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It is said that politics is war without bloodshed. That may sound morbid, but few in the know would disagree that politics is not for the faint at heart, especially in Meriden.

There are some elected officials that are in it for the betterment of our city; however, the few that aren’t can overwhelm otherwise good public servants. Then there are those who genuinely believe they are doing good, but apply policies that have proven bad, time and time again.

More damaging is the third type, the ones with political ambition, who will say anything and do anything just to stay in power. On a number of occasions, I have been asked why I’m a Republican (presumably because Meriden is such a Democratic city, so is the state). My answer usually centers on defining the fundamental differences between the two political philosophies, but today I think sharing an often repeated story might be best.

Recently, while I was working in the front yard, my neighbors stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog. During our friendly conversation, I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said she wanted to be president someday. With her parents standing there I asked her, “If you were president what would be the first thing you would do?” She replied, ”I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.”

Both of her parents, Democrat Party members, were beaming with pride! “Wow … what a worthy goal!” I said. “But you don’t have to wait until you’re president to do that!” “What do you mean?” she replied. So I told her, “You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim my hedge, and I’ll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.”

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eyes and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?” I said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.”

The above exemplifies a contrast between the two major political parties and their fundamental beliefs. This isn’t to say Republicans don’t think there are truly homeless people who simply are not able to care for themselves, of course there are. Not to mention it’s human nature to want to help those less fortunate.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats (or if you prefer, conservatives and liberals) is striking. In one, we are encouraged to reach our highest potential and that we have it within ourselves to do so; something called self-reliance (teach someone to fish). In the other, we are encouraged to seek help in order to reach our potential and we are not capable of achieving success without reliance on others, mainly some government entity (give someone a fish). Which one are you?

Yet another difference between the two parties: one has reverence for the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; the Constitution that clearly differentiates the powers given to the three distinct but equal branches of government; that clearly states the founding fathers’ belief that in order for man to be free, government must be limited, and any authority not enumerated to the federal government must stay with the people (the States).The other party believes these documents are just words written by some old men long ago and have no relevance to today, or are subject to interpretation; that we the people only have the rights because of a benevolent government; that we are not born with inalienable rights.

Which one are you?

The party contrast is also evident in immigration,but here I find that many average Democrats disagree with the party leadership. The Democrat establishment believes in open borders, opening wide the doors to our country for essentially anyone to come in at any time, whether legal or not.

This is dangerous for our nation, as it compromises the bedrock of our democracy: a citizenry that respects our laws and voluntarily complies. We are now in a culture of lawlessness where people just don’t want to follow rules or the law. Further, what does it say to someone who enters the United States illegally, when the very first action they take is in itself unlawful.

At least one Meriden city councilor has been trying to promote Meriden as a “sanctuary city,” where “undocumented migrants” can feel safe from deportation and can have easy access to taxpayer funded services. In the last eight years, under President Obama, even the words “illegal alien” were wiped from our vocabulary, desensitizing us to unlawfulness.

Manny Santos is a former Meriden mayor.

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