Lewis: Apples and doughnuts | VailDaily.com

Lewis: Apples and doughnuts

I know, I know — the idiom is supposed to be apples and oranges, but even that comparison seems too similar for this situation. As I watched the State of the Union last week, I finally understood why it is so hard to compare the Republican and Democrat platforms. 

Essentially, they are fighting two different battles — it’s like trying to compare apples and doughnuts. Our two-party system no longer is a comparison of liberal and conservative positions, it is about two sides living in different worlds, fighting different enemies.

For Democrats, the battle has remained fairly consistent with a platform built around job creation, better-paying jobs, more governance of companies, and new taxes on the rich. Republicans, however, have shifted from the fiscal fight to a focus on a culture war with the enemy being generically labeled the woke mob.

This pivot has been manifesting itself for a long time. It started with Ronald Reagan, whose victory in 1980 was due, at least in part, to his support from two-thirds of white evangelical voters and a movement started by Rev. Jerry Falwell known as the Moral Majority.  Donald Trump, however, took the culture war to a whole new level and that focus remains today.

Just look at the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, Ron DeSantis. This guy is the poster child for the movement. In his recent inauguration address, he proclaimed “Florida — where woke goes to die.” Can’t be clearer than that.

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I am concerned about the Biden administration’s approach to job creation, specifically, that is creating more jobs than we have people to fill them, thereby forcing the Fed to take even more dramatic steps to control inflation and, in the end, crashing the economy to a greater degree than necessary. Given my concerns, I wanted to hear the Republican response. Do they have a better plan for the economy?

Listening to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s response to the State of the Union made me feel like I had arrived on some alternate dystopian planet. She talked about how there are only the “normal” and “crazy” parties now (although she didn’t clarify which side she was on). Most of the speech seemed to just ramble on with irrelevant anecdotes. She claimed the government is controlling too much of our lives and, in the same breath, said, as governor, she just signed executive orders banning things like Critical Race Theory. She missed the irony completely.

My favorite quote was “Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols.” What? OK, be honest. How many of you have been forced to salute a flag or worship false idols? Is this just a problem in Arkansas?

Sanders states that “our freedoms are under attack” and I would agree that it is true, but the attack appears to be coming from those like DeSantis and Sanders. DeSantis’s latest target is a drag show sponsored by the Orlando Philharmonic. While drag shows aren’t my thing, I fail to understand how my freedoms are somehow threatened. If you don’t like it, don’t go. I drive by all denominations of churches every day; I don’t feel forced to go in and I don’t feel that my freedom is threatened.

DeSantis has even gone to the extreme of trying to punish Disney for speaking out against his “Don’t Say Gay” bill. I thought freedom of speech and opinion was a fundamental right — I guess not in Florida. Somehow actions like this get contorted into standing up for freedom but using government resources to punish those who disagree with you is the opposite of freedom — it is oppression.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the Republican stance on these cultural issues, one fact seems clear. Republicans need to understand that these cultural issues are not the only thing on Americans’ minds. I know I care a lot more about inflation, the budget deficit, immigration, and mass shootings than I do about regulating drag shows.

While I remain concerned that the Democrats’ job plan is too aggressive — creating more jobs than we have workers, as best I can tell, there is no Republican plan. I can only hope that sensible Republicans will return to Earth soon and help to solve the real problems we have in America.

Mark Lewis, a Colorado native, had a long career in technology, including serving as the CEO of several tech companies. He retired from technology last year and is now writing thriller novels. Mark and his wife, Lisa, and their two Australian Shepherds — Kismet and Cowboy, reside in Edwards.

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