We are constantly inundated in this country to choose a side. Are you pro-life or are you pro-choice? Are you for privatized health-care or are you a godless communist? But it all seems to come down to: Are you Democrat or Republican? My response whenever anyone asks me this often-loaded question is: What’s the difference?
It’s an election year, which means everyone will be asking who you are going to vote for. What they don’t realize is that it won’t make a difference either way. Iâ€™m cynical about politics these days because both parties promise the world when they are running, and then manage to completely do the opposite in office.
So, let’s borrow Doc Brown’s Delorean and go back to 1999 when George W. Bush was running for president. Ol’ W ran on a semi-isolationist platform, saying that we have too many troops abroad and needed to cut military spending, while closing some of the over 600 various military bases around the world.
One might point out that this is a very similar view to the poster-child-of-the-youth vote â€“â€“ Ron Paul. However, while Paul will likely never get the chance to show us how he will break his promises, Bush was able to break them in bundles. He expanded our military presence worldwide while passing the largest restriction on American civil liberties in our history.
But don’t worry. Democrats â€“â€“ the blue asses â€“â€“ aren’t squeaky clean either. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay torture facility, but it doesn’t look like this will be carried through any time soon. In addition to not closing Guantanamo, he passed the National Defense Authorization Act this past year, which has what is probably the scariest section in any bill passed since FDR OKâ€™d the Japanese internment camps.
NDAA has a provision that allows the U.S. military to detain any U.S. citizen indefinitely without charge on U.S. soil. So not only did Obama not close something that amounts to an illegal military prison, but he also gave the federal government the ability to send you there. Still, in an effort for full disclosure, it must be added that Obama did say he would not implement this indefinite detention in his presidency, but the law will still hold when he is out of office, which could be soon.
The fact is that politicians are using stupid polarizing issues like planned parenthood and gun control to divide the masses so they can pass things we all disagree with. When the masses realize this, we tend to all agree that congress is wrong â€“â€“ like when most of the country rallied behind the Internet to stop politicians from censoring the greatest tool for freedom of speech in the history of mankind.
Itâ€™s issues like SOPA that we are supposed to be blind to, while Bachmann gets the masses to debate over a woman’s right to choose. We need to ignore the issues that are just meant to be inflammatory, but really don’t make any difference to the structure or workings of the government.
Gun control is far too unpopular to ever pass with any kind of significance in the near future, but we are meant to believe the liberals are trying to take our guns or that the conservatives are trying to buy rocket launchers. While we bicker over something so insignificant, the politicians in Washington are slowly turning this country into an Orwellian wonderland.
This brings me back to: â€œWhat’s the difference?â€ If you are adamantly pro-life, your favorite politicians will compromise to help them pass later bills, and if you are pro-gun control, they will compromise against you just as quickly.
But when it comes to issues of cutting the budget, eliminating government corruption and insider trading â€“â€“ or even a bill which takes away our civil liberties â€“â€“ both parties will hug while they do what the majority of Americans in both parties disagree with.
So next time you are getting looked at naked by a TSA agent without a warrant, ask yourself again: â€œWhat’s the difference between the donkeys and elephants?â€ Because they sure don’t want you to notice there isn’t any.
Jefferson Freeman is a senior economics major. His column appears every other Monday in the Collegian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.