We the People: The Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- For years, the country has been divided between liberals and conservatives and what their values mean to each side.

Let's break down some of the differences between the two, and why they're so important to both sides

All the way back in 1797, in his farewell address to the nation after his presidency, George Washington warned that political parties should not be the system that determines who runs our country.

However, political parties have been a part of our political landscape ever since.

So while we are at the current juncture in the political spectrum, what are the differences between the two? Both parties have several messages, with a differing core value. Skyler Johnston of Greene County Democrats says that liberals believe if everyone can benefit, why shouldn't the government take action to make that possible?

"A rising tide raises all boats. We do better when we all do better," Johnston said.

While conservatives tend to think slightly differently, as described by Eric Burlison, with Conservatives for America.

"Your rights, freedoms, who you are, your purpose, liberty and purpose in life is given to you by your maker, by your God, and government's role is really limited," Burlison said.

The viewpoint of how those in Washington are involved varies greatly. Liberals would prefer more involvement when it comes to helping the American people, while conservatives operate off of a different belief.

"Government oversight is always a good thing," Johnston said.

"Government's role is to get out of the way and become alongside individuals and encourage them to be charitable," Burlison said.

Individualism has grown to be key in a conservative's mindset.

"The highest goal is to allow people to do what is in their best interest and make certain there's not government entity taking away your authority to have the life and dreams and aspirations that you have," Burlison said.

The primary thought being, if you can make your own success, find a way to do so, and reap the rewards of it. But that's not to say those less fortunate should be forgotten about. The conservative line of thought is looking after one another is what makes the country great.

"I look back at the time when our nation was the greatest, is the time when people looked to their neighbors instead of looking to government," Burlison said.
 Compare that to a liberal mindset, which would look to the likes of former Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone

"Any kind of unchecked power is going to lead to some damaging effects," Johnston said.

If government steps in to regulate costs to help some with the basic cost of living, that's viewed as a step in the right direction.

"Our biggest issue is jobs," Johnston said. "Rebuilding the economy and the middle class. We need affordable health care. A broken arm shouldn't ruin one's life. There are a lot of instances in which a car wreck can put someone in bankruptcy."
As we move forward as a nation, it doesn't appear that President Washington's advice will be heeded. both parties are going to carry on in their own ways to make the United States better.
"Republicans and Democrats want the same things, but differ greatly on how it happens," Johnston said. "We don't feel that our success has to come at the expense of someone else. We can all benefit from American society."
"I believe those with a conservative perspective have a mind for the poor," Burlison said. "It's easy to have a heart for the poor, but it's tough to have a mind for poverty."

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