We’re finally hearing rumblings of the Republican party coming to it’s senses. Senators and Representatives are calling for at least sounding like we’re listening. Republican strategists are suggesting a new face for the party and a better “ground game.” Needless to say we wouldn’t even be having this discussion with out having lost not only the Presidential race, but seats in the House and Senate as well.
It seems to me while these tactics are good ones it would be easier if Republicans worked back to some more of their historical ideals. The idea of a republic of concerned citizens, the idea of a fair and even playing surface, the concept of protecting each citizen’s right to pursue happiness. Instead we’ve been dragged off course by all sorts of other interests. Religious groups, Business groups and a myriad of small groups with their own agendas. Trying to encapsulate all of these diverse attitudes has strained the party to the breaking point.
Fighting the anti-global warming battle has made us the anti-science party. Fighting the anti-abortion battle has us now as the party against women’s rights. Fighting the anti-regulation battle has us as the “Rich and Wall Street” party. Fighting the anti-tax battle has us as the anti-government party. Worst of all, all the legislative blocking we’ve been at for the last four years has us billed as the party of no.
And where has this gotten us? Out of the White House and on the losing side of the negotiating table. Out of the hearts and minds of what used to be “mainstream” Republicans and into the laughingstock section. It’s just too much, and most of what we’re railing against should not be core party policy. It’s been glued on the party platform to appeal to voters, but they aren’t voting our way anymore. A great deal of one-time Republicans are now voting for Democratic candidates. It’s no wonder, forced to adopt all sorts of “far out there” policies our candidates are sounding a lot more like fanatics than potential lawmakers. A “new face” isn’t going to fix that, we need a more concentrated platform of Republican ideals.
The original basic ideals of the Republican party are attractive to voters. Why are we fighting gay rights, do we want government in our bedrooms? Why are we fighting abortion rights and on women’s healthcare issues, what Republican wants laws between them and their doctor? Some decisions are deeply personal, and we have a right to make them on our own, at least that’s what Republicans used to think. If some company is severely affecting a citizen’s health and property values, why would a Republican defend them? Even an entire industry should be coming under fire from the party that puts each citizen’s home and hearth first. If we need to make substantive changes to protect ourselves from the effects of climate change, why are Republicans not on the forefront of apportioning out the bill? We used to be a party of fiscal responsibility, big bills are coming why aren’t we planning?
How come we keep getting stuck with the “rich man’s party” tag? Most Republican voters are not “rich,” not even close. It used to be that Republicans realized that most of the money in the country comes from the non-rich. These are the people who buy products and services every day, who drive businesses, work the regular jobs, the people who are the real wealth of our country. However since we’ve let some elements in the party stack the deck, over a good long time, the “wealth of the America” is not keeping pace. They are buying less, saving less and losing their will to succeed. Sooner or later everyone figures out the game is rigged, and they show it by giving up or protesting, but mostly by voting. Can we get out of the “dead end” game? Fiery words and immutable principals are not cutting it anymore. It’s time to focus on the core of our beliefs, and skip the “oh yeah, and don’t forget to add…..”
Sometimes you just say no, that’s not part of what being a Republican stands for. It’s alright not to govern by Christian, Muslim or Farsi principals. You can hold them dear in your own heart without forcing everyone else to adhere. It’s ok for each citizen to make bad decisions. It’s hard, but that’s how everyone learns. It’s even ok for a judgement against a toy manufacturer, car maker or fast food vendor to be made by a jury of the injured’s peers. That’s the basis of the American justice system, we like that remember?
It’s time to get back to what “would-be” Republicans really need, not what they’d all like. We’ve spent enough time making sure the big can get bigger, it’s time to make sure the small can get bigger as well. That may slow bigger, richer people and companies down, but it’s fair, and part and parcel of being a true Republic. It seems that we’ve gone down a long trail of standing up for big business and left the little citizen behind. More and more of our efforts seem directed at bulwarking special interests rather than promoting free and even enterprise. The sooner we get off the support big interests train and back to supporting the individual citizens, the sooner we get back to earning people’s trust.
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2012