As a follow up to my recent essay submitting that the 2016 Presidential Election has actually done a favor to America by exposing the hypocrisy of all political persuasions, I decided to review the official 2016 party platforms of the Republican, Democrat and Libertarian parties. (links provided to each for your reading pleasure) I focused really on each respective Preamble rather than specific policy intents, primarily because the preamble contains those statements and beliefs upon which the policies purport to derive.
Not surprisingly, all three mantras are filled with similar expressions of who they think they are. Not surprisingly there are many similarities in the overarching “value statements” even though each party would have you believe that they are very different from each other. I boiled out the main points for each, and adjusted them to the first person perspective so you can review them yourself. However, I also added some color (literally and figuratively) to show how I understand the adherents of each party actually internalizes these values, based on the behavior of the last several decades worth of American political attitudes and realities, and in particular what has bubbled to the surface in this election cycle. There will always be bad ideas and good ideas in governing. We will not always all agree. But we simply cannot continue our present course and hope to ever surmount the challenges we face today.
Agree or disagree- your choice. But as I alluded yesterday, when you look into the mirror and fail to recognize your own shortcomings, or worse yet, insist that others are to blame for all your problems, we all lose. In that spirit, I propose my own political platform at the end of the article. I invite you all to join me in restoring some semblance of sanity to the conversation.
(In no particular order…..)
2016 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM
I believe in American exceptionalism. (Despite evidence that America falls behind many other industrialized countries in many measurable categories)
I affirm that all are created equal, endowed with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (Unless they are illegal immigrants, Muslim, LGBTQ, female, atheist, or Democrats)
I believe the Constitution was not written as a flexible document, but as an enduring covenant. (Except for the parts about corporations being equal to people. All amendments after the 10th (Bill of Rights) are probably unworthy since they weren’t part of the original document.)
I believe our constitutional system — limited government, separation of powers, federalism, and the rights of the people — must be preserved uncompromised for future generations. (Except for things like drug laws, reproductive rights, unborn people, aide to Israel, and corporate welfare rules- those should all be mandated by the government regardless of my claim to support limited government.)
I believe political freedom and economic freedom are indivisible. (Especially for corporate money in politics and the right to avoid taxes.)
I believe that people are the best stewards of our country’s natural resources. (And by people, I really mean private business – there should be no restrictions on private business with regard to land use and environmental quality.)
I wish for peace — so I insist on strength. (I mean I insist on forcing other countries to bow to our will.)
The men and women of our military remain the world’s best. (But the leadership of the military are a bunch of idiots.)
I seek friendship with all peoples and all nations. (And by friendship I really mean fealty. Except for Muslims. And gays. And atheists.)
Our economy has become weak with stagnant wages. (And the only solution is lower taxes on the wealthy.)
Our standing in world affairs has declined. (Because the world won’t do what we tell them to do.)
Remove the power from unelected, unaccountable government. (By power I mean regulations on companies, judges who don’t agree with me all the time, and protesters.)
Relieve government regulations. (Like, totally.)
Return to people and states the control and power to make decisions about what’s best for themselves, families and communities. (Unless those decisions have to do with unwanted pregnancies, who can get married, or anything to do with guns.)
2016 DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM
Out of many, we are one. (But I generally don’t like right-wingers.)
Wages have barely budged and the racial wealth gap remains wide. (And the only solution is higher taxes on the rich.)
Congress is full of gridlock and dysfunction instead of finding solutions to the real challenges we face. (But that’s only because of the Republicans refusing to compromise. It’s not Democrats fault….as much.)
Cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment. (Unless you don’t agree with our policy positions that is.)
We are stronger when we have an economy that works for everyone. (But especially the public sector employees and their unions.)
I need an economy that prioritizes long-term investment over short-term profit-seeking, rewards the common interest over self-interest, and promotes innovation and entrepreneurship. (This is mostly just because it sounds great, but I strongly value nepotism in awarding long-term contracts and have no problem when tax schemes are diverted into pet projects.)
I know that our nation’s long struggle with race is far from over. (And I will use this as a distraction instead of adopting real plans to change this reality.)
I believe a good education is a basic right of all Americans. (But don’t worry too much about how they get it or what constitutes “good.”)
I firmly believe that the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street must be brought to an end. (Just so long as it doesn’t screw up my 401k or harm my investments personally.)
I will fight to end the broken campaign finance system. (And by fight I mostly mean say it’s bad while doing very little to end it, especially if it helps my candidate.)
I believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures. (But I’ll actually do very little to make changes in my lifestyle to help.)
I believe we should strengthen our alliances, not weaken them. (But I don’t really know how to do this because I still think we’re the best around.)
I believe in the power of development and diplomacy. (Absolutely. Almost always.)
I believe our military should be the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force in the world, and that we must do everything we can to honor and support our veterans. (But really can’t we all just get along?)
I respect differences of perspective and belief. (Except for those on the right. Primarily those on the right.)
I believe in protecting and guaranteeing civil rights and voting rights for all citizens. (Because there is never a good reason not to, right?)
2016 LIBERTARIAN PLATFORM
I seek a world of liberty. (And by liberty I mean leave me then hell alone.)
I believe all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one should be forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. (So like, no taxes man. Because I can build my own road and put out my own fire and educate my own family.)
I believe that only through individual freedom can peace and prosperity be realized. (And by freedom I mean leave me the hell alone.)
I defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. (So really, fewer rules and laws are best. No regulations because corporations will naturally do what is best for everyone.)
I seek a world where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power. (Who cares if you want to marry your pet horse, cut down all the trees that block your view, or dump paint in the local water source. I mean, if that’s your DREAM….)
A MORE RATIONAL PLATFORM
I believe that no one country is better than another simply because they claim to be.
All are created equal, endowed with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our Constitution is a valuable guide but can change with modern needs and expectations.
Limited government is great for some things, but where people can’t agree or where corporations cause harm or where we all need to share resources, government has a role.
I seek friendship with all peoples and all nations so long as they seek the same from me. If they choose to not seek friendship that doesn’t automatically make them my enemy.
Cooperation is better than conflict and empowerment is better than resentment- but compromise for the good of most over the good of a few should be the guiding principal.
I believe in the power of diplomacy.
I believe in protecting the civil rights of all citizens.
I believe a comprehensive education is a basic right, as are health care, clean water, air, food and shelter.
All people have a right to not be judged on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other difference over which there no personal control.
I respect differences of perspective and belief and encourage healthy debate instead of belittlement of others.
I defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest.
I seek a world where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, but within the agreed upon constraints of society.
I believe that government in general should not bind itself indefinitely to most things and should expect changes as attitudes change over time, provided they always remain committed to fostering betterment in the world for all.
I believe in freedom of thought and speech, but not speech or thought based in discrimination, hate, or retribution.
I believe in a fair economy, one which rewards innovation and hard work without penalizing lower skilled tasks.
I believe in shared responsibility and shared benefits for the common resources, new technology and infrastructure.
I believe politicians should have limited power and terms and that governance shouldn’t be a “zero sum proposition.”
I believe that governments and individuals together have a duty to protect, preserve, manage, and develop our natural world in ways that promote longevity of resources, minimize short and long term destruction and foster renewability while looking out for the other species on this planet.
I believe military power should always be a last resort, should never be used to advance a single national ideology, and a shared responsibility by all nations who seek to work together.
I believe that no one person or profession is innately superior to another due simply to their current station in life.
A fair, responsible, fact based news media is vital to cooperation and rational discourse. Jaded or politicized reporting hurts us all.
I believe that religion in general has no place in governance so long as a plethora of religious thought exists.
Nothing would make me happier than a wholesale abandonment of our current party system towards something even slightly more agreeable. Let me know if you want to join the “Rational Party.”