The upcoming election for President of the United States will be a choice between two very different candidates, with seemingly polar opposite views on the issues. But I believe there are many areas of common ground. For example, I believe good people of both parties don’t want to see poor children starving in the streets. We all want jobs. Most of us want to see equality in the workplace. And I could go on and on with issues that I see as “human” issues, not truly belonging to one party or another. Sure, there are differences that do seem to fit specifically into either the Republican or the Democratic mindset, but I realize that I am “Republican” in some issues, “Democrat” in others, and sometimes wishy-washy. There is such overlap that I am driven to try to understand why I generally feel so Republican.
I think it boils down to this. I am the son of Mexican immigrants. They moved here legally, by the way. I moved to this great country when I was 6 years old. I remember sleeping on the floor of our first apartment. I remember my mother rationing out food. I remember my mother saving pennies for things we needed. I was acutely aware that they had no nearby extended family to rescue them in case things went bad. Yet they sent me and my brothers to private schools. My two brothers and I became two doctors and a lawyer. We have each in turn had families of wonderful, successful children who are hard-working contributors to society. And my parents did this with no help form anyone. There was no public aid or support. There were no grants or loans for college. My parents did it all through their hard work, as I did for my own family.
I continue to work hard, in a very stressful and responsible job. I have either earned enough money or have taken out loans to send my kids to good schools and to provide them with a decent life growing up. Apart from family support, none of that was given to me, I worked for it, and I have worked hard for it since I was in my teens. The life I have built might even be enviable to some. I live in a nice house, drive a nice car, and go on nice trips. Hard work in a great country has allowed all that to happen.
But if someone invaded my house and tried to take my stuff, that would be illegal. In fact, In North Carolina I could shoot them! Or if someone on the street tried to steal my wallet I might want to punch them in the nose. Maybe they just wanted to have a nice house too, drive a nice car, go on nice trips, but they are not allowed to do it by stealing from me.
So what is all this talk about “sharing prosperity,” or “leveling the playing field?” How does that work exactly? If the way it works is by the government taxing me more in order to provide free stuff to others, I don’t approve! To me it feels just like the guy invading my house or assaulting me on the street. If anyone is going to be charitable with my money I want it to be me! I worked hard for my money and I want to decide how it is spent!
Everyone has to take responsibility for his or her own life, no matter the circumstances. We aren’t all the same. We each are born to a different set of circumstances and that’s just the way it is. It is then up to each of us to navigate through life and fail or succeed as best we can. In the United States, a free society, we should not look to the government to take care of us. We should not expect life to be the same for everyone. We don’t live in a socialist country.
The reality is that everyone is different. Some people are born a genius and some mentally-challenged, with the rest of us falling in between in a roughly bell-shaped curve. Some of us are good students and some are not. Some of us have a work ethic and some are lazy. Some of us are born to wealthy parents and some are not. Some of us enjoy good health and some do not. So some people are going to succeed in life better than others. That’s just reality. Even if you were to magically redistribute “prosperity” equally to everyone at some imaginary moment in time, it would not take long for the wealth to again find it’s way into the hands of some (probably the industrious) and out of the hands of others.
In this country, there is plenty of opportunity and freedom to have a wonderful life. If you want it, work for it. Go to school. Seek or create your opportunities. Take your calculated risks. Pay your bills. Invest some of what you make in things that are important to you. But don’t expect to reach into my pocket just so you can buy something that you jealously covet. And don’t think that it’s okay for the government to reach into my pocket for you. That amounts to the same thing.
I certainly don’t mind paying my fair share. There are certain things the government provides, on the local, state and federal levels, that are good. But I don’t want a government that forever wants more of the money I worked hard for, to spend in ways I don’t approve. Further, I don’t want the government to spend MORE than it has in its budget, expecting future generations to pay for it. That is immoral. I don’t want the government to hinder me in my pursuits, and I don’t expect it to rescue me either.
Democratic leaders don’t always “tax and spend,” but they tend to do that. Republican leaders generally support people like me. People that have worked hard, created businesses, created jobs for others, have been successful and generous. Even though I live paycheck to paycheck like most people I know, I make enough money that I am demonized by my current Democratic president. He paints me as a bad person, and wants to reach into my pocket to take even more money. Despite whatever deductions are available to me in my tax bracket, I already pay much more in taxes than the average guy. I have always paid MORE than my fair share. The top 20% of income earners account for 80% of all tax revenue. I am a Republican because the party understands that. The Republican Party understands the brave, creative, independent, hard-working America that our founders created.