I think one of the biggest problems I have with the current version of the Republican party, and it's more vehement adherents, is it's extremism. I consider myself (and in fact registered as) a Libertarian. Had Ron Paul stayed in the race and grown solidly in the polls, I might have considered giving him my support, even though I disagree completely with his anti-abortion stance. I am not a one-issue voter, but sometimes certain issues do carry more weight with me than others.
I agree with the rights of gun ownership. But I think Sarah Palin's idea of "hunting" is an insult to nature. I hunt, but I do it with a deep spiritual respect for the animal I take, and I use ALL of that animal... for food, for fur, for sinew, for hides, etc. I also feel we need to preserve our right to keep and bear arms in order to protect ourselves and our society against all aggressors, both the criminal kind, and the police kind, because mark my words, and police organizations who wish to divest Americans of their guns have only one reason to do so: the hope that they can enact martial law against a populace who cannot resist. It's happened before, and WILL happen again, if we're not careful and vigilant.
I have no problem with vouchers for paying tuition at the school of a parent's choice. I'm not sure where I stand on the idea of public schools competing with one another for bettering their students' performance. That can be a slippery slope, as it can become less about the students and more about the adminstration's goals of "look how great we're doing" instead of "look how well our students are doing."
I don't like the abuse of the welfare system, such as those who have more and more children in order to get more and more welfare money, while not properly raising those children. We see this, at least in Southern California, mostly on the part of poor Latinos, and to a certain degree with the large Armenian population in Glendale, and some of the Vietnamese immigrants around the southland, many of whom continue to fall back on the Catholic tenet of "Birth control is a sin" and "God wants us to have as many children as possible," or many of whom simply don't care to practice responsibility in reproduction when by all that is logical, this is wrong-headed thinking today. We see poor, uneducated white and Black folks doing the same thing, so it's not just one group. Maybe back when we were primarily agrarian it was acceptable, but not now. And when we see so many of these poor people, as well as certain others, instilling unsound cultural and social values into their children, while at the same time allowing those children to fall into the trap of "you're entitled to have whatever you want, and you're special just because you're you," we shouldn't be surprised when we have a gang and crime problem that has swept our nation. That is something that a more conservative societal approach might be able to stop. Unfortunately, many Democrats are too frightened by the idea of appearing "politically incorrect" to be willing to face these facts and realize that they have allowed the idea of "entitlement" and "automatic respect" to go too far.
But for some reason, many social conservatives don't stop at that. Many feel that discrimination against the basic human rights of others who are not like them is acceptable. The abortion issue and the Gay rights issues we are fighting about right now are the examples. I simply cannot see why any American could support the idea of denying Gay people all the same rights to marry, adopt children, live, and work, that all Americans are supposed to enjoy. Same with a woman's right to choose. I'm not a woman, so I think my ideas have NO place in their descision-making process. Do I like or approve of abortion? NOT always, but I feel it's best for me to err on the side of caution, and to me that caution means giving the woman the benefit of the doubt.
I believe in the death penalty in certain cases. The Polly Klass case? Kill the fucker! Same thing with the two guys who just set that homeless man in Downtown L.A. on fire and let him burn to death just for fun. Set THEM on fire, and let them die the same way. It's only fair, and maybe it would send a powerful message to others who might wish to do something like that.
The "war" on drugs? What a joke! Legalize marijuana, and be done with it. It's no more harmful than alcohol, and far less harmful than cigarettes. There are for more dangerous things we should be focussing on, like the rise (right here in our own Gay community) of crystal meth use. If I see one more guy in the spa asking me, "Hey, wanna party?" I think I'll scream!
Employers who fire employees for being Gay? Sue them until they're entire bank account is dry, then stick them in a trailer park where they belong. Same thing for those landlords who would evict their tenants for being Gay. If a state has laws on it's books that are harmful to Gays, or other minorities just because of who they are, remove ALL federal funding from those states until they get with the program.
My feeling is that I simply cannot respect the judgement or reasoning skills of any one, or any party, that continues to parade the views of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and Pat Robertson (all of whom I believe, after listening to them for years, to be among the most hateful, self-serving, and truly anti-American people ever to have been given the priviledge of speaking to a mass audience) in an effort to "inform" their party's base constituents.
So, there are pros and cons on both sides. However, I'll leave you with a last consideration. You can get a pretty good gauge of a person's attitude, and therefore his or her value to the greater society, by his or her interests.
Examples, strictly by generalized percentages:
Most NASCAR fans, all across the country, are Republicans. Like it or not, NASCAR racing is a destructive, non-educational pastime that honestly does NOTHING to seriously contribute to the greater society. It creates pollution, it misuses precious resources, and it wastes time with little to show for it when it's over. Same goes for WWF Wrestling and cage fighting. If you look at those "sports" you'll find the majority of their fans are Republicans.
Most people who attend art galleries, opera or theater, museums, or create works of art for others to enjoy and which (hopefully) enrich the world, are more often Democrats. It's no surprise that many of those people are also contributing patrons to colleges, civic organisations, and are active in other philanthropic activities. These are all acts and attitudes that are CONSTRUCTIVE.
It's no surprise that the majority of those who would ban books from libraries are Republicans, whereas many of those who donate books and money to libraries and art institutions, and museums, tend to be Democrats.
If you don't like what I'm saying, don't bother flaming me. Just look at the numbers. I think you'll see a very real correlation.
In short, there ARE good aspects to both sides. But, unfortunately, it's true, from my perspective, that the Republicans have allowed their party to become corrupted by those who have a more selfish attitude in terms of enforcing their narrow world view on the rest of society, when a more centrist view is needed. And if the Democrats aren't careful, they will soon find themselves in the same situation.