Republican…WashCo Dems op-ed article
Democrat, What’s The Difference?

By Clayton Callahan
WashCo Dems Communication Committee Member


I get asked this frequently. You see, where I work most folks are only passively interested in politics and I’m known as the more passionate one on the subject. Passionate perhaps because I served twenty years uniform and consider it important to be aware of how our democracy is functioning…or not.

Anyway, co-workers will approach me and make statements like:

“They’re all corrupt, you know? Every politician is on the take no matter which party they belong to,” or “No politician ever put food on my table.”

To be fair, they are not one-hundred percent wrong…the problem is that they also aren’t one-hundred percent right… and percentages matter.

It is true that you are just as likely to read about some Republican being indicted as a Democrat. People are fallible, and you will find screw-ups on either side. That is why it’s important for a voter to look at the candidate, as well as the party they belong to.

However, the party they belong to will tell you a lot about the candidate. After all, you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep.

There was a time when the Republican Party really was a “big tent,” as Ronald Regan described it. Back then, you could find reasonable Republicans that supported unions, clean air, women’s rights and all that good stuff. But sadly, that’s no longer the case. My first indication that the Republicans were heading downhill was when I heard them use the term RINO (for Republican In Name Only), hurled at anyone not pure in their conservatism.

And with the rise of the Tea Party, many a free-thinking Republican has been weeded out for not toting the hardcore conservative line. What’s left is a bunch of fanatics whose beliefs in far-right conservatism are so strong that they never look at the evidence that their ideas aren’t working for most Americans.

Despite wages stagnating they cling to “trickledown” economic policies. And regardless of how many Americans are displaced by record-breaking wildfires and hurricanes, Republicans refuse to acknowledge that Climate Change is manmade and we can do something about it. This is a party that knows that the lowest abortion rates are in states that have good women’s health programs, but cuts funding for said programs in the name of being “pro-life.” Truly in the Republican Party, the patients have taken over the asylum.

Now, as I said earlier, I served as a soldier. And I paid close attention to politics all my adult life.

You see, for a soldier, politics are literally a matter of life and death as our elected officials decide whether or not we go to war. And while observing the Democratic Party I have seen no RINO phenomena. Democrats today are still a big tent, with progressives rubbing elbows with the more traditional at every convention. Also, Democrats aren’t afraid to look at the facts and deal with things as they are. Thus, they have real solutions for the real struggles Americans are facing based on research and evidence.

Neither party is perfect. However, there is a real difference between the two. And that’s why, things being as they are, this veteran is proud to vote Democrat!