I’ve been watching the news lately, especially the political name-calling that seems to happen on a daily basis and I’ve been wondering: What does it mean anymore to be a Republican? The question should be easy to answer, but I find it utterly impossible to put into a few words.
I grew up in a small community in Central Pennsylvania dominated by Republican beliefs. You believed in honor, service, country. You believed in something bigger. You believed in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
A few simple guiderails
Most people described themselves as fiscal conservatives, but regularly reached out to help neighbors going through tough times. To be Republican meant to support lower taxes, free markets, deregulation, and a strong military. Yea, they believed in the right to bear arms and held their Christian values close to their heart, but they weren’t spouting them in your face to draw you into a fight. Republicans stood for abortion restrictions like they do now, but there was still room for everyone in the tent, to talk about laws that made sense, that weren’t pushed down people’s throats.
The term “Republican in Name Only” came about because folks in places like mine didn’t take too kindly to politicians who didn’t represent their beliefs. It was for politicians who got elected railing against new taxes, but voted right away for new taxes. All that’s changed. It’s used now to take potshots at politicians like Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, former Attorney General Bill Barr, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
How dare you disagree with me?
Now, I’m no Liz Cheney fan. I didn’t care for how her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, funded the war in the Middle East for his own personal gain, but, when you look at her record, depending on which conservative think tank you espouse, she’s voted for Republican causes at some of the highest percentages in the House. In fact, from 2017-2021, Cheney voted in line with Trump more than 92 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker.
Despite being a tried and true conservative, she’s now a marked woman, a RINO with a target on her back, simply because she had the impertinence to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the January 6 riot at the Capitol after he falsely claimed the election was rigged.
If it’s not the traditional beliefs that Cheney has supported, then what do Republican’s stand for. The short answer is: Trump. I yearn for when Republicans had a platform, but even after his loss and ouster, Republican’s still stand for Trump and Trump alone.
Are you my mother?
When Republicans put the “politics of personality” over a platform, I don’t’ see where I fit. I feel like the baby bird in P.D. Eastman’s book, “Are You My Mother,” who hatches while his mother is away and goes to look for her, asking an assortment of animals if they are his mother, but none of them are. When he’s at his absolute lowest, he finally gets reunited with his mother. The difference between the two of us: I don’t expect to fit in anymore with Republicans.
In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever find a home. I look at the Democrats, I try to fit in, but there’s still too many them who ask for an inch, but instead take a mile. (Can you say Nancy Pelosi. Ugh.) Democrats used to be the party of the working family, but they’ve lost their voice too.
A horrible future coming our way
So, while I like that President Biden has brought some semblance of decorum to the presidency and generally cares about others, he’s not siding with Vladimir Putin because it will help his pocketbook (i.e. Russian debt.) But, I’m still not crazy about his politics.
As we get closer and closer to the next election, as Trump talks more and more about getting “revenge” instead of bringing people together, I get worried. I’m left with two choices that I abhor and no party to represent me, no future leaders that put country before party politics. Do we not have any leaders anymore?
Yes, I’m left looking for someone and a party that looks like me. I’m not seeing it.