Watching the presidential nominating process play out in social media has been fascinating, to say the least. Supporters of major candidates are more vocal and caustic than perhaps at any point in recent history. I’m a registered Democrat, but my own affiliation is probably not particularly important here. What is relevant is that I have as many friends that lean right as I do left. The upshot is I see and hear rhetoric and platitudes being hurled from both sides. One of the more widely held beliefs (at least from my liberal friends), is that Democrats tend to be more socially conscious than Republicans. Since I know a lot about my friends, particularly the kind of people they are and how they spend their spare time, I began to wonder if my liberal friends’ perceptions about social consciousness mirror reality. With that in mind, I decided it was worth a little effort to find out who does what when it comes to volunteering and giving to charitable causes.
Some of my suspicions were substantiated by a nationally representative VeraQuest survey of 3,750 Americans, which we conducted between April 14 and April 17, 2016. According to the survey, those who identified themselves as Republicans or Conservatives are actually significantly more likely than those who identified themselves as Democrats or Liberal to donate clothing to a charity (55% vs 49%), donate money to a charity (47% vs 40%) or volunteer for charitable organization (20% vs 17%). On the flip-side Democrats or Liberals are more likely to help the homeless. Twenty-four percent (24%) of Democrats or Liberals have given money to the homeless versus 17% of Republican or Conservatives, while 18% of Democrats or Liberals have given food the homeless versus 14% versus Republicans or Conservatives.
It’s easy to feel morally superior by belonging to a group known for their beliefs and then espousing their values. But as my wife says, actions matter more than words. So to my friends who occupy the superior moral ground on the left, I would say: “Speak less, do more.“