I am a conservative Republican, but I’m not who you think I am.
I didn’t grow up in a heated political climate. I began to research politics on my own in high school with the encouragement of a friend. I found that the Republican Party believed in the decision of the individual, and that the government’s over-regulation was hampering each individual’s potential.
To that end, I also believe in the true definition of conservatism, which is limited government and the least government interference possible in an individual’s life. I also felt that the Republican Party was strong when it came to national defense, something close to my heart due to living through Sept. 11. Last, I preferred the party’s laissez-faire policies when it comes to the economy.
This research coincided with the 2004 presidential race between George W. Bush and John Kerry. Bush’s win gave me a shove into the party, and I proudly registered as a Republican the moment I turned 18.
What I didn’t know at that time was that I was supposed to be a sexist, racist, anti-equal rights warmonger and a holier-than-thou Bible thumper. I only pull out these accusations because it is what those in and out of my party have accused me of, which makes me very uneasy. I have increasingly seen these stereotypes grow right before my eyes.
As a young man today, I look back on what the GOP has become, and I am frustrated at the accusations hurled at my party. I have increasingly seen these stereotypes grow right before my eyes. It’s time for Republicans, especially the next generation, to take our party back from societal misconceptions and promote our true conservative roots.
So, without a convincing or candid rebuttal emerging from leaders in society, I’ll refute these stereotypes myself.
The conservative Republican I’m not
First, I am not a sexist or a racist. I believe in equal opportunity for every individual. I understand that the road is harder for some, but have not all races and sexes proven that they have their own prerogatives?
Examples surround us, like President Barack Obama, former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, Gov. Susanna Martinez (New Mexico) and Bobby Jindal (Louisiana). Each were at a sociocultural disadvantage due to being either female, a minority race or growing up through a rather chilling childhood, yet they still clawed their ways to executive positions (with some still aspiring).
Anybody can pull him or herself up by his or her own bootstraps; it has been proven.
Next, I am not in the least bit against equal rights. I believe that you deserve to be treated equally under the law no matter your gender, race, creed or sexual orientation. I apply the true definition of conservatism here. I do not want to push my personal beliefs on you. We are all equal under the law. A person is a person, and a right is a right.
(On a side note, I want to add that I also completely support women and women’s health, but I am pro-life and currently question the funding of Planned Parenthood. I want all women to have access to the medication and tests they need. I am pro-life because pregnancies involve two lives at minimum, but I also understand the hard choices that often come with pregnancy. Yet, abortion has become more than a health measure. It has become birth control. Abortion on demand corrodes the character of our great nation. As for Planned Parenthood, I know it offers many health services to women and men, but, with the current debate over selling fetal tissue, the entity needs defunding due to a gross oversight. I don’t believe it should be gone forever, but its services need to be re-evaluated and equated without moral obstructions.)
“‘I realized I am not a Republican anymore’” by Patrick Murnan
Third, I hate war. I hate war just as much as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I’ll sing “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “If I Had a Hammer” with you all day, yet I understand we live in a fallen world. We can all agree on that amidst our various beliefs. Unfortunately, war is necessary in this world.
It seems that often the United States is characterized as the antagonist, but, throughout history, nearly every country has acted as an antagonist at some point. This is the way of the world, and, sadly, war is one of the currencies of the world. We can prevent violence by not jumping the gun and using only concrete intelligence, but would we rather have proactive security or climb over dead bodies with reactive security?
Last, I am not going to push my religion on you, but I am a Christian. I don’t want to live by words alone, but I don’t want to pelt you with Bibles, either. I just want you to see the truth in my religion through my example, and, if you would like to hear about my faith, I will gladly tell you. There is truth in all religions, and I’d love to hear about yours as well.
A new-generation conservative Republican
This commentary in no way points out every societal stereotype cast upon the Republican party, and I don’t claim to be a voice for the next generation (although I have witnessed beliefs and actions similar to mine coming from young conservative Republicans). My beliefs are not in line with the established party, nor are they in line with mainstream perceptions. Rather, the vast majority of Republicans are open-minded people who see ideas and knowledge, not sex and race.
The Republican Party the mainstream defines is not the party I know, but not all of the accusations are unfounded. Don’t let the vocal minority of the elected define the majority of the Republican citizenry. There is a current and new generation of conservative Republicans coming up to combat these accusations and once again show the true spirit of conservatism.
I am proud to be a conservative Republican who believes every person is equal, that each American has a right to health screenings, that the protection of our citizens comes first, and that no one should be penalized or ridiculed for the choice of their religion or choices they make in their life, yet I am aware of our faults, real and perceived.
Still, I refuse to watch idly as society’s prevailing beliefs define who I am politically, and I am confident that there are new waves of Republicans who feel the same.
I believe the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher summarizes the Republican party best. She said, “There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families.” Republicans just want to see these individuals and families flourish without government restriction and regulation. We believe in every American.