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a rambling

Thursday, May 22, 2008

*warning: some politicking to follow and in no real order!*

With the presidential election nearing and since the candidates have been in our face for over a year now, I've been having many discussions about some of the differences between Republicans and Democrats. I've been somewhat shocked at how democrats see republicans but I've also been equally as shocked at just how alike we are. One topic that has come up of late is Social Justice and what it means to a conservative versus a democrat. Through my, it's been made clear that many liberals feel that conservatives don't stand for much when it comes to Social Justice.

First, let's define Social Justice. According to wiki, Social Justice is "generally thought of as a world which affords individuals and groups fair treatment and an impartial share of the benefits of society." (link). Although this definition is a tad ambiguous and leaves room for broad interpretation, I can honestly say that I've only met a handful of Republicans/Conservatives who do not agree with the above statement (and these few are in their 70's & 80', I'm thinking age has something to do with their position). There are a few components of our lives that help us to individually define Social Justice. For me, and I would assume most people, those include: my religion/faith, my political agenda (to include regulations/laws), and my environment.

When I think of modern social justice a few issues come to mind: poverty, genocide, gays & lesbians, and education (I know there are plenty more). I want to end poverty. I want to stop genocide. I support the equal rights of gays/lesbians. I want better education for my children and yours, too. I'm not sure what "social justice" cause I wouldn't stand behind. Which brings me to my question - how exactly are we so different?

It really is quite simple. Traditionally, Republicans have long stood for small government and have taken the laissez-faire approach to personal rights and/or liberties (though one can argue, and quite successfully, that this has changed since the days of Reagan). For decades, Democrats have believed in and implemented big government. This, my friends, is where the difference is. It's not that we conservatives don't stand for Social Justice - it's that we don't want the government telling us what it is we need to stand for. Conversely, Democrats seem to have no problem with the government creating programs in the name of social justice. When you force me to give to such causes via my tax dollars, that is socialism. When I give of my own free will, that is called charity.

Social justice and charity are intertwined. I was googling for some research on whether or not conservatives are just as charitable as Democrats claim to be. Interestingly, I found the following:

"When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice." AND "...secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don't provide them with enough money." (link)

and this: "While conservatives tend to regard giving as a personal rather than governmental responsibility, some liberals consider private charity a retrograde phenomenon -- a poor palliative for an inadequate welfare state and a distraction from achieving adequacy by force, by increasing taxes." (link)

I'd like to expand on the last quote. We have created a society that is dependant on the government for assistance. We have created generation after generation of welfare recipients. We have erased the desire for personal success and achievement and replaced it with food stamps, government housing, and financial assistance. Why would anyone have ambition when the government can take care of all your needs? Now, don't get me wrong - I take no issue with these programs in theory. However, all welfare programs, in my opinion, need to be revamped. Although arguable, I don't think Roosevelt intended on the US becoming such a Welfare State. These programs should be short-term programs and they should be used to help the struggling get back on their feet. Additionally, there are private programs that help the burdened and that is where they should be going.

I do volunteer work and I'm a member of Save Darfur. I, too, fight for social justice - no need to tell me to do these things. People do and will give on their own - just look at the donations/time/supplies generated PRIVATELY for the victims of the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Last year, American Idol raised $75MM for their "Idol Gives Back" campaign. And in 2007, Jerry Lewis raised $60MM during his annual telethon. All politics aside, people do give and they give often.

I'm a firm believer that we all want the world to be a better place and we'd all like to eradicate social injustices.


Ayesha said...

We have something in similar and that something is to end poverty. Have you heard about the end poverty2015 campaign initiated by UN?
Well it has 8 MDG's meaning the 8 millennium development goals.If you want to know more about it than my gmail id is : lakhani.ayesha
please let us know if your intrested in doing social work for us.

In 2007, Over 43.7 million people, in 127 countries broke the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people to “STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY” in 24 hours

Let's cross the 100 Million mark this time.

Invite your friends-

tejanamama said...

I think its not so much about the differences between blue and red so much as the difference between individuals. Both parties have some skanky people who aren't true in representing what we as individuals represent.

I am a democrat mostly because I support the majority of the items on the Dem Platform. I do believe in some of the social programs that have been put into effect because my life and my husband's lives wouldn't be what they are without them.

I do believe reform is needed and that many programs when put into effect aren't what they are meant to be in theory or that they change over time to become something else entirely.

I believe the programs do good work and that they are abused as well. We can police that and have been lazy about doing so. There are rule breakers at every level and people from top to bottom take advantage of every benefit they ever receive. I think ALL levels need policing. Not sure why we allow it, but it happens in red and blue states and by red and blue people! We are sometimes more alike than different, depending on the PERSON. :)

Great post!