Parties Really Not Much Different

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).

Today, I would like to talk about the wide gulf between theory and practice. I'm going to try to explain why America has a political system made up of two major factions known as the Republicans and the Democrats. I will also look at the complimentary questions: "Why is it so hard to make a Democrat out of a Republican?'" and "Why is it so hard to make a Republican out of a Democrat?"

We have Perotistas (followers of Ross Perot), Buchananites (followers of Pat Buchanan) and various other minor factions of politically opinionated people who are every day parroting the statement once made popular by George Wallace that, "There is not a dime's worth of difference between the two major parties!" Are these people out of their minds or are they, in one since (or from their perspective), making a valid point?

In the seventeenth century, the great French philosopher (mathematician and inventor) Blaise Pascal stated, "The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." In the last few weeks, while many others watched the NCAA basketball tournament, I have been happily sitting quietly in my room and thinking about the famous "not a dime's worth of difference" accusation being voiced by more and more of my fellow Americans.

Eureka! I think I have discovered why they perceive the two political parties as being two heads of the same nasty beast. They are looking at the practice and not the theory of each of the parties. In theory, each party's leaders mouth a line of rhetoric which would lead one to believe the followers of the two parties are from two entirely different planets. To believe everything their leaders and spokespeople say, one might entertain captured thoughts that Democrats descended from a race of people from Venus and Republicans all trace back to a race of Martians who want America to resemble their home planet of Mars.

Of course I'm engaging in a little hyperbole (exaggeration) here, but the real humor is that I don't think I'm too far off the mark as far as perception goes. Let me illustrate my point by examining the radio forum of the Rush Limbaugh program. Rush is a man whom I greatly admire. In my opinion, Mr. Limbaugh is probably right eighty to ninety percent of the time--in theory! (Rush claims he is documented to be right 97.9% of the time, but Rush himself is quite full of hyperbole.) Quite a few would agree that Rush is full of it.

Of late, this conservative spokesman has been beside himself with frustration that liberals and other Democrats refuse to see any wrongs in the leadership and philosophy of the Democratic Party. He cannot understand (or he lets on that he can't understand) why Democrats, stubbornly perceive only the faults of people who are drawn to the Republican Party. Even more frustrating to Rush are the hundreds of thousands of people who do see the sin patterns of the kinds of people who are attracted to the Democratic Party; but refuse to justify the sinful practices they see in the lives of conservatives and other Republicans.

More and more Americans are just sick of the "excused practice" of the sins of greed, self-righteousness, pride, fraud, criticism, envy, immorality, laziness, deception, and jealousy they see exhibited by the leaders, spokespeople, and all those who openly boast of being Democrats or Republicans.

My theory (the Wolf theory of politics) is that we all have sin natures which lean toward one combinational pattern or another of the above mentioned sinful characteristics. I should not have to point out which ones are perceived by Republicans to belong to Democrats and which ones are perceived by Democrats to belong to Republicans. I believe each person has a human tendency to rationalize his or her own pattern of sins as virtuous and the other fellow's as distasteful. That is why most Americans gravitate toward one of the two major parties and most people would rather fight than switch!

It is my observation that we are all sinners and, "at least from that perspective", there is not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. Through politics, too many of us are guilty of trying to gain the whole world. Reread the first line of this letter.

--Kenneth J. Wolf #52 (04/03/96)

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