In With the Donkeys.
April 26, 2001
April 26, 2001
In With the Donkeys.
Americans have been consumed by politics since the beginning. It is even easier now, especially in a presidential election year. It seems you can?t watch television without seeing an advertisement for the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. While our political system does allow more then two parties, these two parties are the only two widely voted for year in year out. This leaves most Americans with the tough choice of deciding which party to vote for. The choice seems to be getting harder every year. Both parties try to represent more voters, this is why each lean more towards the middle between each party every year. Now the voter must decide which issues are the most important to them, and then chose a side. I myself have had a tough time choosing a party. But, by weighing out the issues, at this time in my life I am leaning towards the Democratic Party. I agree with a number of their key issues. First, I strongly agree with their view on minimum wage, their stance on school choice, their choice of crime prevention, their plan for welfare reform, and lastly their pledge to protect the environment.
The number of families living off of minimum wage is increasing every year. These families would be living in poverty if not for minimum wage. Many Republicans are opposed to minimum wage because of fears that it would slow down the economy and increase the unemployment rate. They thought this would happen because businesses would have to cut jobs in order to pay for the higher wages. The problem of having no minimum wage is that while one person can survive on a low wage, it is impossible in today?s world to support a family by making under $5.00 an hour. The current minimum wage is set at $5.15 an hour, Democrats have been trying to increase it to $6.15 by implementing two $.50 increases over a two year period. This has been unsuccessful because of the Republican majority in Congress. I believe along with the Democratic Party that the minimum wage is essential to lifting Americans out of poverty.
One of the biggest issues during the 2000 Presidential campaign was the issue of education. While both parties agreed that more money needed to be appropriated for education, they disagreed on how it should be spent. The issue of school choice was also high on the list of differences. The Democratic Party would like to give all Americans the choice of which public school they want their child to attend. The Democratic Party believes that this would make schools increase their standards and discipline. The Republican Party would like to give all Americans voucher for what their child would receive from the state and federal government. With this money voucher the parents could send the student to any school they would like, private or public, and they would only have to pay the difference. While the may seem like a good idea, private school vouchers would take money away from public schools, which are open to all students, and give them to private schools, which can exclude students based on their ability to pay. School choice is needed, but should not extend to the transfer of state and federal funding to private schools.
Unfortunately, crime is rising. Subsequently crime prevention has become a very important. Each party has their own view on how to decrease crime. Democrats believe in stopping crime before it happens through education, teen programs, curfews and more community based police officers. With new after school programs, democrats hope to keep young people busy and out of trouble. Under the Clinton Administration the government created 100,000 additional community police officers and countless after school programs for urban areas. Democrats as do I believe that with more time and more funds this type of crime prevention could reduce crime dramatically.
Both parties agree on only about one thing when it comes to welfare. That is the fact that it needs to be reformed. Each although have their own methods for reforming it. The democrats would like to reform it by limiting the amount of time someone can be on welfare, creating more jobs for people on welfare, and increases federal funding for child care. Democrats believe that by giving more jobs to welfare recipients that it will increase the chances of these people of getting off welfare and staying off. With increased funding for childcare it gives the children of welfare recipients of being able to succeed later in life. By implementing these actions, I believe the welfare system could greatly be improved.
The Democratic Party has always been pledged to the protection of the environment. With the increase of pollution and fewer natural resources this is more important then ever. Democrats believe that stricter restrictions on clean air and clean water must be done to protect the health of Americans. They also believe in the preservation of certain areas in order to protect an ecosystem. This is debated very heavily right now with the Republican Administration wanting to drill for oil in Alaska. While do not completely agree with all the views Democrats have on environment, especially those found on the protection of endangered animals and plants. But I do agree with them a lot more then I do the Republican view on the environment.
Choosing a party is still very difficult, even when the issues are singled out one by one. This is because while I do agree with the Democratic stance on some issues, I do not agree with them on all the issues. These issues make it hard to decide on a single party. This is probably the reason why I do not believe in a strong political party system. I usually vote on a candidate based on their stances on the issues, not what party they are from. This is the view of many Americans and this is why America has one of the weakest political party systems in the democratic world.