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December 6, 2012

Hitching Up Republican Britches

Patricia A. Kelly

Even before the recent election, the Republican Party was in need of reform. Out of touch with the reality of even the conservative American population, the party had come to be seen as the home of successful white men and their families, and an unfair supporter of big business.


This group never did represent the American population, now less than ever.


The Tea Party, ultra conservative, added conservative Christianity to the perceived platform, taking Republicans even further from the mainstream. We owe them thanks for their stand for personal responsibility, their reminder of the heavy price of big government, and their example of citizen activism.


Egypt, under the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who is moving to make Sharia law the basis of Egyptian society, gives us a perfect example of the potential outcome of attempting to place one’s religious views into law.


The courageous Egyptian revolutionaries remain in Tahrir Square because their personal freedom is threatened. If conservative Christians wish to be free to practice their religion here, they should remain very aware of the rights of those who do not share their views, rather than attempting to impose their view of Christian morality on our society.


A turn to the right, in this sense, is definitely not the answer for America, nor for the Republican Party. Those conservative, fundamentalist Christians, who didn’t vote for Gov. Mitt Romney, and those who interjected their personal morality into the campaigns, actually voted for President Barack Obama.


Why is abortion a campaign issue anyway? Abortion has been declared legal by our Supreme Court. It is the law of the land. It would take a referendum to change it, if the people so choose. In the meantime, any candidate’s personal views on the subject are irrelevant to his role in government.


The only possible campaign consideration is health care reimbursement. If a medical treatment is legal, no purveyor of insurance benefits should have the right to control what medical choices their employees make. It does not violate the Roman Catholic religion for one of their employees to use insurance to pay for birth control or abortion. They shouldn’t even know!


Social conservatives, white Christians, black Baptists, brown Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, et al, should be free to practice their religions in this country, which was founded by immigrants fleeing religious persecution.


The core Republican constituency, if it’s white people, may be shrinking; but the number of people who value personal freedom, financial opportunity, religious freedom, and societal equality, is not. More of them would vote Republican, if the party stuck to a mission of creating a fair, workable, limited government inclusive to all Americans.


Here are some ideas for an improved Republican Party platform.


·       Accept the existence of globalism. With instant communications and rapid travel, there is no avoiding it. At the same time, remove tax benefits for overseas business activities, including establishment of overseas corporate headquarters. Require quality and safety standards consistent with American values for imported products. Give preference in government purchasing to American manufactured products. American made condoms for our GI’s, please!


·       Consider changing marriage for all Americans to a civil contract, followed by religious marriage for those who so choose. This is the European model, and could use our present Clerk of the Circuit Court system. Although the recently passed Maryland bill states that religion involvement in gay marriage would not be required, government related grants, etc. could be withheld from churches that don’t participate. Gay people could and should marry without risk to religious freedom.


·       Stand for humanitarian immigration reform. Consider developing, with other countries, expatriate worker programs, and offering expatriate worker status to present illegal immigrant. Allow these people to get into line for citizenship, giving preference to people who contribute, who are learning English, and who are attempting to integrate into our society. Encourage future workers, while in line for citizenship, to keep their families at home, providing for and visiting them, just like our deployed military. Many illegal immigrants plan to return home when they have earned enough. Allow and encourage that.


·       Consider changing the law that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States, to eliminate citizenship for children of foreign nationals.


·       For those children born or brought here illegally more than five years ago, a clear path to citizenship should be allowed, without allowing sponsorship of their expatriate worker parents.


·       Lastly, reduce benefits for our political leaders. Reduce pensions to the level of other government workers. Require participation in Social Security and Medicare, rather than the present special programs. Remove excessive personal benefits, while providing salaries adequate to allow people other than the wealthy to run for office.


It’s time for the Republican Party to hitch up its’ britches and move forward. More elections are coming.


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