Since this past year opened serious debates and divisions between Republicans and Democrats, as the Civil War did with North versus South, family versus family, friends versus friends, ideologies and philosophies were and are diametrically opposed to each other. Now, eight months since the presidential election with emotions still raging, it seemed a good idea to delve into the meanings of both parties, how they came to be, and why the contempt between the two.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Republican as an adjective, such as someone who lives in and supports a republic like Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Nepal and more.
As a noun, Republican denotes “a person from Northern Ireland who believes that Northern Ireland should be part of the Republic of Ireland rather than the United Kingdom.”
Used in a sentence, “it is a small but well organized republican movement working quietly to overthrow the military dictatorship.” This is funny because the Republican Party is anything but quiet.
The word Republican was first used in 1646, along with such words as cheddar (dare I say a bit cheesy?), freemason and coup d’état.
The Republican Party, on its official website, points out that the Grand Old Party – while certainly the accepted meaning for GOP, for many years – is not the original meaning, or even the only one.
The Republican National Committee says the acronym dates to 1875, at which time it meant “Gallant Old Party.” And in the early days of the automobile, it gained another popular, although ultimately fleeting, translation: “Get Out and Push” – the treatment early cars often needed.
Stalwarts of both Republican and Democratic party campaigns would, of course, tell you that “Get Out and Push” is the proper attitude when it comes to motivating voters. Another hahaha.
Basically, the Republican Party believes a smaller federal government is better for the people and should not interfere in people’s lives. The GOP says the nation’s strength comes from Americans, free enterprise, and supporting individual initiatives that can bring economic prosperity to the country.
While practicing fiscal responsibility, the government should allow people to keep the money they work for. Here we go again: hahaha. And, like Superman, stand for “Truth, Justice and the American way.”
On the other hand, Democrats believe in the political or social equality of all people and majority rule. There’s such a thing as the democrat wagon, which is “a high, lightweight, horse-drawn wagon, usually having two seats.” And, let’s not forget the mountain in central Colorado, in the Park Range of the Rocky Mountains, based on the RandomHouse Dictionary.
Going back to the beginning, in the late 1700s, Thomas Jefferson founded the Democrat-Republican party. Jefferson was a conservative and opposed a strong central government and the first known use of the word Democrat was in 1789. That year saw other new words like cuckoo clock, water ice, and dingo, as in it’s got my baby. It’s ok to chuckle.
Eventually, in the 1800s, the Democrat Republican party split and Andrew Jackson headed the Democratic party. Jackson believed in the strict interpretation of the U. S. Constitution and limited powers for the government.
Both parties used patronage to finance their operations. Nothing new there.
The Democratic Party advocated moving westward, “Manifest Destiny.” And, during the Civil War, it was the Southern Democrats that resisted ending slavery.
During the Great Depression of 1929, through to World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a slew of government programs to create jobs and pull the U.S. out of an economic depression.
Today, Democrats are referred to as “the Party of the People,” and believe that the federal government should take a more active role in people’s lives, particularly those who are in need. A bit different from the 1800s.
Somewhere along the way, the GOP despised term, “Liberal Democrat” sprung. (tsk-tsk.) Back to Merriam-Webster: “one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways.” It’s like La-La Land.
Democrats take a less conservative view when it comes to social programs. The Party is centered around the hope of equality in race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Democrats are concerned with the Antarctica’s ice shelf that recently broke away as a giant iceberg. Good thing the Titanic isn’t around. They call it climate change and would appropriate monies to improve the environment. Not so with the Republicancontrolled legislature.
Each party blames the other for what goes wrong. The big scare these days is healthcare. Sadly, we are a divided country. But, in the words of the late, great Rodney King, “Can we all just get along?”
Judy Brenna, a full-time Marco Island resident, is a retired executive in Public Relations and Investor Relations. Throughout her varied career, Judy was a reporter for a daily newspaper in New Jersey, Investor Relations Director and Corporate Communications Director in biotechnology, media, and broadcasting. She was a vice president with a financial communications agency in New York City and worked as press secretary in a number of New Jersey political campaigns including two gubernatorial, congressional, and for U. S. Senator Frank Lautenberg.