Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Politics
Published on 03-07-2009
It seems as if the United States has never been more divided ideologically than it is today, save for the Civil War period. The country is split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with a small fraction of the population counting themselves in a different camp such as the Libertarians or the Green Party. And although there are many similarities between those on different sides of the aisle, it is their differences that define them in the American public’s eyes.
Among the two dominant parties in the country, many citizens consider themselves more toward the center. They may be on the Republican side for some issues and on the side of the Democratic Party in others, and can vote either way depending on the candidate. There are other people, however, who are staunchly on one side or the other, and far from the center in their beliefs. On the Democratic side, the far left members of this group are commonly known as Liberal, and far-right Republicans are considered Conservative.
Perhaps the biggest difference between liberals and conservatives is their belief in the government’s role in society. While liberals believe in having a large government to keep society’s wheels turning smoothly, conservatives believe that the government should be small and have a limited role in society. And as part of these ideals, there are different ways of thinking on each side of the aisle when it comes to taxes. Liberals believe in taxing the wealthy to benefit the lower classes, with a graduated tax percentage that rises with the amount of money each citizen earns. Out of these coffers would come money for more social programs. Conservatives think that taxes should be lowered all around, with less government spending on social programs as a result. One camp on the conservative side believes that every citizen should pay income taxes of an equal percentage of his or her income, no matter how much that income is. This system is more commonly known as a “flat tax”, and has been championed by several contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination.
These beliefs are symptoms of each group’s broader fundamental ideas about how the country should or should not evolve. Conservatives are generally happy with the way the country has been designed and run for past 250 years, and don’t believe in changing the system all that much. The liberal view is that gradual change is best for the country.
It’s important to consider that although there has been a lot of animosity between the two groups as of late, each side believes that their way of doing things is best for the country. So in that way, both groups can consider themselves the same in that they want the country to succeed. Both liberals and conservatives need to work together more to find a way to solve the country’s problems before its too late. There’s little doubt that a common ground can be found to achieve lasting stability for the country; it’s just a matter of finding it.