let’s state this another way. The Democrats feel that it’s okay to break one law as long as you don’t break any other laws. That’s about the size of it, isn’t it? Taking this to the next level, I’m supposing that Democrats might even support a pick-and-choose system of laws. You can pick a law that you don’t like, break it, and as long as you choose not to break another law, you are automatically forgiven.

The Republican platform offers its view on immigration and it is clear and concise. It “…supports the assimilation of legal immigrants into Maine society.” How mean-spirited of them to use the word “illegal” rather than the kinder and gentler, “undocumented.” But it amounts to the same thing. Conservatives welcome and support those who follow our laws and do everything right. They are what this country is made of.

By the way, the Republican platform also affirms English as the official language of the state of Maine. To liberals, that’s an inflammatory and discriminatory train of thought.

God and religion

Finally, in my last column I pointed out that the Maine Republican platform not only asks for God’s blessing on America, it also stands in support of faith-based family resources. I also mentioned that the Republicans made reference to the “Creator.”

Their Democrat counterparts, however, have little to say regarding God, the creator or religion, except that their platform supports the free exercise of religion along with the separation of church and state. This latter, “separation of church and state,” is something that people who don’t read the Constitution of the United States feel is included in the constitution. It isn’t. Instead, Article 1 of the list of amendments to the constitution begins with, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, the government can’t force us to abide by any special religion. That’s it. No “separation of church and state."

It appears that I have bitten off somewhat more than I can chew in attempting to define the contrasting views of Republicans and Democrats. There are so many more points to consider. That means we’ll have much to discuss in the future.