What is a Republican? Like so many questions being asked on so many different topics, it seems to be a fair question. What core principles must you ascribe to, to be allowed to join the ranks of those who identify themselves as Republicans and what should we expect of you? If and when you have been elected to represent the people and those who ascribe to what we believe, what should we expect your position on critical issues to be and where should we expect you to be using all the passion, energy and influence to be evident?
Watching “Republican” politicians in the legislature and having attended the recent state convention, I think it’s a fair question. In this culture we seem to have to accept, respect and support what someone declares they “identify” as. What does it mean to “identify” as a Republican? How do you qualify to come under the “big tent” that has been used to describe the Republican party?
Big tents typically don’t have walls, they have curtains with an opening leading to aisles, access to the stands to watch the show. They cover a big crowd. You will likely have to have a ticket having paid for it or given to you by someone. That’s about it. At last week’s election, one had to choose Democrat or Republican to be given a ballot. Some came into the polling place where I was working identifying as Independent and then chose one party or the other, typically Republican. It seems that someone seeking office can just as easily choose to identify as a Republican. Those of us engaged and active in party politics are then pressed to help them be elected. We too often don’t know what they are really able and willing to do until after they take their place in the legislature and are pressed to vote on the legislation placed before them. “You don’t need to know what’s in the bill until we pass it…”
Some days I feel like we are engaged in a tug of war. There’s a great gulf fixed between us and the opposition. Too often we celebrate when the flag simply moves more to our side of the gulf. After all, we have to be pragmatic and compromise. We can’t expect to really win. Innocent babies still die…. At the same time, there seem to be many “on our side” who are not pulling in opposition to our opponent, be more off to the side, even eighty-nine degrees off the direction that would result in a win.
So I ask again, “What is a Republican?”
- Roger Sutton