I read your piece
in the Wall Street Journal and was nodding in agreement and cheering you
on. That is, until about half way through. You wrote some marvelous phrases
about the GOP’s tragic inability to sell a conservative economic message to
those very voters who sided with the Democratic Party despite the fact they
hold, “a government shackle waiting to be slapped onto the wrists of every
young voter they ensnare.” I agree wholeheartedly with the visual picture you
create that, “The GOP is like a supermodel who’s has been doing photo shoots
under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup.” We do have the right ideas and we
have failed abysmally in marketing them.
But, then you start discussing moral issues. You say that
the Left has taken the moral high ground by being pro-choice and pro-gay. You
rail bitterly as you refer to the “religious right and the gay-bashing,
Bible-thumping fringe that gives the party such a bad rap with every young
voter.” Here is where you and I need to have a dialogue if the Republican Party
has any chance of continuing.
In my mind, the GOP has the same exact problem on social
issues as it does on economic ones. It has the right ideas it articulates
atrociously and the Left controls the message being given to your age group.
Just as your peers are indoctrinated with failed ideas that redistribution of
wealth brings happiness and prosperity to all, they are also are indoctrinated
with a negative view of traditional religious values. In high schools and
colleges and on popular TV shows and movies wealthy Americans are portrayed as
greedy misers (despite the fact that conservative Americans give charity, volunteer
and even donate blood way more generously than the ‘kind, compassionate, loving
liberals’). Similarly, religious Christians are portrayed as hypocritical,
racist zealots despite that fact that the nation’s conservative churches are far
more racially integrated than most college campuses and filled with warm and
loving individuals who in no way resemble the caricature fed to the public.
I am Jewish, and like my Christian friends, I believe in a
Creator. Like our Founders I believe that He created us with certain inalienable
rights, and I also believe that He created us with certain needs. One of those
needs is to live a productive and fulfilling life. I am an economic
conservative because even if the government could supply everyone with a
luxurious lifestyle as an outright gift (which it cannot, even if it uses the
word entitlement rather than gift), people’s souls would corrode. The human
spirit drives us to actively participate in our own success, not be the
recipient of largesse.
Similarly, the human soul craves certain things like love,
affection and security. The ‘advances’ of the Left have not delivered as
promised. Studies show that women are less happy now than they were fifty years
ago and mental health professionals meet a horrifying number of young women who
are depressed and punishing themselves through eating disorders and cutting among
other pathologies. The depiction of
religious conservatives as misogynistic, sexual Neanderthals is no more
accurate than the claim that Republicans want to send grandma over a cliff. My generation has failed yours in letting you
believe that you are originating the idea of a brave new world of sexuality
without knowing that it has been tried – and failed – before. We have bolstered
your self-esteem so high that you lack the humility to acknowledge the wisdom
of the past and to learn from those with more life experience than you.
If extremists in one political party (including President
Obama) believe that a full-term baby who has started exiting its mother’s body
and in no way threatens her life or health, can be “aborted,” while extremists
in the other party believe that a rape victim should carry the baby to term and
let it be adopted into a loving home, then I know with which view I need to
side. If you were given that stark choice, perhaps you would agree with me. Nevertheless, most Americans fall into neither
extreme. The discussion that needs to take place is obstructed by the Left’s
demagoguery and the ‘Mitt Romney type’ Republican’s spinelessness on the issue.
Women your age deserve to hear truth rather than scare tactics. Abortion and homosexual
behavior are sensitive issues, but women must be encouraged to have the
maturity to listen and discuss them rather than accept the Left’s propaganda
and vilify anyone with a traditional viewpoint.
You are absolutely correct that the GOP cannot survive
without expressing their ideas better, but I believe that it cannot survive by
betraying either classical economic or traditional social principles. We hold
the moral high ground in both social and economic issues, even if we do not
know how to express our message. On a practical level, if the GOP split or even
won the youth vote, but lost social conservatives, it will still be a losing
party. Are you able to imagine that you might not be hearing the whole truth
when it comes to the ‘religious right’ or traditional values? If so, we can
have a valuable conversation, and the GOP might have a shot at survival.