Sunday, September 07, 2008

Letter to Republican America

On Thursday I published a scathing rant in response to my growing frustration with this nation's politics, particularly those in the conservative Republican camp. It was promptly taken down after some heart-felt discussion about exactly what I was trying to accomplish and what unintended consequences could come from it. So let's try this another way...

Dear Republican America,
All this recent RNC hoopla with Sarah Palin and the realization that the Republican ticket is unabashedly buoying the ultra conservative right scares the crap out of me.

I realize the United States was initially settled by religious extremists (the Puritans) and that the founding fathers moved to create laws that protect religious worship. But I'm just amazed that in 2008, despite all we've been through, despite our stature in the world, by our actions and deeds and leadership we are regressing into conservative Christian territory. Us. America. Land of the Free. Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? We seem to be allowing our diverse, melting-pot-of-a-country to be steered into a less tolerant direction that plays on people's fears and distrust of others not like us.

What I learned about Republicanism in school does not necessarily match what it is today. As I recall, it was the party that supported less governmental interference, individual success, fiscal responsibility, state's rights and lower taxes. And yes, it leaned to conservative social values but I don't remember it being so fused with religious evangelicals.

The RNC galvanized behind Sarah Palin mostly because of her social conservatism, her Obama bashing skills and lesser qualifications (let's face it--she's pretty and younger). I know there are smart people in the Republican party and that just because you are a Republican doesn't mean you subscribe to all of what's said. But how can smart Republicans still be party to a group that is so obviously being commandeered by the conservative Christian movement? Weren't Republicans the ones who didn't want government so involved in your life?

We have an energy problem, foreign policy issues, massive debt, growing inequity of class/education/health care access. Now why wouldn't you want the smartest, most educated & eloquent person running this nation as opposed to the most dogmatic? I find it really confusing when instead of tackling the big problems, Republicans get really excited about making an amendment to ban gay marriage. Comparatively, that just seems like the least of this country's "problems".

But with the polls running Obama & McCain almost 50/50 now, I can only conclude that we are truly at a crossroads. And one more thing, with two or three Supreme Court justices due to retire in the next few years, this next President will set the tone for how law is interpreted for the next generation. With these being lifetime appointments, you really want a balance on the court and lest we forget, we just got two new conservative justices. A President is for 4 years but a Justice is for their lifetime. Keep that in mind as you vote this November too.


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