Okay, all the Democrat versus Republican partisan political anger in this country has to stop right now.
Not because it’s damaging our republic or anything like that.
It’s just meaningless, that’s all.
It’s divisive rhetoric and, in the political spectrum, it really only comes from angry fringe voters. Often this nonsense is voiced by idiots who assume President Barack Obama is a socialist Black Panther and buffoons who think inevitable Republican nominee Mitt Romney is going to kick all of our grandmothers off Social Security.
Just stop it.
Listen to me, partisans: all the anger that’s making your blood pressure go through the roof is absolutely meaningless.
The differences between the Republican and Democratic parties are miniscule.
The coming Obama versus Romney general election serves as irrefutable evidence.
Well, just look at Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
It’s pretty much the same as “Romneycare,” the Massachusetts health care reform law passed by Romney, only Obama’s is applied at the federal level.
When campaigning in Massachusetts for governor, Romney told voters that he wasn’t a “partisan Republican,” that he was a “moderate” with “progressive views.”
If he said that today, blabbermouths like Rush Limbaugh would call Romney a closet atheist who should go back to Russia.
Meanwhile, President Obama has spent his entire first term trying to remind voters that he’s a moderate Democrat with the same progressive views.
But not too progressive, as to not offend people who think “progressive” means “socialist.”
The most infuriating part of this election season – for me, anyway – is watching Romney try to distance himself from the ideas he used to become an effective leader in Massachusetts, the same way John McCain catered to the extreme conservative wing of the Republican party during the ‘08 general election.
Both Romney and McCain held positions and employed ideas that - for lack of a better term - were pretty awesome. They were holdovers from an era where Republicans could be pro-business but, at the same time, not bow down to the nastier, more narrow-minded elements of the conservative wing.
Then we have Obama.
I voted for the guy both in the Democratic primary and the ‘08 general election because he sounded like a new FDR.
A lot of us Obama voters naively believed that Obama would take real measures to fix our economy, like trying to lure manufacturing jobs back and stop poisonous Wall Street activities, like derivatives trading, even while Obama pocketed huge campaign donations from business titans profiting off of America’s collective debt.
In truth, Obama has done very little of that.
He’s been a middle-of-the-road centrist, dare I say a conservative Democrat.
Not quite the guy who, in the Democratic primary, admitted that he would prefer a single-payer healthcare system in America.
So, this fall, we’ll choose between Obama or Romney, two guys who are so similar in their politics that they might as well belong to the same party.
For voters actually paying attention to our political system, it’s pretty scary.
We’re supposed to be a democratic society yet election after election we vote for two almost-identical parties to the point where small policy disagreements are framed as “socialism” or “class warfare” by the angry fringe.
Meanwhile, America all but ignores candidates who introduce new ideas to the table. Ralph Nader was either ignored or vilified, especially by the left.
Conservatives like to dismiss Ron Paul as a whack job.
Yet through the last two decades Nader and Paul were some of the only politicians out there who actually attempted to be different.
Sometimes, Americans seem to be allergic to new ideas.
It’s like: “Hey, Ron Paul just said America should end the Drug War. Tell him to shut up!”
“Remember Ralph Nader, the guy who wanted to get corporate influence out of our elections? What a flag-burning hippie!”
If you’re going to be angry, be angry about America’s habit of ignoring fresh ideas.
Just don’t pretend that Romney and Obama are polar opposites.
They aren’t, even if they would like you to think so.
Obama isn’t going to take away your guns and raise a Soviet flag over Washington.
Romney isn’t going to gut the federal government and force public schools to teach creationism.
So calm down. ••
“Riverward Rants” reflects the opinions of Joe Quigley, a Fishtown resident, area native and writer of the Web site PhillyNeighbor.com, where he makes cynical (and uncensored) comments about life in the riverwards. He can be reached at JQuig1984@gmail.com.