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Color Me Independent

January 23rd, 2014 Posted by Susan's Musings 12 comments

House Republicans are officially gathering for a retreat shortly. I completely understand why I haven’t been invited; I find it harder to understand why some of the prominent people who share my views haven’t been. I hope the House Republicans emerge from their meeting ready to explain to the national Party leadership the dangers of continuing to spurn people like me. 

According to the Pew report, increasing numbers of Americans are declaring themselves as independent rather than choosing to belong to one of our two national parties. The majority of these people are leaving the Republican, not the Democratic Party. Like many reports, this one has led to much pontificating, hand wringing and contradictory calls for action. Some of this is appropriate, as independents are, almost by definition, a hard group to classify. The danger is playing with statistics to define them as monolithic.

I am one of those no-longer-affiliated voters. Technically, my registration reads Republican, yet emotionally (financially and sweat-equity-wise) I don’t consider myself a member. If asked, I would tell a pollster that I am an independent. Since, in today’s climate, my views are conservative on both social and economic issues, in theory, I should be a good Republican match. What happened?

Years ago, when I had a house full of small children, I entered a national toy chain store. The layout of the store was confusing; the employees were sluggish and uninformed. I left empty-handed. I was looking for toys – the store and I should have been a good match, yet we weren’t.

I try to live my life according to the precepts of the Torah. Frequently, I receive appeals from charities that identify themselves as supporting those try to do the same. Often, these appeals go straight to the trashcan. Not only do I not want to offer money, I find the groups they service to be embarrassing. We may use similar words, but we are worlds apart on what those words mean.

There is no dearth of places to buy toys or of charities to support. Similarly, there is no lack of political candidates or issues to champion. When I shop at a national chain it is based on reputation. My experience with that chain and the experience of millions of other people, tell me that I can rely on quality, price and service. If the national company doesn’t provide that umbrella of respectability and stability, sharing the larger chain name is meaningless. If names like Costco or Nordstrom have wildly different meanings in different cities and states, I might as well explore boutiques and mom and pop stores, choosing to shop at some and reject others. Some local variety is desirable; too much is detrimental.

As I see it, a national political party needs to provide reputation, guidance and reliability to have value. Unfortunately, the national Republican Party seems to be unclear who it is. In theory, it stands for principles with which I agree, yet it provides incompetent leadership leaving its members to flounder inarticulately. Furthermore, it appears unconvinced of the worth of the ideas it espouses. While the Democratic Party seems to issue hourly talking points to its elected officials, I see no evidence that the Republican Party has ever heard of the phrase. It’s the Wild West where Republicans are concerned.

Both belligerent John McCain and hapless Todd Akin are examples. I may not agree with everything Ted Cruz or Rand Paul say, but when John McCain, the previous Republican presidential candidate, calls them “wacko” in a Huffington Post interview and is not publicly rebuked and criticized by the national Republican Party for that, it is clear that this group neither respects nor values me. Similarly, the party was completely out of touch with reality not to realize that the last election would not be only about economic issues. By not providing guidance and preparing candidates on how to speak about abortion or other social issues in intelligent and principled ways, candidates like Akin were left to flounder and sink. I see no proof of lessons learned.

My hope is that many true conservative, optimistic, genial and wise leaders emerge. Our country desperately needs them. They will almost certainly run under the Republican banner. Yet, unless the party undergoes a metamorphosis, these candidates will actually be hampered, not helped, by the Republican albatross around their necks.

Agree? Disagree? Tired of politics? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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12 comments

Marilyn Peppers says:

Susan, you have articulated what I have been thinking for a few years. How nice to have this garment of thought ironed out and hung up! While I am a conservative who tends to side with the Republican Party, I am becoming less willing to listen to debates because both sides tend to be contentious and argumentative. Thank you very much for your post.

KATHLEEN LEAMY says:

I agree.
I am a registered Republican. At this time, the only reason I am still a Republican is so that I can vote in the primaries for conservatives.

Gary says:

Very well said. My support can no longer be trusted to go to quality candidates through the NRP or State version-so now have to go directly to a candidate of my choice or an organization I trust. Hence, I too “shop elsewhere”, answer as an Independent/Non-Partisan, and inform fund raisers calling that their support of unacceptable candidates and candidates mocking our beliefs will not be supported.
Good Job.

Bonnie Rice says:

I agree. I, too, am a registered Republican, but am very discouraged by the leadership. I would call myself a conservative independent . Thanks for your insightful comments, I look forward to your musings, thank you, again.

James says:

Well, I envy Hannity, who in New York is allowed to register as a ‘conservative.’ The Republicans call me all the time for money, and so I articulate my personal platform and values, but advise them, if it’s money you want, I have none to give you. Sometimes the operator slams down the phone in my face. The GOP has become ‘Democrat Light’ or ‘Big-Government-Light,’ and has left most of its constituency behind, to create an elite political aristocracy. Yes, it is time for a grass-roots revolution, Ms. Susan (I guess you can tell, I strongly agree). .

Raymond says:

Susan thank you for this most excellent post, but can we trust any politician in a time when the entire political system is totally broken. Maybe the true solution is for shepherds (pastors and preachers) to call their congregations to prayer and repentance in a land which appears to be under the judgment of G-d. I obtain more truth from you and your husband’s ministry than what could be found in many churches in this country. I am intrigued by the scriptures in Ezekiel 34:1-10 and I wonder if this is the true problem in our country which seems to be drifting quickly from a solid spiritual foundation—the Holy Word of G-d.

Thank you all for chiming in. Do I hear frustration out there? Raymond, I don’t think we need to choose between voting and trying to find candidates we can support (and monitoring and keeping their feet to the fire to be honest, faithful and full of integrity), and turning to God in prayer and repentance. We must work within the system we have and at the same time seek to live in a way that calls God’s blessing on this country. I have a Musing that will run in the next few weeks that elaborates on this idea.

Anne Snyder says:

Amen

James Witt says:

Hi Susan,
If I could write as well as you, the words you wrote would be the words I would write, right down to the last period. Thank you for bringing this important, but painful viewpoint to light! It is a sad point in our history where those who campaigned to represent us, defy our interests, and vote a party line that was never defined in the party platform. Even worse, we see those “representatives” trying to position government where only God can rightfully be.

Jimdyl says:

I mail the Republican Party fundraising surveys back to them adorned with a sticker that says Sorry! I make my candidate contributions through the Senate Conservatives Fund which was set up by Jim DeMint. I also write a little note asking them to follow the leadership of Republicans like him, Bongino, Lee, Cruz, West, Gohmert, Palin, Overstreet. I also support these and lesser known quality candidates individually. We need to find and support great candidates who we are proud to support so they can defeat the lousy candidates and incumbents.

James says:

I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying. I, personally, have given up on our elected government ever reflecting the will of the people of our great nation. But, in my search for something new, I found the Texas Nationalist Movement. America still lives in the hearts of a few of us.
(I did delete recommended book simply because I know nothing about it. – Susan)

Jana Botkin says:

I am a registered Republican, but before the next election I will reregister as “decline to state” or whatever the description is for one without a party. It used to bother me that I wouldn’t be able to vote in the primaries if I wasn’t affiliated with one of the majors, but I’ve realized that by the time the primaries come to California, the decision has been made for us. So, because my vote does not matter in the primaries and because I am too conservative for the Republicans as they currently exist, I will join those who have defected from the GOP.

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