It was Labor Day weekend and my mom and I were on a road trip to St. Louis. Just the two of us and three rolypoly Great Dane puppies, cruising from Minnesota to St. Louis to visit a vet with an amazing reputation (I’ll hold that story for another post). Arriving at our hotel, I turned on the news and heard an announcement that made me simultaneously gasp and giggle. The GOP VP candidate who preached from a pulpit of abstinence, loving the Lord, and shooting stuff had a pregnant teen aged daughter.
“That’s IT! They have pushed their envelop of hypocrisy too far!” I told the bouncing puppies, and suddenly I had confidence in Senator Obama’s ability to defeat the Republican candidate. I thought there was a lesson for the Republican Party in that moment, in that election. How could voters take seriously candidates who do not learn from their own ideological mistakes? Educating teens about sex decreases their risk of pregnancy. Seems pretty simple. Like that whole messy global warming thing: science actually works.
But the division between liberals and the new conservatives continued and in fact accelerated. Enter the Tea Party, the Birthers, and any number of groups determined to sever dialogue with anyone who didn’t agree with them. Jeepers it was bad enough when it was a few Moral Majority types, FOX, and Rush Limbaugh. Locally we were bombarded with non-issues like marriage and voter-ID amendments (originated to drum up enthusiasm among right-wingers and draw them to the polls, while wasting the efforts and money of liberals who fought the amendments. And yeah, I am gleeful that this tactic backfired.).
Fast forward to this morning. Now I hear that the Republicans might finally get it. They may finally understand it is necessary to move into the future if they want to appeal to new voters. I suggest they ought to look to the past when their Party offered positive leadership. Remember when being a Republican meant you were fiscally conservative but acknowledged that government had a role in helping its people? Remember when Republicans reached out to compromise because balance of power is more important than winning at all costs? I remember a kinder Republican party that wasn’t hell-bent on hate, and valued discussion and ideas and education.
If I were a Republican I’d be ticked as heck that these people hijacked my Party, and I’d work my tush off to get it back. As I see it they have four more years to figure it out, but honestly I hope it doesn’t take them that long.