Driving to an appointment with my boss recently, politics came up and though we both avoid the subject knowing we are on different sides, I could not help myself when he said "I just believe republicans are for the rich. I just do."
I launched into the idea that republicans care and are "for" everyone .. and ended up talking about the 2008 meltdown and the Community Reinvestment Act .. when I was interrupted by a rest stop visit. After that break, I changed the subject realizing I had traveled far from my resolve to not discuss politics.
The question remains, how does the republican party counter the idea that has been around forever and pounded into the public consciousness by democrats for as long as 2 parties have existed? Why is it so hard to advance the notion that the main difference between the Republicans and democrats is that one believes in small government, and the other believes in big government? That republicans believe in curing societies ills just as much as democrats do, just not by having the government do it?
A quote from Benjamin Franklin says
"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
He understood welfare and how it has hurt the poor, before welfare existed.
Patrick Henry said
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
And Abraham Lincoln said
"We the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts--not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
Our job as citizens is to not become lazy by letting the government take care of us as that becomes tyranny. Statistics show republicans give more to charity than democrats do, because we are compassionate and giving people who want to help our fellow man. Democrats allow the government to take care of their fellow man FOR them, and believe that is government's role.The difference between the parties has become so distorted by politicians trying to keep their jobs and media no longer remaining objective that the truth is no longer obvious.
The republican party needs re-branding. It doesn't help that the GOP is not seen as "cool". In a society so heavily influenced by popular culture, even young republicans are not seen as having new ideas. I do not have the answers but I do know that many smart people do not truly understand what the party believes and stands for. So by default, because the democrat party is construed as the party "of the people", republicans are thrown into the role of the bad guys. We're not.
But how do we convey that?