26 August 2009

Musings of a Political Mind

"... I just flew in from Chicago, and boy are my arms tired!" (Bah-boom! Clash!) Dumb joke? Yes. But I did get back just last night from Chicago after flying out for the weekend to see my relatives and celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. A good long post with photos is yet to come on that one when I get the pics put on this computer. So to pass the time, I figured another politically-motivated blog post is in order. See, over the past few weeks, I've kind of been rehashing my ideological beliefs, not so much because what I believe is changing, but rather because I don't feel like my party truly represents my interests anymore. I've had long conversations about the misconceptions that the GOP is giving off, and I've lately been questioning the usefulness of the grassroots underground that the Republican Machine concocted. It really started when I was out having coffee with my friend Ryan (a liberally-minded Democratic Party operative) one evening not long ago and we got into the discussion about why he doesn't like the Republican Party. (I'll admit, this was more me egging him on about it than a real discussion at first, but it turned into a good eye-opener.) You see, Ryan is rather brilliant, especially when it comes to public relations, marketing, and messaging. So his opinions typically hold a lot of common sense thinking and a frank, this-is-how-it-is type of tone. "The Republican Party just doesn't seem to care," Ryan tells me. While the Democrats are busy putting pen to paper and trying to solve the world's perceived problems - healthcare, the pursuit of a greener environment, betterment of all mankind, etc - the Republicans are the party of "No." It's too much reform, it's too fast, it's change. We grappled with words for a bit, with me trying to persuade him that Republicans DO care. We want clean water, we want good schools, we don't like war, we want people to be healthy... but as a party, we DO believe that Democrats are moving too fast. The Pelosi Congress pushes bills onto the floor for a vote so rapidly that no one has time to read them and analyze their consequences. The Speaker closes some important bills, so that they may not be amended, and she shuts down the hall during recess when Republicans want more debate to continue. I started to wonder, though, as I was blithely spouting talking points (mind you: logically organized, well-thought-out, supported-by-facts talking points), do Republicans as a party really care right now? I mean, of course individually each of us does desire only the best, and I think that every person regardless of label would give of him- or herself if the situation presented itself to measurably help change someone's life for the better. But as a collective group... a whole... does the Republican Party care? It's one thing to say "we want more intelligent reform" on healthcare (or for those Freedom's Phoenix people to "Just Say No!"), but how do we tackle the problem of a flawed and failing healthcare system (or any other public issue) while simulatneously not seeming staunchly against all reforms on it? How do we silence the Uber-right wing libertarian and Christian coalition factions of the party in favor of leadership with the drive and the passion to work to come up with a bill that's actually going to do more good than harm, and who can articulate that to the average person? 'Cause I have to tell you, Ryan had it right on when he told me that he believes the Republican Party drives people away in bunches when they have to listen to the Ron Paul nuts and the small-yet-loud Jesus Freaks as the faces and voices of our ranks. I know I usually start considering switching to Independent when I hear phrases like "if it ain't in the Constitution, you can't do it." In my opinion, the Republican Party needs to show people why they care. I know somewhere (please?!) there's got to be a few Republicans who have a plan for reforming the healthcare industry intelligently, or who have a common-sense solution to illegal immigration. Maybe even a job creation or debt reduction idea which doesn't include spending more money than any other presidential administration and racking up more debt than all other presidents combined (if his administration were to keep spending at these levels for the remainder of an average presidential 8-year term). Where are those plans? Why aren't they being handed out to legislative districts, talked about at College Republican meetings, and hashed over at town halls? Why aren't state and local GOP leaders hosting referendums on common sense solutions? We have the grassroots out there, and people recognize good ideas when they see them. Does the Republican Party care? I hope so. But right now, it's a testament to Republican failures and shortcomings that the politicos of this country have only faith and hope to keep them loyal to the Grand Old Party.

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