Out of touch. Old-fashioned. Disengaged. Elite. Selfish. These are words that have swirled around the Republican party, tossed out by those who believe that Republicans don’t care about the poor and disenfranchised in America.
This misperception is far from the truth. In fact, most Republicans care – very deeply- about helping the poor and providing opportunities for those Americans who cannot help themselves and need a chance to get out of the situation they’re in.
Here are a few stats to consider – and share – with anyone leery of the Republican party on this issue:
No, really! A recent demographic shows the average amount Americans donate in income and give to charity, and the Red states almost double the Blue, where areas like Memphis, Birmingham, Salt Lake City give more than 7% of their income to charity, and places like Boston, Providence and New York City give less than 3%.
During the town hall hosted by House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this year (where Trump conveniently didn’t show up), Republican frontrunners finally brought the issue of American poverty to the spotlight – striving to break the misconception that the party didn’t care about the poor. Following the town hall, Republicans were polled and 72% agreed that reducing poverty was either “very” or “extremely” important to them, and poverty was the third-biggest issue to them out of eleven issues presented.
While a majority of small business owners are more politically engaged than many Americans regardless of the side of the fence they fall on, this entrepreneurial group still leans to the Right. 39% of small business owners are affiliated with the Republican party, while 22% identify themselves as Democrats, and 29% as Independents (5% claimed the Republican-linked Tea Party and 3% said they were Libertarians). Here’s why this is important: These small business owners are the backbone of America, the ones who are creating jobs for our country. They’re the ones offering opportunities to the disenfranchised and providing training so they can leave the welfare pool that keeps them tied to governmental programs and helps them create a chance at a better life.
Columnist George Will found several striking metrics in his studies on this hot button issue, and discovered that though liberal families’ incomes are an average of 6% higher than conservatives, conservative-headed households give an average of 30% more to charity ($1,600 per year versus $1,227). Further, people who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” are more apt to give than those who support this idea. Lastly, conservatives were found to donate more of their time and give more blood than liberals.
According to an in-depth study done by the respected, non-government sector newspaper, The Philanthropy Journal, the current trend in the U.S. is that American conservatives who make $25,000 or less per year have increased their charitable giving an average of 16.6%, while those who make $400,000 or more have actually decreased their giving by 4.5%. Why would the gap be so tremendous, you may ask? Those who make less but give more identify more with the hardships that can hit: lost jobs, tragedies, natural disaster, etc. “Lower and middle-income people know people who lost their jobs or are homeless, and they worry that they themselves are a day away from losing their jobs. They’re very sensitive to the needs of other people and recognize that these years have been hard,” says Stacy Palmer, editor of The Philanthropy Chronicle.
As we move through this divisive election season -- and particularly as we move into the general election post-July -- keep some of these facts at the forefront of your mind when you are discussing the pros and cons of the political process with your neighbors. As Republicans, we believe that the best and longest lasting solutions to poverty and social justice issue are the ones that come from within, neighbor to neighbor. If we all do our part and stop relying on the government to help faceless, nameless "others", we can lift each other up to stability. Don't allow the left to "own" the message that we should all work together to help our communities flourish.
Help each other flourish.
Republicans believe in their fellow man. We believe in the ability of the private sector to create meaningful jobs, establish charities and produce common goods at affordable prices for all who need them. We believe in helping others get out of personal debt just as much as we believe in helping our country get out of debt: don't live beyond your means. We believe that life is sacred. All lives matter, no matter their color. We believe that we all have the same rights, but that what we do with them is up to us. We can choose to squander those lives, or we can choose to create something amazing.
Our government can't and should don't these things. It's our job.
It's a cliche, but true: a rising tide floats all boats.
(Information Sources: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/29/reminder-most-republicans-actually-do-care-about-the-poor/, https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/which-political-party-do-small-business-owners-identify-with-the-most/, http://downtrend.com/robertgehl/republicans-most-generous-people-in-the-world-democrats-not-so-much, http://www.ijreview.com/2015/03/276715-difference-liberals-conservatives-demonstrated-one-simple-powerful-story/)