Alternate Realities

There’s an old song lyric that begins “Two different worlds..we live in two different worlds.” At the end of the song, the lovers turn those “two different worlds” into one.

In politics these days, Republicans and Democrats also live in different worlds–but they show little or no interest in merging them, or finding common ground.

Take the issue of personal responsibility, for example. (Invoking the importance of encouraging individual responsibility is the GOP’s standard reason for opposing virtually all government social programs.)

Here’s my question: how do Republicans who want to reduce the size of government until it is “small enough to drown in a bathtub” propose that citizens “take responsibility” for things like the recent West Virginia chemical spill? How, precisely, are individuals supposed to assume responsibility for things like the purity of their drinking water, or for the air they breathe, or the safety of the food they purchase and consume?

Even Republicans who concede that government has a role to play in these matters, however, will insist that individuals are personally responsible for their own economic status.

If you believe that poor people are poor because they don’t work hard (and rich people are rich because they do)– a belief shared by most Republicans, according to a recent poll–┬ádo you also blame poor people for failing to take “personal responsibility” for a lack of available jobs? What additional “personal responsibility” should be exhibited by the millions of working poor–the folks working 40 or more hours a week at jobs that don’t pay them enough to get by?

Today’s Republicans and Democrats do live in two different worlds. The Republican world is tantalizingly simple: a place where virtue is rewarded with success in the best Calvinist tradition–a world where those who work hard, attend church and marry someone of the opposite gender will prosper.

Democrats and Independents occupy a messier reality, where luck and privilege explain the gap between the haves and have nots more often than diligence and talent, and where simple explanations–however comforting– rarely tell the whole story.

In the Republican reality, government is unnecessary; in the reality inhabited by everyone else, it’s essential.


  1. It’s all for the greater good. Right? Isn’t it?

    That’s the way it is supposed to be.

  2. Here is another old song that came to my mind; “This song ain’t got no swallerin’ places” which was made famous by Minnie Pearl on Grand Old Opery years ago. The song the GOP sings “ain’t got no swallerin’ places” between their contol of our lives on even the most personal level but demanding government stop all aid and force their version of “responsibility” on those who can least assume control of their own lives. Being a member of what I belive is the majority between the haves and have nots – the have barely enough to survive – I am grateful the government (in some cases) maintained my deposits into Social Security and are now returning my investment when I need it. On the local level of government; how do I as a 76 year old woman, deaf and disabled, take responsibility for clearing ice and snow covered streets which my tax dollars have already paid for? How do I force businesses to stop polluting our air and rivers when laws have already been passed to control these continuing abuses? The many people I know who are part of my majority, are and always have been hard working, honest, responsible people who now struggle through their days and nights to maintain their current level of existence. Getting ahead has been put on a back burner till reality hits the GOP; but I no longer believe in miracles, I doubt I will live long enough to see this happen. Government, at all levels, made themselves responsible for and gave us promises that they would maintain our public safety, education, maintain our infrastructure and contol big businesses who pollute the environment 24/7 and pay for this privilege. The questionable tactic used by Bosma to move a bill to another committee to assure it’s passage, is a blatant example of the lack of control we have that precludes our responsibility to protect ourselves from their greed and personal “values”. “Two different worlds” will remain the theme song and the reality of this country till voters wake up to the reality of these two different worlds and force change at the polls.

  3. Can you please change your twitter password. You’ve been hacked and flooding my feed with Russian jiberish.

  4. Republican Leadership will say that like small Government. It appeals to the Base of their party that is convinced that a segment of our population on Government Assistance uses their tax dollars to buy big screen TV’s, luxury cars, and stuffs their shopping carts full of steaks, potato chips, etc., all paid for by Food Stamps.

    Republicans in this State further appeal to Base by floating bills about, who is eligible to be married, celebrating Winter Holidays in Schools, teaching creationism in Schools.

    The Republican philosophy of small government stops at the door of Crony-Capitalism. Billions of tax dollars have been spent on stadiums for Mega-Billionaire owners of Sports Teams, a down town Mall, and other direct and indirect subsidies for the favored few. Unfortunately, the Democrat Party in this state also endorses the Crony-Capitalist Agenda.

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