Many who read my columns are shocked to learn I was a Republican. At least twice a week, I hear from a new reader who wants to know how I did I tolerate being a Republican for over four decades? I can tell the party of the person asking the question by the inquiry delivery. The Democrats want to know how someone as “liberal” as me could tolerate the GOP.
Of course, the answer is the Neo-Conservatives of which I was and to this day am proud to say I am a Neocon are not the wild-eyed haters of minorities, the old, government, and foreigners. We recognize there is a role in our lives for the government that is positive and beneficial.
Our gripe is when bureaucracies overlap and have dual jurisdiction over policy implementation. That is government bloat, and Neocons do not want to waste tax dollars. In today’s politics, the only place for a Neocon, the so-called Rockefeller Republicans is in the Democratic Party. There is not much difference between a Neocon and a Bill Clinton Democrat.
I have hundreds of photos of myself with politicians. Appropriately on the left of this page is my very favorite photo of me with a President. I was still a Republican in 1999, the year this photo was taken. I was having grave doubts about the GOP.
Al Gore was preparing to run for President. I liked Vice-President Gore. Our kids played soccer in the same leagues, and I would see him at soccer matches. He is a loving father, and I will not forget how he sat at his son’s side for nearly a year as the child recovered from being hit by a car. His family came first.
Family Values, that is the first pillar of Republicanism that is gone and not coming back. Family values became a dog-whistle to hate the LGBT community and to oppose gay marriage. I remember the day it meant “issue relating to the sanctity of existing families.” Tipper Gore was a proponent of the definition before it was hijacked to hate those with sexual tastes that do not comply with Christian Fundamentalism when she pushed for warning labels on certain music.
Family values could be tax policy that strengthened the family. It was a catch-all for issues the family unit faces in day-to-day living.
What family values would not tolerate adultery, nor would they excuse the sexual harassment of women. Those who believed in fidelity, and honoring one’s marriage vows would not rally behind a sexual predator like Donald Trump.
Respect for law and order is a vanishing GOP value. Law and order used to be a GOP litmus test. That day is gone. Look at the rants against the greatest law enforcement agency in the world; the FBI rolls through the GOP like an avalanche. The only time we see support for Law and Order from the Republican Party is when the police shoot or kill a person of color.
The GOP used to believe in civil rights. Republicans now eagerly recall how Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves when he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. President Eisenhower sent the 82nd Airborne Division to desegregate Little Rock, Arkansas schools and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960; which was the first law to address racial inequality since the Reconstruction.
Replacing the Republican goal of creating an equal society is the movement to embrace White Nationalism and racial intolerance. “There are good people on both sides,” is the Presidential response to a White Supremacist using his car as a battering ram against those protesting against them, and murdering one protester. Ultra-Nationalism has replaced conservatism in the GOP. Hatred of people because of their national origin is a new GOP value.
The GOP has abandoned fiscal conservatism. When I was a young man and joined the Republican Party, Democrats used to come up with new ideas, and the GOP would say, “stop a moment, how are we going to pay for that?” There was a balance, and the nation prospered. That changed in the Reagan years, and I was part of that adverse change.
The GOP has thrown away any semblance of fiscal responsibility. In more irony, the Democrats are now the party of keeping an eye on the national pocketbook. Democrat Bill Clinton was the man in charge the last time we had a surplus. George Bush blew the surplus, Barack Obama significantly reduced the deficit, and now Donald Trump has given us staggering deficits. Donald Trump is the freest-spending President in my lifetime, and I been alive during thirteen different Administrations.
The cause of the GOP abandoning all its values is because of the way the party now runs itself. Policy agendas no longer are set by the deep thinking conservatives. Republican policy is handed to the party by the very wealthy; then Fox News tells the public what to think, and the Preachers tell the faithful voting Republican is the Christian thing to do. That brings me to the last value for today.
The GOP is trying to create an American Taliban. They must do this and control the Ministers who are playing the role of the Mullahs in the Islamic Republics who use theocracy as a model. Vice-President Mike Pence praises a man as vile as Joe Arpaio and then blesses it all in Jesus’ Name. I guess the parable of the good Samaritan is not in Pence’s Bible. Joe Arpaio is a bigot, and a bully, and the antithesis of anything someone who claims to be following the teachings of Christ should embrace.
Those are the values that left the GOP, but they are still alive in those of us who have principles even of the Republican Party lacks them.
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