21 Jan
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A Proposal for the Future of the GOP

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. Our cause is new so we must think and act anew.”
Abraham Lincoln

What a joy it was to watch the newly elected 112th Congress convene with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and a severely diminished Democratic majority in the Senate. Our celebration is no doubt tempered by the knowledge that the American electorate is fickle and that our success at the ballot box in 2010 in no way ensures our future electoral success. How, then, can we as a Party build on our 2010 success and work toward becoming Americas’ majority party for the 21st Century? To achieve this goal, I believe that we must invoke the legacy of our Party and remind ourselves why we are Republicans and the qualities embedded in our basic philosophy and approach to America that can best address the profound issues facing our nation today.

For me, the legacy of our Party is revealed by examining the lives and philosophies of my three heroes…Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

Abraham Lincoln provided Republicans with the moral underpinnings of our political philosophy. He once said that “Republicans are for both the man and the dollar but, in case of conflict, the man before the dollar.” We must rededicate ourselves to this proposition. We must re-embrace the notion that ours is a party that, as Lincoln told us, knows “mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice.” Lincoln showed us that all Americans are entitled to the basic freedoms and dignities of life, and that race, ethnicity and any other characteristic over which the individual has no control have no place in evaluating the worth of an individual but rather that, as Teddy Roosevelt counseled, a person’s “heart and soul…determine his standing.”

We must reaffirm these concepts and apply them to the challenges facing contemporary America. As a young man, I consistently applauded the GOP’s embrace of a non-judgmental, limited government in the economic realm. But I have been consistently perplexed by how our Party can champion limited government in economics while at the same time assert that government should actively promote a specific agenda on so-called moral issues such as homosexuality. As the science becomes clearer and clearer that homosexuality is biologically predetermined as opposed to chose then, as a Party, we must broaden our prospective to understand that if God intentionally created homosexuals, then to condemn homosexuals is to condemn that which God created. And to condemn God’s creation is to sin against God. Further, as someone who has personally felt the terrible pain of family rejection and scorn as a result of being gay, I can assure every reader that neither I nor any other rational human being would ever choose such a path. The pain, isolation and despondency that I and so many others have faced could never be a fate that anyone would purposely choose for themselves.

If we are to be the Party of the future we must, as Lincoln urged, act “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right….to care for him who shall have borne the battle…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.” I understand that there are many aspects of the stereotypical gay lifestyle that make many people (including me, believe it or not) uncomfortable. That’s OK. However, if we are to continue to prosper as a Party we must accept the differences among us and conduct ourselves in public with respect and consideration for all. We must also understand that the behavior of consenting adults in the privacy of their homes is not for government to judge or impede. This is the true lesson of Lincoln and the logical extension of the concept of limited government so eloquently championed by the great Ronald Reagan.

At the same time, if we are to succeed as a Party, we must appreciate that Lincoln was correct when he said that “important principles may, and must, be inflexible.” Foremost among these principles must be the protection and preservation of life. In addition, we must champion personal responsibility. As a father of two young children, the notion of abortion is beyond comprehension for me. As a Party, we must work to instill in our nation a deep and unshakable commitment to life and to the notion that if a person is mature enough to engage in acts which lead to pregnancy, then he and/or she must act with a sense of personal responsibility to themselves and to the unborn child. Our lives and our bodies are the Almighty’s greatest gifts to us. When we do damage to either, whether it be through abortion or suicide, I believe that we commit the most heinous of sins directly against God. As a Party, we stand on unshakable moral footing when we consistently adopt this position. We must do everything in our power to reduce to zero the number of abortions in this country. Yet, we must also recognize that the Almighty has endowed each of us with free will and some among us will inevitably use that free will to sin against God by having an abortion or attempting suicide. In such instance, we are best served as a Party and as a people if we allow God to impose the punishment for these sins. Rather than pursue the earthly punishment of the sinner, we should strive to use every resource available to foster the notion that life is sacred and to take our cue from the Lord by offering our help to those who are struggling with such choices. As President Reagan told us, “we are never defeated unless we give up on God.”

Teddy Roosevelt enhanced America’s sense of destiny and instilled in us the notion that we are responsible not only for ourselves but also for future generations. “Our duty to the whole, including [to] the unborn generations…[must]…restrain an unprincipled present day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations.” Too many modern American are driven solely by greed, selfishness and a perpetual search for instant gratification. Our celebrity-obsessed culture rewards and celebrates excessive consumption and wastefulness. Our Party must aspire to refocus the nation away from “me” and again towards “we.”

TR also enlightened us that, as a Party, we must champion conservation. To that end, we must encourage the development of clean and renewable fuels. To do so will not only improve the prospects of future generations but could very well spur a new American economic boon. If America can pioneer the technological discovery of new and better energy sources, we will see improvements in our productivity and financial health that will benefit us in ways exponentially more substantive than occurred in the 1990’s when we led the world in information technology advancements.

Finally, our Party was so blessed to have Ronald Reagan as its leader. From President Reagan we learned that “government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” President Reagan taught us to be consistently wary of government intrusion into our lives. I believe that our Party must now apply that lesson to every aspect of modern life, not just those grounded in the economy.

Following Reagan’s inspiration, we believe in limited government and low taxes. We believe that America must be strong in the face of foreign adversaries and that the future is bright with boundless possibilities so long as we remain true to our core principles of individual responsibility and limited government with low taxes. President Reagan said it best: “Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the Democrats believe every day is April 15.”

As a Party, we know in our hearts that, as Reagan taught us: “man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.”

May our Party prosper and may we exemplify our country’s “last best hope” to create a just and moral nation where all are treated with fairness and dignity.

DISCLAIMER: This post and the contents thereof are the views of only the author identified immediately above and do not necessarily represent the views of the New York Young Republican Club (the "NYYRC"), its officers or its members. The NYYRC expressly disclaims responsibility for the contents thereof and by its charter documents may not, and does not, endorse any candidate for any office, except in a general election.

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