5.10.2006

The Law of Perpetual Political Motion

Yesterday's column by Holly Mullen was interesting. It talks about how (in general) the political pendulum swings back and forth over time. This is a concept I have talked about before with people, when I have complained that the two-party system works best when both parties are more different than they are right now. This thought suggests that the pendulum is moving again, and it's true here in Utah. In my view, the national side of the Republican Party seems to be moving in a direction that this state is less familiar with. Conversely, the national Democratic Party seems to be moving in a direction that more Utahns may identify with. When that pendulum is in motion (and some argue correctly that it is in perpetual motion), there is a period of time when both parties are so similar that they are hard to distinguish. This has been the case for a while now. However, at a state level, the shift seems to be taking hold and differences are becoming more distinguishable.

Although it will not be an overnight shift, there seems to be a movement to more Democratic values as they are currently constituted and recently updated (?), and a move away from the demonstrated values that seem to be part of the Republican platform, (which seem old, outdated, and basically ignored by those holding office under that party's banner). Consider: There seems to be more acceptance of democrats in races currently under way, with several platforms sounding VERY familiar to most self-badged conservatives. I believe a guy like Pete Ashdown is a good example of this, as many have stated here and other places before.

The Holly Mullen column focuses on Steve Olsen, the challenger for Republican Rob Bishop's seat in House District 1 here in Utah. He states that many people who SAY they are republicans have not paid attention to their party's newer platform planks, and may in fact relate more closely to the Democratic platform, without even knowing it. Olsen wrote a pamphlet with an eye toward helping people identify with what he thinks are the distinguishing features between the two parties today. Excerpts are here:

If you truly believe in the principle of limited government, rather than secretly wanting government to promote things you agree with and outlawing those you don'’t, you may be a Democrat.

If you distrust big corporations as much as you distrust big government, you may be a Democrat.

If you believe that religion fills a critical role in American society, but see proof in modern America of JeffersonÂ’s doctrine that direct involvement in politics corrupts and weakens religion, you may be a Democrat.

If the strident tone of conservative talk show hosts is starting to get on your nerves, you may be a Democrat.

If you believe that frugality in government is best promoted by giving the American people an honest account of what new initiatives will cost and how we're going to pay for it, rather than promoting a fantasy world of increased spending, tax cuts for the wealthy, and increasing debt for our children, you may be a Democrat.

If you believe devoutly in the sanctity of human life, but respect that good people may differ on how to best protect it, and would rather reach out and actively work to find solutions to the root causes of abortion rather than stand idly behind a line and shout slogans at the opposing side, you may be a Democrat.

If you believe it'’s unfair to shift the tax burden from extreme inherited and investment wealth to wage earners, you may be a Democrat.

If you believe the large and expanding poverty gap is a real problem that requires real solutions, you may be a Democrat.

If you believe our foreign policy should consist of cooperation with other nations and diplomacy to solve problems, with war being used as a last resort, rather than an arrogant and isolationist "“go it alone"” policy, you may be a Democrat.

If you are a person who considers that talents of extraordinary intelligence or ambition are gifts from God, and feel that average Americans deserve a piece of the American dream just as much as gifted Americans, you may be a Democrat.

Anyway, it shall indeed be interesting to note some of these races in light of the current deficit trouble - and it IS trouble, with a capital "T", and that rhymes with "P", and that stands for POOL, right here in River City - along with the idea of tax and spend and spend some more, as well as perceived intervention, and some say hijacking, of the political process by zealous and well-funded religious groups and politicallitcal action committees, etc. The republican party is broken down by the side of the road right now, and the occupants of that vehicle (an H2, symbolically appropriate) are waving cash around in hopes somebody will stop by the side of the road and put more gas in the car.

Meanwhile the Democratic party has taken the time to craft a platform that speaks to the values of more Americans (some say, and I would have to agree in some instances, that they have simply come more toward the political center in recent years - it's the pendulum thing), at this time in history.

As I said, it will be interesting to witness. The possible shift here in Utah would signal a change that has not taken place in decades, and it's high time. Fire Orrin. And speaking of that, check out the "Spirit of '76" series over at Bob's Place, here, here, here, and here. Good stuff. It's high time.

1 comment:

for what it's worth said...

And we face the exact opposite here in the Great North. We have gone from the left where we had options and freedoms, and are moving towards the right, and quickly.
We have Harper in control and in Bush's pocket....( do you get the ad..."hands in my pocket, hands in my pocket" down there? That's where Harper is) For example, policies that have been in place for tax credits for ALL families with children are being scrapped and revisited to award the families who choose to stay home with their children under 6. But,like your commentary states, we need to find the resolution to society...like young single mothers, parents who are trying to make it day to day through not fault of their own...to fix the social issues, not reward those who like-mindedness to the federal government.