Because the United States of America operates on a two-party system, with a few minor exceptions, we often tend to think of our political choices in extremes. You are for us or against us; Red or Blue; Us or Them. However, even in the realm of ‘us,’ there are very important nuances to consider. Take for example the myriad of shades of the Republican Party.
Republicans have held majorities in the past, and they have not always acted according to the stated principles of the Republican Party, or the values that most Republicans hold in high esteem. At times, Republican politicians have played the political game for their own sake, rather than for the sake of their constituency, and their Constitutional role. Granted, Democrats are far better at using the government as a tool for their power grab, but the Republican Party has its own interests at heart. That means that whenever the party’s needs conflict with the needs of the citizens, the citizens cannot count on the Republican Party to serve them first. There are donors, elections, and power plays to think of first. “If we just cross the isle on this one issue, we can play to the base next time.”
That is where the nuance of conservatism comes in. We have all heard the term RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), and that description is accurate for a good number of Republican leaders currently in Washington D.C. For the past decade, the Republican Party has pushed the idea that the “mainstream” is the future of the party. We must all move our values and ideas to the center of the political spectrum in order to be more inclusive. By becoming more inclusive, the Republican Party would pick up more seats and we would all be happy, right? Yet, this push toward the middle has stifled the conservative roots of the party and led the party to crushing defeat in 2008.
The present day Republican Party seems very confident that it will pick up a good number of seats in the national and even local elections this coming November. This is good. Very good. However, American citizens tend to have short attention spans, and victory in the elections is only the beginning of the hard work ahead.
Thomas Jefferson once said in a letter to Jean Nicholas Demeunier:
What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment . . . inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose.
We must be careful to elect true conservative candidates that act with honor and integrity. Otherwise, we will end up with a Republican majority that acts in its own interest, the same way that the Democrats are currently serving their party’s power-hungry goals ahead of the American people. We do not want a party that “plays to its base.” We want elected officials who believe so firmly in the Constitution and the rights of American citizens that they refuse to politick against them. We want representatives who are unafraid to state their belief in God, and the unalienable rights that He has granted us. We want leaders who identify themselves as business leaders, family men, people of faith; not career politicians. We do not want “Change.” We want a Restoration.
With the rise of the tea parties and the new watchdog spirit that is flooding America, we have the chance to bring conservative values back to the forefront of the political stage. People are standing up against government that doesn’t represent their values, or their rights. This is the time to demand that our elected officials hold true to their morals and values. These values are not just Republican Party platitudes. We do not need a platform from our leaders, we need principles.
The November elections look promising for the Republican Party, but we must keep in mind that the elections are only the beginning. We cannot tire out and go back to life as usual on November 3rd. We must stay vigilant and protect our heritage of liberty.
We must demand that elected officials act with honor and integrity. No longer should winning an election be seen as a mandate for a particular politician’s brand of snake oil. Trust in our leaders should not come because they made a promise to be good, but because they consistently act with honesty and respect for the values and rights of the people. It seems impossible to escape identity politics in today’s political climate. So let’s make sure that we are identifying with something worthwhile. This election cycle is not about choosing the man or woman with an ‘R’ next to their name. It is not enough to choose the ‘Good Guy.’ It is about electing people who will help us restore liberty in our nation and act with integrity and selflessness so that we may walk forward as a nation with honor.
There is too much at stake to be complacent in our pursuit of liberty. No other nation recognizes the inherent rights of man like the United States. Yet, the citizens of the United States are losing freedom daily under a government that cares more for self aggrandizement than for human dignity. The cost of that loss is too much to pay. We cannot just have a Republican victory in November; we must have a conservative victory. As Ronald Reagan said in his City upon a Hill speech “We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.”
**Katherine Goldberg is a Texas native who came back to the great state after 18 years away. She knows her history, and loves to talk politics. Her goal is to help others understand their own citizenship and the history of the United States so that we can all better defend this country from the kind of change that is taking us away from our founding principles. She also writes for The Sugar Land Magazine. To read more of her writing, visit www.mindfulcitizen.blogspot.com.