In the February 2014 edition of newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and Men, I wrote a message entitled 'Why Be a Republican?' It is a theme that comes up again and again as I make the rounds of various conservative groups, Tea Party organizations, party central committees, Liberty Caucuses, Republican Women Federated clubs and informal and unaffiliated social encounters. Almost everyone acknowledges that the status quo with Leftist Democrats dominating City Hall, Sacramento, and Washington D.C. (including our corrupt and unaccountable administrative agencies) is a disaster, yet there is a remarkable lack of unity around the alternative.
"I'm not a Republican, I'm a Conservative", "I'm not a Republican, I'm a Constitutionalist", "Those Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats", I hear every day. And we can all point to one or more failings of the official party at the county, state or national level as well as those of individual prominent Republican politicians. Anyone want to re-elect the Governator to save the planet again?
(Incidentally, Dawn Wildman, a prominent California Tea Party leader, recently pointed out at a meeting of the San Fernando Valley Patriots that the term 'Constitutional Conservative Republican' would have been considered redundant not too long ago. 'Republican' ought to mean implicitly and unambiguously, constitutional conservative. But I digress.)
This disappointment and disaffection is understandable. But it does not excuse honorable citizens from getting involved and seeking ways to find common cause with people with similar if not identical concerns and viewpoints. 'Republican' is not some eternal, fixed, abstract, self-animating entity that exists and acts unconnected to the people who volunteer their time, talent and treasure to make it work. 'Republican' is simply the common center of all of the diverse individuals and groups that stand in opposition to the political Left in America today.
If you are not a Democrat; if you believe in low taxes, light regulation, private property rights and Constitutional separation of powers; if you don't believe in the redistribution of wealth or the concentration of government power over our personal lives; if you don't believe that courts should legislate sweeping social policies; if you believe that America is exceptional in the world and in history and that the good of the world requires America to project confident leadership, including military power; if you believe in Liberty without privilege or prejudice with regard to race, ethnicity or birth; if you think that scientific inquiry should be free of political coercion and blackmailing, and that the debate on something as complex as the earth's climate over the course of decades can never be pre-emptively declared to be 'over'; if you believe that America is a Judeo-Christian nation; if you believe that the free market, capitalism, personal responsibility and economic growth are the best means of coping with the challenges of poverty, inequality and environmental stewardship; if you believe that life begins at conception; if you are not a disingenuous socialist, Progressive or Keynesian; if you agree with the majority of the above -- then you are a Republican.
Acknowledging that you are a Republican leads to understanding that the party of that name depends on your involvement and participation to make it more aligned with your particular concerns, values, issues and principles.
At SCRW&M, we strive to keep you informed, entertained, educated and engaged. But this is only the beginning. Your Assembly district central committee needs you. Republican candidates for office need volunteers to walk precincts and make phone calls. We will succeed in pulling our society back from the cliff that the liberals and progressives are driving us over precisely in proportion to our own engagement. And remember, whatever your opinion or even disappointment may be with "those"Republicans, realize that in the end there is no "them"; there is only us, right here, me and YOU. That's how it works.