Tag Archives: differences

I Yield My Time to the Gentleman from Dispatches from the Culture Wars

One of the blogs I read regularly is Dispatches from the Culture WarsEd Brayton’s “tell it like it is” reports on the crazier precincts of the Right. Brayton himself is a “left-libertarian” with whom I have much in common philosophically.

Sometimes, he says things so clearly and succinctly that there is no point trying to improve on his message. The other day he shared one such observation, and I am simply copying and pasting most of it. (With attribution, so I don’t think he’ll mind.)

He begins by addressing the oft-repeated assertion that there is no difference between the parties:

Even as someone who has spent most of his life voting third party, the claim that there’s no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is simply one of the most ridiculous and reality-defying statements of epic bullshit I have ever heard in my life and I cannot take seriously anyone who makes that claim.

Then he gives “chapter and verse.”

Here’s what I have said for a long time: When there’s a big bunch of money at stake, there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two parties. If the profits of major corporations and the net worth of billionaires is at stake in a policy fight, they’re going to get 100% of what they want from Republicans and about 90% of what they want from Democrats. But that does not mean that there are no meaningful, life-changing differences between the parties, not even close. Let me list the ways:

Only one party has passed more than 100 anti-choice bills after taking control of state legislatures in 2010. Only one party has passed bills to defund Planned Parenthood, putting the healthcare of millions of women in jeopardy. Only one party is furiously opposed to paid parental leave.

Only one party passes bills to prevent trans people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Only one party supports discrimination against LGBT people in every possible way. Only one party supports giving Christians a “get out of discrimination laws free” card. Only one party rails against marriage equality. Only one party includes organizations that demonize LGBT people as demon-possessed child molesters. Only one party supports gay reversion therapy.

Only one party tries constantly, in every possible way, to cut or eliminate food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies and every other imaginable means of support for the poor.

Only one party puts justices like Scalia, Alito and Thomas on the Supreme Court.

I could go on, but that’s quite enough to show that the claim that there are no differences between the two parties is patently ridiculous.

So there!

Listen to your Father…

The other day, I had breakfast in one of those modestly-priced hotels/motels where breakfasts are included. A man in his mid-thirties was going through the buffet with his young son, who looked to be seven or eight. I didn’t catch the first part of their exchange, but I heard the son say to his father,  presumably about yet another traveler who was filling a plate “But that’s not the way we do it. That’s wrong.”

The father used that exchange as a teachable moment. “Different people do things differently. That doesn’t make one person wrong and the other one right. They’re just different.”

I wanted to kiss that guy.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all parents taught their children that simple principle? Wouldn’t the world we live in be more pleasant, more comfortable, if people would just learn that “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “wrong”? How much richer would our lives be if we enjoyed people where we found them, if rather than trying to make everyone do things the way we do, we chilled out and accepted the wonderful variety of life?

We could use a lot more fathers willing to use a mundane experience to underscore an important life lesson.