Change! Itís Everywhere! Itís Everywhere!
As a new year is dawning, many issues and perspectives are drawing near in our political arena. We have a “change” coming on our national front – but we must remember that our state representatives will be meeting in the near future and may be offering us “change” as well.
In both cases, one overriding issue is at the heart of it all – the economy. Will we see real cutbacks, actual legislation to curb spending, (not just scare tactic about cutting needed services), and, heaven forbid, fewer employees?
During our last special session, we saw a 20% increase in our sales tax. Times seemed good and the public swallowed this abomination. In fact, some are touting this move as prescience – that our governor was wise enough to see that we needed more money in the coffers.
The funny thing about that perspective is that the cuts made were pretty much paper tigers. No real savings were made by ending unnecessary programs or rolling back social spending. These savings amounted to leaving jobs vacant that were empty for many months or years. That is not savings; that is charlatanism.
Our new president-elect is already beginning to back step on many promises. This is actually wise, but may not play well to his constituencies. Plans for immediate withdrawal from Iraq now look to be lengthened out. Plans for “sharing the wealth” may have to wait. Appointments to major cabinet positions look to depend on the ‘old guard’ in the Democratic Party.
Many political wonks are imploring the public to stay the course; funny how these terms have a habit of making the rounds. The president-elect is telling us that while many of his choices seem to reflect the positions of the past, it is Barack Obama himself who represents “change,” and hence it will occur under his direction. This may well be true. But, one must remember that those in power for many years tend to gravitate towards the old ways.
Another interesting aspect of this sea change in power is the standard protestations. This was best summed up by a nationally syndicated writer, Pat Buchanan. In short, he stated that when Republican’s win, they are reprimanded to make sure they include the opposition in their proposals, but when Democrats win, we are told to all come together under the new direction.
Many articles and letters to the editor have focused on reprimanding the Republicans to give President-elect Obama time to institute his new programs. We are told to give him the time to show how this “change” will improve our nation. In short, we are told to keep quiet and go along with the plan.
What is rather comical about these declarations is two factors: 1.) Virtually all Republicans have accepted that we have a new president and he is our president; and 2.) When Democrats heard plans from previous Republican presidents that did not meet their standard, they were quick to point out their issues and rally against the proposals. That is one of the beauties of America. All are free to voice their opinion or opposition to legislation. We have and should embrace that right! In short, do not go along with a poor plan just to be bipartisan or to get good press reviews.
The same goes for plans coming out of Annapolis. If some new legislation is being proposed which has the trappings of making Republicans look “mean spirited,” it is incumbent upon us to stand up and articulate why these plans are wrong.
For instance, we have been funding CASA de Maryland, (Central American Solidarity Association – you will have a hard time finding that on their own website) which is a front organization for illegal immigrants. When opposition arises about this, the first reaction is to label those people as racists. And, to a certain level, it works. Our representatives get concerned about bad press and some will quickly back away from these difficult issues.
This can no longer continue! We must stand up, voice our opinion, and articulate why we believe it to be true. This nation was founded by remarkable men who spent the time understanding why they believed what they did. Ronald Reagan lost a number of elections. Did he back away and lick his wounds? No. He studied, wrote, and went on radio and TV to continue articulating what he knew was right about this nation.
We are in a time when Republicans are marginalized. If we are honest with ourselves, much of that is well deserved. When we had a majority, we did not adhere to our principles. We spent like drunken sailors. And most importantly, we determined we would not be viewed as “mean spirited.” That is really where we fell down. Rather than spend the time to get our message out and articulate what our vision is, our representatives wanted to ensure a good relationship with the press.
Almost one year ago, I wrote a series on what it means to be a Republican (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3); and these principles have not changed. What has changed is the people promoting our party. Many have bought into the lie that we must abandon our underlying principles so we can win.
President-elect Obama won. Now, it seems, he must back step on many of his promises and visions. Is winning at all expense worth having to drop our Republican principles?
Unlike the new administration, we have a great opportunity to look outward. We need to promote those in our party who have consistently kept the mantle. But, we also need to look for those new faces – those few who are willing to step back from making a living and give us service. We need to be willing to put our time and money where our mouths are. Not just complain at the coffee shop, but actually step up and help promote.
But how do we find out who is up and coming, or what new laws are being proposed? This is a very real issue, but one which has less difficulty than in times past.
For instance, we have a writer here on TheTentacle.com (Delegate Rick Weldon) who regularly writes about upcoming legislation. We have a Central Committee who is working to change the status quo and get us information. We have a Republican Club that has gone through a painful but necessary change. Get on the email list and keep up with what is happening.
This will be a difficult year, but we cannot think in the short term. We are rebuilding and all of us need to be a part.