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  1. Default To Be A Republican Means ...

    To Be A Republican Means ...

    It’s only been during the past few days that I paid enough attention around here to learn of Scribe’s very fine blog (his earlier and less elegant avatar aptly describes me on more occasions that I’m happy to admit) at http://scribeokc.blogspot.com/ and I’ve been perusing his fine internet presence this morning.

    In one or more places there, he describes his journey from being a Republican to becoming an Independent. That made me think about my own trek. I’m not a “political” person and I’m certain that I’ll not ever be ... I’ve never been drawn to that sort of thing. But, I do regularly vote and I do have quite a number of political opinions.

    Without boring you with my life story any more than necessary, I was reared during several of my younger years by my spunky spitfire maternal grandmother. She and several sibling had immigrated to Oklahoma (near Duncan) from Ohio before the turn of the century. Some eventually returned to Ohio, but several stayed, she being one, and she married and eventually moved to Clinton. Her husband died when I was 2 years of age or so, and the primary times that I lived with her were, off and on, from the time that I was 5 years old through the 4th grade, but not all that time, while my mom got on her feet financially following divorce. So, naturally, my grandmother was a larger influence on me than was my mom. I identified with her, and still do though she’s been dead for many years.

    Of the many things that she was, Grandmother was a Republican, as were most Ohioans in those days. And, therefore, so was I! She was fiercely independent personally but didn’t talk about politics much or at all, but she was quick to state her opinions about so-and-so being “a blowed up sucker” when she was so inclined. As I grew, I began to perceive the Republican party as the “Party of Lincoln”, the party that “freed the slaves”, and the party that stood firm for individual liberty and the individual liberties of all citizens and an avoidance of the interference of government into the private lives of the citizens. Of course, these were perspectives from a child’s - eye point of view.

    After my mom got on her feet, I resumed living with her, in Lawton. There, from 5th grade through high school, my Republican identity solidified, largely because if you were a Republican in Lawton in those days you were surely not well regarded. That fact merely entrenched my Republican identity. While attending OSU, my 1st presidential vote (and I’d do it again) was for Barry Goldwater.

    Over a considerable number of years after that, I remained a Republican, although becoming less comfortable with the attitudes of many that I was rubbing elbows with within the changing Republican Party. I almost changed parties when the Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature killed Oklahoma’s ratification of the equal rights amendment ... hey, aren’t Republicans supposed to be the party that stands for individual liberty? Increasingly, I instead found that Republicans were the ones more often than not that were telling me (and you) how we should live. Religion became the agenda, and not the part of religion that I liked very much.

    Something in me switched with the Murrah bombing in 1995. The next day, for whatever reason, I changed my registration ... the choices weren’t good ... Democrat (and be in the same party as Ted Kennedy? Not good!), Independent (and not be able to participate in primaries very well), Libertarian (and embracing the notion of limited government even more than I’d be comfortable with?). No good choices. All things considered, I registered as a Democrat even though, internally, I still see myself as a “Lincoln” Republican.

    So, getting back to what I read in Scribe’s blog, I wondered, “What do TODAY’S Republicans identify with ... the rights of the individual (ala the Bill of Rights, etc.) or the perspective of the “moral majority” that seems to me to know what is right not only for them but for everyone else?

    If any Republicans want to voice their views, I’d be interested to hear why present-day Republicans ARE Republicans ... your personal perspectives as to what it means “To Be A Republican Means ...”. You've just read my "essay". What's yours?

    The floor is now yours, if you want it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Doug,

    Great words for thought. I've also recently (within the last couple of years) begun to question why I have been a Republican.

    In short, I was raised in a Christian home. My parents were Democrats until Reagan. They don't vote much, and I doubt if they are even registered, but they were all of a sudden Republicans. We didn't talk about politics much and it wasn't until college that I started taking any interest. Most of the time it was over my head, but I still voted "my conciense".

    In short, I came to the conclusion that I had remained a Republican (I'm now an Independent also, like Scribe and others here) because I had believed a lie. I had bought into that unspoken "churchese" language during the 80s and 90s that if you were a Democrat, you were sinning because you wanted women to have abortions, etc. If you were a Republican, you were on God's side, because you were a Christian and you lived what the Bible said.

    What a load of crap, huh? I've become enlightened in the last few years, thanks to persistent friends and a God who speaks only truth even if He has to bonk me on the head a million times to have me "get it".

    I realized that being a Christian also meant that I am commanded to care for the poor, reach out to those that society rejects. I didn't see my Republican party doing that. I began to see that "my" party rejected the very ones that we as "Christians" were supposed to defend, support and uphold. I could no longer in my right mind stand with a party that has a holier-than-thou attitude while spouting the virtues of all they've "done".

    For about a year I went through a depression, a confusion and had no idea of my own identity anymore. That's sad, I know. I had bought into the label game. It has been a good experience, this disillusionment. I now know my identity has nothing to do with anything other than who I am. I am not defined by a political party or a church name. I am who I AM.

    Through this I also decided that at this time I cannot give my loyalties to one party or another. That's why I'm an Independent. It is unfortunate that our state system does not allow us to vote unless we're loyal to one party or another. I hope this gets changed soon. I am not holding my breath though, it is still too much of a good old boy system.

    Thanks for this thought-provoking question.

  3. #3

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    "I realized that being a Christian also meant that I am commanded to care for the poor, reach out to those that society rejects. I didn't see my Republican party doing that."

    Reading (and hearing) people say such a thing never fails to stun me. You've betrayed a fundamental lack of understanding of Conservative (and, more-or-less. Republican) philosophy.

    As a human being, and a generally priveleged member of this society, it is my obligation to provide for the underpriveleged and down-trodden, through my own charity work or the support of charitable organisations. However, I reject the idea that it is the responsibility of Government to do such things on my behalf.

    For example, the question is NOT:

    Should I help the poor?

    Rather, it is:

    Should Government help the poor?

    The conflict between these two questions is one of the fundamental differences between Liberals and Conservatives (but not neccesarily Republicans, as some Republicans do support Government involvement in such things).

    This brings me to one of the reasons for my journey from political ignoramus to political awakening and conservatism: the obfuscation of the Left. The Left learned much from the sixties, when much of middle-America was repelled by their morals, actions, and ideals. Today, they're (usually) much subtler, they frame arguments carefully: e.g. abortion isn't about the destruction of a human fetus, and whether or not that fetus is a human being: it's about personal freedom, "a woman's right to choose". Social Security Reform isn't about question of whether or not the Government should involuntarily take our money, spend it however they see fit, then provide worthless vouchers that "guarantee" us measly benefits that, by law, they are not required to provide: it's about George Bush and his rich Republican buddies not caring about old folks, and wanting an excuse to throw money at their Wall Street croneys. The question of providing for the poor and underpriveleged is framed the same way in a (generally) succesful attempt to mis-direct a public that is not politically astute. Much of the public responds sympathetically to the left's carefully framed arguments, just as I did 10 or 15 years ago: "Yeah, they're right, we should be helping the poor..." never suspecting that I'd been duped. When I awakened to the trickery (and the "incessant hyperbole" of the Left, which I've mentioned in another thread) I was convinced that the Left resorted to such things because of the weakness of their argument. I don't pretend that the Right is snowy-white and innocent of such methods, but the Left is chronically addicted to them.

    Frame the argument accurately and honestly, and then debate the issue.

  4. #4
    Didaskalos Guest

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Reading (and hearing) people say such a thing never fails to stun me. You've betrayed a fundamental lack of understanding of Conservative (and, more-or-less. Republican) philosophy.
    I was a conservative for many years. I understand the conservative philosophy very well. The question is not whether conservatism holds that aid for the needy should come by government involvement (clearly they believe no). The question is whether the conservative model is helping the poor. As I have studied poverty for more than a decade, first from a conservative perspective and then ultimately from a neutral one, I concluded that the conservative philosophy has done very little to assist the poor. This is the very thing I was commanded to do. As a Christian, I believe the responsibility falls on the church. I also believe the church has failed and is failing to address the issues of social injustice in America and more particularly around the world. As a Christian citizen (and therefore participant in the government), I must look at what the government can do and must do heeding the warnings of the OT prophets made to governments who showed little concern for the poor.

    As a human being, and a generally priveleged member of this society, it is my obligation to provide for the underpriveleged and down-trodden, through my own charity work or the support of charitable organisations. However, I reject the idea that it is the responsibility of Government to do such things on my behalf.
    If one believes they must be mutually exclusive, I would also have to reject the notion for the very fact that government assistance bypasses any pretense at ministry. However, they do not need to be mutually exclusive and my belief that government should be involved in social justice issues does not impact my desire to be charitable. My taxes are being taken and I will continue to express my voice about how they are used. I think our budget should express our priorities.

    For example, the question is NOT:

    Should I help the poor?

    Rather, it is:

    Should Government help the poor?
    There are other questions that seems to be missed by conservative Christians. Does government helping the poor help the poor? In the ways that it does help, why should this not continue or even be increased. How will the help they currently get be replaced once conservatives are successful at removing government assistance? Especially when Christian charity has proven to fall short even with government assistance.

    In the end, I am curious to know how conservative Christians will respond to their creator when they stand before him and explain that their political philosophy reduced assistance to the poorest in society. Most conservatives have no problem supporting a tax structure that spends over $400 billion a year on military defense (not including the current expenditure on the “just war” in Iraq) but fuss at $27 billion on food stamps, $17 billion on TANF, $17 billion on housing assistance, $8 billion on WIC, and $7 billion on head start.

    Will the response be when asked about the hungry and thirsty that a lot was spent on removing Saddam from power and conservative philosophy must continue to push for smaller federal government and less taxes? I thoroughly reject this as the priority.
    The conflict between these two questions is one of the fundamental differences between Liberals and Conservatives (but not neccesarily Republicans, as some Republicans do support Government involvement in such things).
    This is precisely the reason why I cannot connect with the economic principles of conservatives. For those Republicans who understand the significant role that government can play in assisting the poor and the needy, I will stand by their side (irregardless of the label they use) because my call is to aid the poor and I will do this by all effective means (at the risk of being labeled a liberal).

    I have recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Jim Wallis’ book – “God’s Politics”. I highly encourage Christians interested in politics read the book and consider his challenges. Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of his book. The question for Christians should be not whether their beliefs line up with Conservative or Liberal philosophy but rather whether they line up with Christ's teachings. Sadly, many Christians use scripture to find support for their political philosopy rather than using scripture to guide their political philosophy.
    Many of us feel that our faith has been stolen, and it's time to take it back.
    ...
    Of course, nobody can steal your personal faith; that's between you and God. The problem is in the political arena, where strident voices claim to represent Christians when they clearly don't speak for most of us. It's time to take back our faith in the public square, especially in a time when a more authentic social witness is desperately needed.

    The religious and political Right gets the public meaning of religion mostly wrong -- preferring to focus only on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the weightier matters of justice. And the secular Left doesn't seem to get the meaning and promise of faith for politics at all-mistakenly dismissing spirituality as irrelevant to social change. I actually happen to be conservative on issues of personal responsibility, the sacredness of human life, the reality of evil in our world, and the critical importance of individual character, parenting, and strong "family values." But the popular presentations of religion in our time (especially in the media) almost completely ignore the biblical vision of social justice and, even worse, dismiss such concerns as merely "left wing."
    ….
    It's time to reassert and reclaim the gospel faith -- especially in our public life. When we do, we discover that faith challenges the powers that be to do justice for the poor, instead of preaching a "prosperity gospel" and supporting politicians who further enrich the wealthy.

    The media like to say, "Oh, then you must be the religious Left?" No, not at all, and the very question is the problem. Just because a religious Right has fashioned itself for political power in one utterly predictable ideological guise does not mean that those who question this political seduction must be their opposite political counterpart. The best public contribution of religion is precisely not to be ideologically predictable or a loyal partisan. To always raise the moral issues of human rights, for example, will challenge both left and right-wing governments that put power above principles. Religious action is rooted in a much deeper place than "rights" -- that place being the image of God in every human being.
    Similarly, when the poor are defended on moral or religious grounds, it is certainly not "class warfare," as the rich often charge, but rather a direct response to the overwhelming focus on the poor in the Scriptures, which claim they are regularly neglected, exploited, and oppressed by wealthy elites, political rulers, and indifferent affluent populations. Those Scriptures don't simply endorse the social programs of the liberals or the conservatives, but they make it clear that poverty is indeed a religious issue, and the failure of political leaders to help uplift the poor will be judged a moral failing.

    Prophetic religion always presses the question of the common good. Indeed, the question, "Whatever became of the common good?" must be a constant religious refrain directed to political partisans whose relentless quest for power and wealth makes them forget the "commonwealth" again and again. That common good should always be constructed from the deepest wells of our personal and social responsibility and the absolute insistence to never separate the two.

    I am always amazed at the debate about poverty, with one side citing the need for changes in personal behaviors and the other for better social programs, as if the two were mutually exclusive. Obviously, both personal and social responsibility are necessary for overcoming poverty. When this absurd bifurcation is offered by ideological partisans on either side, I am quickly convinced that both sides must never have lived or worked anywhere near poverty or poor people. That there are behaviors that further entrench and even cause poverty is indisputable, as is the undeniable power of systems and structures to institutionalize injustice and oppression. Together, personal and social responsibility creates the common good. Because we know these realities as religious facts, taught to us by our sacred Scriptures, religious communities can teach them to those still searching more for blame than solutions to pressing social problems.

    ...
    there were two issues in the 2004 election year that most tugged at my heart, worry my Christian conscience, and compel me to faithful citizenship and discipleship. The first is poverty, the second is war.

    As the Bush administration began, I joined a small group of religious leaders to meet with the president-elect in Austin, Texas. To his credit, George W. Bush invited both those who had voted for him and against him. We encouraged him to commit himself to a concrete and measurable goal in the battle against poverty—such as cutting child poverty by half in ten years, as the British Labour government under Tony Blair had pledged. I thought a Republican president, in the name of compassionate conservatism, could make new progress on the critical issue of poverty, much like Nixon's going to China. I told him he should surprise everybody with an aggressive antipoverty agenda. I supported the president's faith-based initiative, much to the chagrin of Democratic friends, but from the beginning of the Bush presidency many of us have had a very consistent message: significant resources must be committed to serious poverty reduction, not just in a faith-based initiative but especially in budget decisions, tax policies, and spending priorities.

    Two years later, a statement organized by Call to Renewal and signed by thirty-four Christian leaders across the theological and political spectrum concluded, sadly, that the president had failed the test of resources and priorities, which made our continuing support for his faith-based initiative increasingly untenable. Without the resources and policies to seriously reduce poverty, the faith-based initiative became words without backing, faith without works. A faith-based initiative could have been done differently, with the resources and policies to back it up, but this one has turned out to be a big disappointment, with policy failures such as the denial of child tax credits to low-income families that would have brought the biblical prophets to the White House lawn.

    Other priorities were just more important to the Bush administration than poverty reduction. Tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthy were more important, the war in Iraq was more important, and homeland security was more important—all without the key recognition of how poverty, despair, family instability, and social disintegration undermine our national security. A budget based on a windfall of benefits for the wealthy and harsh cuts for poor families and children is an unbiblical budget. The good people who have run the White House faith-based office were clearly not the ones making policy and budget decisions for the Bush administration. One result of the lack of White House leadership has been the steady rise in the number of people, families, and children living in poverty in each of the last three years, according to the 2003 U.S. Census report. And that is a religious issue.

    In his speech to the 2004 Republican Convention, the president spoke about many important issues—education reform and opportunity, health care security, job training, support for low-income families and neighborhoods. There were new and promising directions in his notion of "an ownership society," which focuses on things such as tax credits, educational equality, and home ownership for lower-income families as an alternative to relying on only entitlement programs.
    In an August 2004 article in the New York Times Magazine, conservative writer David Brooks laid out a vision for "progressive Republicanism" that has a clear role for the positive action of government to make work actually work for low-income families, with a whole range of wage supplements and wealth creation for poor working families.2 There were signs of such a vision in the Bush speech. But the president failed to deal with how his central domestic priority, making permanent his tax cuts that most benefit the wealthy, will simply not allow such positive government initiatives—because of a lack of resources. The Brooks vision will never be possible if Republicans stick to their characteristic anti-government ideology that is so reluctant to spend money to reduce poverty. George W. Bush has not changed that mentality, but rather submitted to it. Until it changes, the poor will continue to suffer.

    From what I have seen and heard of George W. Bush (including in small meetings and personal conversations I've had with the president) I believe his faith to be both personal and real. And I also believe that he has a heart genuinely concerned for poor people. But I think the president is often guilty of bad theology. On the issue of poverty, George Bush believes in a God of charity, but not a God of justice.

    That's the problem with the economic and political agenda of the religious Right—most people know what Jesus said about these things, whether they are Christians or not. And the conformity of many conservative evangelical leaders to the political Right and its agenda that favors the wealthy over the poor and middle class just doesn't make any sense to them. They know that Jesus was not pro-rich, pro-war, and only pro-American, as we described at the beginning of this chapter. So why are so many conservative evangelicals oblivious to the teaching of Jesus, they wonder. Why do "family values" groups support the Republican right-wing economic agenda when it hurts so many low-income families? And how can some even claim that God is pro-war? Most people just don't get it, because they know that Jesus was on the side of the poor and the cause of peace. The politics of Jesus is a problem for the religious Right.

    Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor," and opened up his own ministry by proclaiming, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (which was a direct biblical reference to the Jubilee Year in the Hebrew Scriptures where, periodically, the debts of the poor were cancelled, slaves were set free, and land was redistributed for the sake of equity). People such as U2's lead singer, Bono, see the contemporary relevance of such Scripture for issues such as global poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, and so do many of his young fans—so why don't others see it? In Matthew's twenty-fifth chapter, Jesus speaks of the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, prisoners, and the sick and promises he will challenge all his followers on the judgment day with these words, "As you have done to the least of these, you have done to me." James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, concludes from that text that, "Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor!" How many of America's most famous television preachers could produce the letter?

    This examination among evangelicals became clear in the 2004 Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility, an unprecedented call to social action from the National Association of Evangelicals. In contrast to the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson era, evangelicals are now showing moral leadership in the fight against global poverty, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and sustainability of God's earth.

    These changes represent both a reaction against overt partisanship and a desire to apply Christian ethics to a broader set of issues. Many people of faith have grown weary of the religious Right's attempts to narrow the moral litmus test to abortion and gay marriage. For example, when likely voters were asked in a 2004 poll whether they would rather hear a candidate's position on poverty or on gay marriage, 75 percent chose poverty. Only 17 percent chose gay marriage.3 Any serious reading of the Bible points toward poverty as a religious issue, and candidates should always be asked by Christian voters how they will treat "the least of these." Stewardship of God's earth is clearly a question of Christian ethics. Truth telling is also a religious issue that should be applied to a candidate's rationales for war, tax cuts, or any other policy, as is humility in avoiding the language of "righteous empire," which too easily confuses the roles of God, church, and nation.

    The religious Right's grip on public debates about values has been driven in part by a media that continues to give airtime to the loudest religious voices, rather than the most representative, leaving millions of Christians and other people of faith without a say in the values debate. But this is starting to change as progressive and prophetic faith voices are speaking out with a confidence and moral urgency not seen for twenty-five years. Mobilized by human suffering in many places, groups motivated by religious social conscience (including many evangelicals not defined by the religious Right) have hit a new stride in efforts to combat poverty, destructive wars, human rights violations, pandemics like HIV/AIDS, and genocide in places like Sudan.

    In politics, the best interest of the country is served when the prophetic voice of religion is heard—challenging both Right and Left from consistent moral ground. The evangelical Christians of the nineteenth century combined revivalism with social reform and helped lead movements for abolition and women's suffrage—not to mention the faith-based movement that directly preceded the rise of the religious Right, namely the American civil rights movement led by the black churches.

    The truth is that most of the important movements for social change in America have been fueled by religion—progressive religion. The stark moral challenges of our time have once again begun to awaken this prophetic tradition. As the religious Right loses influence, nothing could be better for the health of both church and society than a return of the moral center that anchors our nation in a common humanity. If you listen, these voices can be heard rising again.

  5. Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Quote Originally Posted by HFK
    Frame the argument accurately and honestly, and then debate the issue.
    HFK, actually, the intent that I had was just to provide a platform, and then just read and listen, to how present-day Repulicans would answer the question,
    If any Republicans want to voice their views, I’d be interested to hear why present-day Republicans ARE Republicans ... your personal perspectives as to what it means “To Be A Republican Means ...”. You've just read my "essay". What's yours?

    The floor is now yours, if you want it.
    In the initial post, I think that I plainly stated my historical and present underpinnings for all to see, and explained as well as I was able why I was no longer a Republican. I stated what "being a Republican" meant to me and, as well as I could, why I changed parties. If I'm not mistaken (and if I am I'll state it here: I consider myself a "Lincoln Republican" even though no longer registered as a Republican). And, I invited present-day Republicans, if they wanted, to define what "being" a Republican" means to him/her/them.

    If that context, no "argument" is involved at all, just a particular or general statements of principle as any would care to give as to how today's Republicans might finish the sentence/paragraph(s): To Be A Republican means ...

    To illustrate what I meant (and still do), you said:
    For example, the question is NOT:

    Should I help the poor?

    Rather, it is:

    Should Government help the poor?
    and you elaborated on that. While I suppose that most all of us would agree that the answer to the question, "Should I help the poor", is "Yes", opinions, even among Republicans and/or Democrats, or others, will vary as to the second question, "Should Government help the poor." Doubtless all of us will have specific or blurred answers to that question ... but ... in this context, I suppose that IF a present day Republican would answer, "Yes", to the general question you posed, specific Republicans would answer differently in defining the limits, etc. of "how". Or, some Republicans might simply answer your query, "No. The government should not help the poor. And here's why ... " in the context of my original post, "To Be A Republican Means ...".

    Obvioulsly, many and diverse thoughtful answers would/could come from present-day Republicans, even Democrats were that the focus of the thread, but which it isn't.

    Now, I know as well as the next how easy it is for forum threads to venture all over the place. I've doubtless not stayed "on track" myself in other threads. But, to try to recaputure focus, perhaps you can rephrase your comments in the context of the principal question, "To Be A Republican Means ...".

    Or not. What I was inviting more in the nature of an "essay", long or short, if any present day Republicans wanted to spend the time to make a thoughtful reply, in the nature of "an apology" in the academic sense, e.g., here's what being a Republican means to me, and why.

    Naturally, any can respond any way they want, but I actually thought some "understanding" might occur if responders would be less "argumentative" and more "here's what I think and why."

    But, to each, his/her own.

  6. Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Didaskalos
    I was a conservative for many years. I understand the conservative philosophy very well. The question is not whether conservatism holds that aid for the needy should come by government involvement (clearly they believe no).
    Stepping in as "thread moderator" for a moment, Didaskalos, and in keeping with what I just said to HFK, I'm trying to get current-day Republicans to speak their piece, if they want, as to "To Be A Republican Means ...". I'm basically trying to give current-day Republicans the floor to articulate what that means, if any of them are willing to do so.

    That said, I do have to take issue with your "clearly, they believe no" statement, above, but if I elaborated on that I'd be blurring this thread more than it has already become. So, I won't. But it would be wrong of me to not to take issue with the above statement, speaking from the perspecive of being a self-proclaimed "Lincoln Republican" even though a now registered Democrat. Ok? I'll not comment further on the content of your message other than to not this disagreement.

    I'm still hoping that one or more current-day Republicans will jump in and articulate an answer to the original post, "To be a Republican Means ... ".

    That gets difficult to do if a present-day Republican not only has to articulate such an answer but also has to defend, before they speak, their rationale. I hope that you understand my meaning.

  7. #7

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    In fairness to Didaskalos, in addition to answering specific "charges" in HFK, he too shared a story similar to yours... how he once was a Republican, but after careful research and evaluation, he could no longer identify with the current Republican party. His response provided some context on why he could no longer call himself a Republican.

    Perhaps if we do not want a debate, we should advise only Republicans respond to this specific thread and allow others to start a new thread to challenge why they do not or no longer support or identify the Republican party. I think you have indicated that in your two most recent posts.

    Didaskalos, consider using your post to start a new thread.

  8. Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    As a Democrat, albeit decidedly right of center on some issues, I'm staying out of this thread.

  9. #9
    Didaskalos Guest

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Loudenback
    Stepping in as "thread moderator" for a moment,
    Guess I need to start my own threads so I can become a "thread moderator"

    That gets difficult to do if a present-day Republican not only has to articulate such an answer but also has to defend, before they speak, their rationale. I hope that you understand my meaning.
    I understand your meaning and my reply was perhaps too lengthy but was a reply to a challenge directed at another poster due to their apparent "fundamental lack of understanding of Conservative (and, more-or-less. Republican) philosophy."

    I didn't get the impression there was a fundamental lack of understanding but rather a feeling that the philosophy no longer supported a desire/calling expressed by the poster.

    As I am not a Republican, I will stay off the thread so they will feel no need to defend their rationale. Hope this helps.

  10. #10
    Keith Guest

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    I am a republican because, in my opinion, republicans have a higher degree of morality than democrats. Now, before someone jumps down my throat, we must all remember that everyone makes mistakes. There have been republicans who have made fools of themselves because of some stupid decision they made that was not along their party lines.

    Most republicans support pro-life, prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments posted in schools and courtrooms, and many other moral issues. The democrats are just the opposite. That's why I am a republican....and proud of it. No debate.

  11. Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    I'll post this elsewhere...
    Last edited by Karried; 09-18-2005 at 08:24 PM. Reason: wrong thread
    " You've Been Thunder Struck ! "

  12. #12

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith
    I am a republican because, in my opinion, republicans have a higher degree of morality than democrats. Now, before someone jumps down my throat, we must all remember that everyone makes mistakes. There have been republicans who have made fools of themselves because of some stupid decision they made that was not along their party lines.

    Most republicans support pro-life, prayer in schools, the Ten Commandments posted in schools and courtrooms, and many other moral issues. The democrats are just the opposite. That's why I am a republican....and proud of it. No debate.
    Could'nt have said it better myself.

  13. Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Didaskalos, I apologize ... it was wrong of me to try and be a "thread moderator", and I take that back. I enjoyed reading your post and I didn't mean to say that I didn't. In fact, I've enjoyed reading all the posts.

    While my original intention was to afford Republicans a "place" to express his/her/their rationale for being one, largely for understanding "why they are" and paritcularly in the context of how the meaning of "Republican" appears to me to have significantly changed, no need exists that my intention be accepted and I was wrong to say anything at all about who, or how, replies should be framed, and to all I have offended, I'm sorry. That's the last time that will happen.

    But, I'm still hoping that more Republicans will be expressive ... less in glossy terms and more in theory of government ... the proper roles of government, attitude about protecting individual liberties, role in helping, or not, the less fortunate, so to speak.

    But, in fact, it may well be that theory and/or philosopy of government of present day Republicans, for the most part, is correctly summarized more in terms of perceived morality and less in terms of government theory, along the lines of your response, Keith.

    Your reply, Keith, and your Amen to that, Mariner 62, seem to take that tack ... not much said about theory or philosopy of government, but a lot said about God and moral perspectives about who's right and who's wrong when it comes down to specific "moral" (some would say, "moralistic") issues.

    It may well be that, Peggy Lee's question, "Is that all there is", is answered, "Yes", for most how modern day Republicans perceive themselves and that all (what I've called) classical theory / philosophy has been abandoned by most modern day Republicans. Frankly, that's my hunch, but I was just wanting to see if I was wrong about that.

    HFK, you touched on a classical theoretical issue but didn't go beyond that, the issue of the role of government in helping, or not, those less fortunate. Whether or not most Republicans, or others, would agree with your viewpoint, at least you put your cards on the table as to your answer to that question, even though you didn't go beyond that in defining "Republican". Maybe you didn't intend to.

    Anyway, so far the synthesis of definitions offered BY Republicans, in whole or in part, seems to be rooted in definitions and advocacy of "moral" perspectives, and not helping the poor, unless I've misread the Republican responses so far. And, maybe that IS all that there is as to how present day Republicans perceive themselves!

    Is that so, or have I missed something?

  14. Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    I said ...
    Anyway, so far the synthesis of definitions offered BY Republicans, in whole or in part, seems to be rooted in definitions and advocacy of "moral" perspectives, and not helping the poor, unless I've misread the Republican responses so far. And, maybe that IS all that there is as to how present day Republicans perceive themselves!

    Is that so, or have I missed something?
    ... but, I should have added, "And, if that's so, let the debtates begin (as if they already hadn't)!

  15. #15
    Didaskalos Guest

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    I find it very intriguing when some claim that Republicans are more moral than non-Republicans or have a better grasp on morality. All decisions and beliefs are based in a person’s view of morality. The idea of morality is an ambiguous idea. Fundamentally, it is the code by which a society or an individual determine “right” vs. “wrong”. One group is going to use a different “code” than another group to define what is "morally right" or "morally wrong". For instance, there is a certain “morality” that is accepted in the United States (most particularly that we have the "right" to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness). Most Americans ascribe to the idea that this is “right” and “wrong” would be the antithesis. Yet, within America, there exist sub groups that have their own “moral code” (even within religious groups). A Unitarian is going to have a different “code of morality” than a Southern Baptist.

    Who is to say which is the right code? Or more particularly, who gets to determine the code all must follow to be "right"? I might believe that it is immoral for our country to invade a sovereign nation preemptively. Others will believe it is a moral imperative to address a “threat” before that “threat” can attack. What code is used to determine “right” vs. “wrong” or which position is “moral”.

    When people claim that the Republican Party has a higher degree of morality, what code are they using to make this claim. What defines that abortion is “wrong”? What declares that the 10 commandments should be displayed in public courtrooms? What code explains that prayer in schools should be public? Clearly, what many groups are referencing is that “morality” is defined by the Bible as the “code” and would better be described as “Christian morality” (more particularly a particular viewpoint of Christianity). Of course, it goes beyond this because scripture does not have a direct statement regarding displaying stone monuments of the 10 commandments or declaring that prayer should be public in a school setting. Defining these as more “moral” rather than a different moral position is extremely assumptive.

    This comes back to a debate that I am sure will rage on until Christ’s return – namely whether we were founded as a Christian nation. If we are not, defining morality in terms of “Christian Morality” is clearly an attempt to force others into a belief system by political means. As there is nothing in our Constitution that can show we were founded on the beliefs of Jesus Christ, it seems a bit of a reach. Those in support of this position are left to define the “intent” of the founders. Of course, even if the majority of the founders were “Christian” (which seems a very generic term considering the lives of many of the founders), that does not necessarily imply they were trying to establish a government based on “Christian Morality”. It would seem easier to support that they were trying to do quite the opposite. To leave the specifics of religion to the individual and ensure that religious freedom was the basis of our system. Many of us see wisdom in this design.

    If one is forced to accept that “Christian Morality” is a code defined by a sub-group in a larger society – a society which was founded on the idea of religious freedom – then defining one group as more “moral” using a sub-groups religious text in defense (even more particularly a sub groups interpretation of the text) seems in stark contrast to what our founders intended.

    This is not an attempt to support moral relativity. I would contend that there is “right” and “wrong”. I personally look to the bible to define what is “right” and “wrong” but does that mean I can force others to use the same guide in a government that supports freedom of religion as a fundamental right? I contend no. I believe abortion is “wrong”. Does this give me the “moral authority” to pass laws ensuring that abortions are not possible? If all I have to use is the Bible, I would contend no. The morality I gain from the bible is a personal morality. I can only apply the same moral code to those who agree with my beliefs regarding the bible. If I want to convince others (religious or not) about my “morality”, I need to do so outside of the text I have accepted as “the code”. I believe there is a conversation to be had regarding the “rightness” or “wrongness” of abortion outside of scripture. Perhaps by engaging that discussion, I could compel others who believe that abortion is not murder why I believe it is from a reasoned position rather than simply one of “belief”.

    I, for one, believe the vast majority of Americans hold that abortion is less “right” than “wrong” but are resistant to making it a prosecutable offense. As one who desires fewer abortions, I must look at what will help advance my desire. Clinton and Bush Jr. have very different viewpoints on the “moral” response to abortion. Many who support GWB believe that abortion should be illegal. ‘Clintonites’ believes that creating laws is ineffective at reducing the cause of abortion. Defining one as more “moral” is inaccurate as both are coming at the same issue from different perspectives and applying their “moral code” to the best way to address. As Clinton was more effective at reducing abortions in this country, one must ask if the desire is really to reduce abortions? If one looks at Clinton’s position as defending killing innocents then of course his position will appear less “moral”. Clearly, this is not Clinton’s position if one has ever cared to try and understand it. He views one of the biggest exacerbating factors behind those seeking abortions is financial strains. His belief that reducing financial strains and thereby reducing the impetus behind seeking the abortion is a “moral approach”. Whether one believes this is really the “right” approach is not as important, in my mind, as determining what the end goal for both groups is and the dialogue to find common ground. (as a disclaimer – I did not vote for Clinton either time).

    Republicans will lay claim to many personal moral issues (sexual preference issues, abortion, drug use, public profession of religious beliefs, etc) but these represent a particular viewpoint of morality. Others who hold that poverty, fair wages, civil rights, just war, access to healthcare, affordable housing, social safety nets are all “moral issues” are not less moral – they simply have a different set of “moral priorities”. I make my political decisions based on my "morality" but have a very different perspective on what my moral teacher (Jesus Christ) held as the larger priorities.

    It is unfortunate that many Republicans claim to have a corner on “morality” or even worse claim to be “more moral”. This might be true when compared against a particular interpretation and application of “Christian Morality” but cannot be defined as the only “moral” position.

    Those focused on "moral issues" might find the following site interesting - Moral Politics Test

  16. #16

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    People do have many different views on things, for instance:
    Abortion, right or wrong. In some cases, less wrong than others, but maybe not right. In the case of rape or in the case that child may be born with the chance of not being able to live a happy normal life I can understand abortion. Still how can one determine when it is less wrong. That choice should be left to the individual and no one else, unless that individual is unable mentally to make that choice, that is still a fine line.

    Politics and Religion, you will never get people to agree. As far as politics goes, whoever can do the job right and do what is best for the country I would vote for. But again, how do you know who is the best for the job until they are in the position. Most politicians will blow smoke up your ass to get in office, I still dont really trust any of them.

    Religion, ah religion, there is a fine line between right and wrong. How do you determine which religion is right or wrong. How does one know if Jesus was Jewish, White, Black, Purple.........We only see paintings and pictures of peoples perception of what he might have been, Kodak was not around. How do we really know the Bible is acurate? how do we really know there is a heaven and hell? we can only hope there is a heaven, and if there is a hell I am not worried. I do not believe you have to go to church to get there if there is. Which leads to another point. If there is a loving GOD, and I am not saying there isnt, why would he take good people and leave murderers and rapist here when for instance a drunk driver takes the life of a family and the drunk driver goes on to life their life, why did the innocent have to die? Good people are not needed in heaven, they are already there if there is such a place.

    Time to go back to work for now. I am sure I'll get slammed on my views by a couple people.

  17. #17
    Didaskalos Guest

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    In a previous post, it was pointed out that I made an overly simplistic statement (which is true to be fair) – namely that conservatives clearly don’t support government assistance of the poor. I would like to respond in order to clarify my thoughts on this topic. While I would still agree that “Conservatives” are less supportive of government programs to assist the poor than “liberals” my statement was overly simplistic.

    First, “conservatism” is hardly a set definition anymore than “liberalism” is. Extreme conservatives would certainly push for less government programs than a more moderate conservative. Absolute definitions aside, one thing that differentiates “conservatives” and “liberals” in 2005 is on the idea of government programs. Conservatives (in theory) favor a smaller government and less government involvement. I think this is debatable but nonetheless, I would think the majority of those who identify themselves as “Conservative” would identify with the idea.

    There are key ideas that seem to differentiate “conservatives” and “liberals”. All represent a continuum and certainly no one would be 100% one or the other. The degree to which one favors an idea would help indicate where one falls on the spectrum.

    1) Conservatives tend to favor ‘Individualism’ while Liberals tend to favor ‘Altruism’

    I think the key difference related to my original comment is that conservatives would believe that altruism should be an individual choice so as not to hamper the individual’s motivation to succeed.

    A liberal (especially in this country) would largely agree except would see value in a small percentage of the individuals success be collectively used altruistically to those less successful and would tend to believe that the government can do this without ulterior motives or emotion.

    2) Liberals tend to favor Democracy while Conservatives tend to favor Constitutionalism

    The word Democracy (rule of the people) seems quite dangerous to some. Our founders would have believed this is dangerous because with Democracy (I think most of them would contend) only works well with a well-informed and educated public. The answer to this of course, was a representative democracy. At this same time, protecting “rights” was equally attractive, especially to ensure that the masses could not take advantage of the few (particularly the elite). A constitution provides a more rigid framework where law is not at the whim of the democracy (tyranny of the majority).

    Most liberals would contend that the country is more well-informed (or at least have access to information whether they use it correctly or not) and better educated than was the case at our country’s founding. Therefore, the “Democracy” aspect can (and perhaps should) be strengthened.

    Most conservatives would contend that the Constitutional aspect of our system should be strengthened (i.e. the current rhetoric of a strict constructionist) because without this constraint, undesired changes are more likely. Perhaps the greatest undesired change being a change in the practice of the law (hence the concern for activism in the court).

    3) Liberals tend to favor equality while Conservatives tend to favor merit.

    The extreme for an egalitarian society would be communism where there is no class differentiation because everyone is “equal”. Perhaps the extreme for a Meritocracy is libertarianism where there are few (if any) constraints on people or economic systems.

    Both liberalism and conservatism would fall somewhere within this spectrum with liberals falling on the equality side and conservatives falling on the merit side.

    This is one fundamental point where the discussion of government involvement in social programs comes into play. An extreme conservative would believe in the idea that “one should pick themselves up by their bootstraps” and “benefit without merit breeds dependence”. The less a “conservative” falls on the ‘Merit’ side of the continuum, they more they are likely to support government programs to promote equality. The programs in question tend to be the point of contention. Any program where “merit” was not considered for the government to dole out money would be perceived as suspect. This is generally epitomized by the description of a single black female drug addict who has child after child to increase the welfare benefit.

    A liberal would tend to fall on the other side – attempting to address the “underlying causes” of the inequality and seeking programs to help promote equality.

    No reasonable person would contend that conservatives do not care to help the poor, but it might be reasonable to assert that they see government programs as potentially making the problem worse, not better because it can trap people in poverty.

    4) Conservatives would tend to favor competition while liberals would tend to favor cooperation

    I think most conservatives would contend that competition drives human beings to excel and is one of the reasons this country is the economic powerhouse that it is. The downside is that as many as will “win”, perhaps more will “lose” (depending of course on the perspective of “winning”). Using sports as an example, without controls (rules and referees), competition can be destructive.

    I think most liberals would contend that people are stronger working as a group than as individuals and raises concerns about the “losers” in the competition. In theory, this diminishes incentive to excel and hampers economic growth (both for individuals and society as a whole).


    The question is the correct mix of these ideas to promote a society that protects the rights of individuals, provides sufficient motivation to succeed and shows compassion for the less fortunate.

    I will once again concede that my simplistic statement was inaccurate and I apologize to those who identify themselves as "conservative" but will contend that “liberals” (IMHO) have a more direct plan to offer healthcare, fair wages, jobs, and social safety nets so as few as possible “lose” in the competition that exists in the world’s largest superpower. I know that I will disagree with conservatives about the effectiveness of government programs which is why I do not fall on the conservative side of the spectrum.

    I hope my post clarifies what I meant and aids this thread with generalities about both ideologies. If anyone feels I have misrepresented "conservative" (and to some degree Republican) positions, please feel free to clarify.

  18. #18
    ColumbiaCowboy Guest

    Default Re: To Be A Republican Means ...

    Anyone who has a legitimate concern for the poor, for children in poverty and sickness, for the disabled, for the mentally ill, for those needing help in our society, it MUST be spoken as plainly as this:

    It is absolutely 100 percent IMPOSSIBLE for the needs of these people to be met without government. Impossible. Every dime of money going to churches and charities, every PENNY of it, goes to these programs...in other words, not a single administrator gets paid a cent, no building fund, no sheet music, no electric bill, NOTHING but services...and the amount churches and charities brings in is nowhere close to the amount.

    We have to deal with these problems the ONLY reasonable and practical way, through public support. And Republicans continue to slash these programs like crazy in order to pay for big tax cuts that primarily benefit the very wealthy.

    THAT, and not the "social issues" upon which so many who claim to be conservative put so much stock (usually with a healthy dose of bigotry) is the REAL "Christian morality" issue of our time. There are exceptions, areas on social issues in which many Dems are not taking a stance I'm happy or comfortable with. But they're less important issues (like legislators wasting weeks upon weeks arguing abortion bills that they know will be thrown out in court)

    People need help, desperately. The GOP is slashing the programs they need. Supporting this is not a moral stance for a Christian to take. We should either be voting Democratic, or you should be fighting like heck to change your own Party.

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