In case you haven’t figured it out by now politics is a passion of mine. But unlike some others, I don’t see it as a sport or hobby merely to be followed for it’s entertainment value. For me, politics is one of the most powerful tools that shapes the destiny of the body politic; whether it’s at the local, state, or federal level. What happens in the halls of our government will shape the future for our children and grandchildren just as what happened in the past has shaped our current reality. Politics therefore, is serious business.
It is in this vein then, that I believe the National Republican Party and an assortment of conservative pundits can learn a great lesson from former President Ronald Regan. In 1964 Mr. Reagan made a speech at the Republican National Convention which forever defined what true conservatism really is. It is one of the most exceptional speeches I have heard from start to finish, but one specific statement stands out to me above the rest. Mr. Reagan said:
“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”
Stop and ponder the statement for just a minute, then ask yourself if there’s any real significance in party names and affiliations. When we speak of left or right it is always in relation to the so-called “center”, yet any student of politics knows that being “center” really means you have no convictions you believe are worth fighting for. It is the consummate compromise position that leads down the road to nowhere. The problem with being right or left of center is in viewing oneself as such, so when it comes time to run a political campaign, both the left and right are trying to win over those in the center. This always leads to watered down principles and a platform of pandering.
In the case of the Republican party we have seen a shift toward the center since the days of Bush 41. Coming off the two terms of Reagan, Mr. Bush abandoned Reagan conservatism because he was not a true conservative. Bush was a compromiser whose political strategy was not to separate himself from his opponents through delineating clear ideological differences, but to offer a “Democrat Lite” alternative. The same strategy is still at work today in almost every area of government policy.
Take the health care debate for instance.
We all know what the liberal Democrat position is on health care. They believe our health care system is broken, too many people are uninsured, and a government takeover is the solution. What is the Republican response? Our health care system is broken, too many people are uninsured, and government assistance is the solution. The only difference between what the Democrats are offering and what the Republicans would offer if they had the chance, is the speed at which we would experience a complete government takeover of the health care system. But make no mistake, as long as the debate is framed as Republican vs. Democrat we will eventually arrive at a full government takeover.
I agree with Ronald Reagan that there is no left or right, because there really is no center. The debate is one of up or down; up or down on the principle of individual liberty and freedom. The fact is, you are either for it or against it with no middle ground. You cannot be for partial liberty, for partial liberty is no liberty at all. Instead, is it government permission for certain “approved behaviors under certain circumstances and government prohibition of everything else.
It is high time conservatives and patriots stop viewing politicians through the lens of party affiliation. Rather, we need to start viewing them through the lens of liberty. In other words, do they have a verifiable track record of defending individual liberty? Do their speeches, policy positions, past decisions, and personal lives demonstrate they believe in and will protect liberty? If so, we ought to support them in every way humanly possible. If not, we should be pouring that same energy and passion into securing their defeat.
What good does it do in my home state of N.Y. to put a Republican on the ballot in the 23rd Confessional district, if that candidate has a proven ultra-liberal track record? Her party affiliation means nothing! Yet night after night I hear the pundits questioning Sarah Palin and other conservatives because they have abandoned the Republican candidate in favor of the Conservative one. My friends, listen to Ronald Reagan! It’s not about left or right, Democrat or Republican; it’s not even about liberal or conservative.
IT IS ABOUT FREEDOM VS. TYRANNY!!!!
As far as I’m concerned it is time to throw the Republican party over board unless they can prove to us that they are dedicated to individual liberty and freedom. I have no more patience for “Democrat Lite”. I have no more patience for the stupidity that clings to the RINO party under the false assumption that third-party candidates are losers. Abraham Lincoln was a third-party candidate who was elected because people believed in his message. Ronald Reagan still would have won two landslide elections as a third-party candidate because people believed in his message.
The message of individual liberty and freedom, if spoken with passion and conviction, will always win the day in any political debate. Freedom is born in the heart and soul of men as evidenced by the universal yearning to be free. It is an ideal and message the main political parties stopped talking about generations ago. It is the Reagan ideal and message.
Never forget…..it is also the ideal and message of the common man.
American Experience | The Presidents | Ronald Reagan | PBS – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/40_reagan/psources/ps_choose64.html