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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Cindy A. Rose |


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June 7, 2012

Winning the Public Relations War

Patricia A. Kelly

Republicans are obstructionists. Just ask the media if you don’t believe this. They want to impose their moral values on others.


In Congress, they simply say no, without providing solutions or considering compromise. They aren’t fair to immigrants, or caring to the less fortunate. They don’t even care whether illegal immigrant children get the American education they deserve. They don’t want the poor to get healthcare. Some of them think motorcycle riders who crash without helmets should pay for their own head injuries. It’s unimaginable that we elect any of them.


Republicans are losing the public relations war.


In 1960s journalism classes, the distinction between objective news stories and opinion writing was very strongly emphasized. It was unethical to slant a story based on the journalist’s opinion. Careful reading and listening will show that this distinction is no longer universal.


That said, and with liberal bias in the press presenting a mountain for political conservatives to climb, there are factions of the Republican Party that deserve some of the characterizations presented.


It’s not that these people are mean spirited or completely focused on their own gain, or evil in any way. They have simply not gotten that the world has changed, and that our society has evolved. No matter how much they want to put long skirts and bonnets back on, and return to the security of a society where the rules are the comforting rules, it ain’t gonna happen.


Change has come. There’s no going back. That’s a good thing.


Although political conservatism is often associated with social conservatism, the two are not irrevocably conjoined. Political conservatives, descended from immigrants seeking religious and personal freedom, need to move forward and re-embrace those same values.


Many personal and religious values associated with the founders of our country no longer predominate. We’ve given up segregation, and, hopefully racial, religious and gender intolerance.


What does remain relevant is the importance of creating – or re-creating – a society and a government system that allows people to live their own lives, unmolested, and practice their own beliefs.


Simple examples include free, legal religious practice. Ritual human sacrifice, for example, would not be allowed. People who believe in modesty and sexual privacy should be respected. It’s okay for them to just stay out of Las Vegas and the French Quarter of New Orleans, but both laws and considerate behavior should allow them to go to their own city park without being offended.


In the past, after women had taken to working outside the home, the soldiers came home from World War II. It was decided by our society that the returning men should have all the jobs, and women should return to the home.


At the same time, interestingly, styles changed from pants and short, slim skirts with little jackets to long, full skirted dresses with tiny waists, difficult to run or weld in. Valium was eventually required to make this work. It was known as mother’s little helper at the time, and it only worked its magic until birth control pills turned the world, yet again, on its ear.


Republicans should be out there embracing the modern world, with the Internet, instant communication, rapid travel and international understanding. At the same time, they should support a balanced budget, simplification of the tax code and a new version of states’ rights that involves federal standards regarding safety, transportation, education, legal marriage and more, but no unfunded mandates. Instant communication and travel require unity as a nation in more areas than at the beginning of our country.


Republicans should publicly embrace minorities. Most minority immigrants, not to mention most American Muslims and many, many people of color, actually share Republican values, but have been sold a bill of goods by liberals who tell them that Republicans are against them.


It’s time for Republicans to publicly embrace legal immigrants, people of all colors and religions, and people of diverse values and lifestyles, including socially conservative Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews. There’s room for everyone.


What is unrecognized now is that the theoretical Republican quest for small government needs to become a real quest. What is unrecognized now, at least in the public relations war, is how many values are shared between the Republican platform and most of the diverse people in our society.


Everyone wants to be rewarded for his efforts, as in keeping his own pay and using it as he pleases. Everyone wants to practice his own religion, make his own choices in medical care, live in a world where people take responsibility for their actions, and where taxes and regulations are fair and appropriate. Everyone wants the freedom to choose a life partner and create a family. No one wants to be controlled by others.


Many in our society have come to believe that the role of government is to take care of us and to solve every problem. People don’t know any different, even though this trend is less than one hundred years old. The alternative, personal freedom and responsibility in a safe environment protected by government, would actually appeal to many more, if not for the public relations war.


The Republican Party needs to get it – that most Americans share its core values, and become openly inclusive. Otherwise, they will lose both the public relations war, and the upcoming elections.


In that case, the United States of America, and its soul, will also be the loser.



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