Do you really know what a Republican is? Not what the current Republican Party stands for as a whole, but what a Republican is supposed to be? It has nothing at all to do with "traditional family values". It has nothing to do with "moral agendas". It has nothing to do with income, religion, abortion, capital punishment or any of the issues that appear to draw the line between the parties today. The dividing line between Democrats and Republicans is supposed to be a purely political one, not a "moral" one. Yes, as a matter of fact, you can be a gay, black, Jewish single mother living in San Francisco with your lesbian lover working for thirty-thousand dollars a year as a woman's rights activist and attending pro-choice rallies and STILL be a card-carrying Republican without being a hypocrite. So what is the dividing line between Democrats and Republicans? Democrats want the Federal Government to be a Democracy and Republicans want it to remain a Republic (that's where the Party names come from). Though there are a lot of complicated issues to consider, it really is as simple as that. No, the United States of America is NOT a Democracy. It has never BEEN a Democracy and was never designed TO BE a Democracy; regardless of what your third grade teacher might have told you. The United States of America is a collection of individual Representative Democracies (states) overseen and "united" by a central Republican Federal Government. Remember the words that were drilled into your heads that you would have to recite from rote memory while saluting the flag like the obedient little Fascists you were being groomed to be? "...and to the Republic, for which it stands. One Nation..." (no, I am NOT touching the "under God" thing right now.) What exactly does the words "...and to the Republic, for which it stands. One Nation..." mean? Did you ever question it? It isn't "and to the Democracy, for which it stands" is it? The United States of America was designed from the onset to be a collection of individual Democratic States bound together under a central Federal Republican Government. What exactly does that mean? A Democracy has many different flavors and caveats (our states happen to be Representative Democracies), but there is one central ideal. The people rule - the government represents and works for them. A Republic is not quite the same thing. A Republic is a government system in which a collection of the citizens (usually elected professionals) makes decisions FOR the people. In a Republic, the masses do not have a direct say in policy or governmental affairs. They often have a voice in who is going to be their leader(s), but it ends there. A Federal Government is a system in which there is a union of states that recognizes the sovereignty of a central authority while retaining certain residual powers of government. So, what do we have, then? We have a collection of states, each with their own Representative Democracy system of government bound together under the umbrella of a Federal government. The states retain a measure of individuality and autonomy while recognizing the sovereignty of the central Republican government. It's really somewhat similar to the European Union. This is the important part where Republicans and Democrats diverge: How much authority, size and power should the Federal Government have over the states? How much direct power should the Federal Government have over the people? How much direct power do the people have over the Federal government? Republicans: Smaller, less intrusive Federal Government States should have the edge in the balance of power Republicans want state sovereignty. Their reasoning is that this is a geographically huge country with a diverse array of people in it. What will work for people in NYC will not work for people in rural Wyoming. The vast size and cultural differences in this country not only makes it difficult for a central government to pass legislation that is fair to all the people that are affected by it, but it makes it nearly impossible for the people to keep an effective eye on their government. The government is rife with corruption, and always will be; there is really not a whole lot we can do about that. However, the larger the government is, the easier it is to get away with it. The more powerful a central government is the more powerful individuals can become and the more likely corruption becomes. Stop rolling your eyes. We are talking about party ideals here, not current Party practices. People from Idaho are in tune with the issues in Idaho. They live there and should have a voice in how their government is run and what policies are made. By that same token, people from Idaho don't live in New York, have no idea what issues are important to New Yorkers and should have as little say as possible in New York's governmental affairs. The Federal government should have as little say in the personal lives of the people as possible (again, party ideals, not necessarily practices) and, in turn, the people should have as little direct control over the Federal government as possible. They feel that the issues that the Federal government should have control over are ones that do not shift with the wind and whims of people. The Federal government should preside over those unifying ideals that unite the states and present a unified front to other world governments only. The Federal government is there to protect the people from states infringing on their Constitutional rights. The purpose of the Federal government is the safekeeping and proper implementation of the Constitution. The Federal government's role should be as little more than an arbiter between the states for issues that affect all citizens equally. What really separates one Republican from the next is specifically what issues directly affect all people equally and should be within the scope of the Federal government. Democrats: A much more expansive, inclusive and powerful Federal government that governs the people directly The Federal government should have the edge in the balance of power Rather than being a collection of independent states, the Democratic ideal is to have a central government, directly elected by and responsible to the people. Basically, the Democrats want to rule all the states under the same laws and have the Federal government be the main governing body. They want all the rules to apply to all the citizens equally across the states. This is all within reason, of course. They don't want the states to be completely powerless, but they want the Federal government to be much more powerful. More Federal taxes to fund more Federal social programs. Democrats feel that it is the Federal government's responsibility to ensure the safety, health, welfare and security of the citizens of the country, rather than the individual states, therefore, it is the Federal government that should make the rules for all. Democrats feel that if many of the legislation issues are left up to the individual states, then many (or all) of the minority groups will not have representation. They feel that it is the duty of all citizens to be responsible for all other citizens of the country and under the Republican ideal of state's rights, the state governments would be corrupt and there would be nothing they could do about it. If, for example, Cuban immigrants are being mistreated under Florida state laws, Californians should be able to do something about it. They see it as opening the door to human rights abuses and virtually unchecked power over minority groups. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I can go on now and list all the reasons I do not agree with the Democratic ideal of a huge central government, but I would go on and on and on (as if I hadn't already) and you wouldn't ever finish reading this. This has been, obviously, just a highly simplistic overview of what I believe. Plus, it isn't the purpose of this essay to try and convert anyone. So I will just leave it at what I think was a fair and balanced view of what the dividing line of the two parties is supposed to be. I do want to clarify a thing or two, however... I am NOT a member of the Republican Party. 1.) They allow people that do not hold the Republican ideals to represent the Republican Party. George Bush is NOT a Republican, damnit. 2.) I do not agree with the Party's means of achieving their goals, or the social and moral ideals held by the current party. My beliefs that are contrary to the current Party are mainly (but not nearly limited to): a.) I will never align myself with a person or Party that does not strive for a secular government. b.) I will never align myself with a person or Party that does not respect equal rights for all, regardless of race, religion, sexual preference or any other factor. c.) I will never align myself with a person or Party that places corporate rights over individual rights. d.) People should be free to do whatever they wish in so long as their actions do not reasonably infringe on another's freedom. 3.) I am really more of a Socialist Republican anyway (yeah, try to figure THAT one out, I have a hard time reconciling it myself). OK, I'm ready to get blasted now from both sides. What do you think?