I’ll be quick with what is essentially a rant. But it’s a rant that I’ve often thought about over the years, so I think I can state my case concisely and leave the building before drama occurs. But I would love to have answers from Republicans as to why they are Republicans. I realize you’re not likely to answer when I compare your brand to smoking, but here goes…
I can understand why my dad took up smoking in the ’60s. Much less information was known about the health risks, everyone seemed to be doing it (including the Flintstones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZvHiiWFbBU), and he worked night watch on an air force base. It was generally accepted that smoking was a good way to pass the time. I can also understand why he voted Republican in those years. But as time passed and the public found out unsavory things about both, I’m frankly bemused why young people continually go for cigarettes and the down-the-line Republican ballot. At least a cigarette is “supposed” to earn a person cool points, so what excuse do Republicans have?
Silliness aside, I’ve never understood what Republicans stand for. I’ve listened to candidate speeches and I’ve asked Republican friends, but I never see a platform. Instead, I see a belief system that is contradictory at its core.
- They want to cut down the welfare state, yet support policies that necessitate it grows larger (e.g. defunding education, refusing to allow those who need abortions to do so).
- They want a smaller government and more rights, yet they want to take away the most basic rights in a democratic society (e.g. infringing on LGBT rights, a woman’s rights over her body, creating barriers so people can’t vote).
- They want fiscal responsibility, yet support economic and foreign policies that are proven failures and led to the economic crisis.
- And to kick it all off, Reagan was a horrible president. Sure, he had his good points. But for Republicans to hold up a guy who created a large income inequality gap and narrowly escaped jail for his Iran-Contra dealings, conservatives must be desperate.
As far as I can figure, the last good Republican president was Eisenhower. Most Republican presidents have been of two sorts: utterly forgettable or plain bad. McKinley or Ford, anyone? Any Faux News anchors championing Herbert Hoover? (Because I could see that.) And before anyone claims Lincoln for the Republicans (“the first one, even!” they’ll squeal), it should be pointed out that Lincoln’s policies made him the Father of the modern Democratic movement. Here’s a Lincoln quote for you: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.” God damn, modern-day Republicans would call that socialism!
In short, the whole conservative message seems, by its very nature, to be on the losing side of history. Gay rights are and should be a thing, get over your objections. Quit ignoring social rights issues, because you represent a society by your actions and your policies. I want nothing more than to see a strong Republican party. The country needs two parties to balance each other out. That’s constitutionally important, and boy do modern conservatives love to cherry-pick the Constitution. The point is that, for anything to be done, the Republican party needs to be more than a bunch of people hoping for a Democratic president to fail. That is not politics. So Republicans, when you say you’re going to work on your brand so that it appeals to Hispanics, African-Americans, the LGBT community, young people, and women (c’mon, it’s not that hard to talk to women, guys), I want to see you actually engage. Don’t just apply a conservatively patterned wallpaper over your message. I’ll listen to a Republican platform wholeheartedly if you, for once, give me one that speaks to me. I’m very interested in who your candidate will be in 2016. It sure as hell will never be Ted Cruz, Chris Christie is really falling apart on promises to his own gubernatorial constituents so don’t hand that off to the country, and Paul Ryan doesn’t hold much favor in your own party anymore. So let’s see a candidate worth listening to. Fingers crossed.