Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Fall of the Republican Empire

The Fall of the Republican Empire
By Jeremy S Hobbs

“They’ll be Back, Don’t think for a minute that they want”, starts the article written by Leonard Pitts in Sundays Ledger-Enquirer Voices section referring to the Republican party. He referred to death in politics as death in Marvel comics, and for those of us out there that follow the comics, the dead don’t stay too dead too long.

The main points of the article were that Republicans will be formulating and grooming and doing whatever it takes to get back on top. And he is absolutely right. Already we see and hear about the grooming of Sarah Palin for office. Just yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that said “Sarah Palin for Vice President”, but had the word Vice marked through as to say “Sarah Palin for President”.

He wrote, “Republicans have won power largely by convincing voters that strange and exotic others were to blame for all their ills. It’s the feminists’ fault, they said. Or the blacks. Or the Hispanics, the Muslims, or the gays. The names change, but the playbook remains the same, the appeal to fear unchanging. Your way of life is threatened by these people and only we, the GOP, can save you.” He goes on to write, “Indeed, ‘let us save you from them’ has been arguably the GOP’s most enduring message for four decades, a promise to people shaken by change that the party will repeal the 60’s and reinstate the 50’s. And never mind that this would mean returning women to the kitchen, Muslims to invisibility, gays to the closet, and blacks to the back of the bus.”

As I have been saying for a while now, Republicans are not on the same page with most Americans. In fact, they are still a chapter or two behind. I, being a Republican, couldn’t agree more with Mr. Pitts. For the past six years, I have watched the Republican party crumble before my eyes. It didn’t just start this year, we have been loosing for a while. We have lost the Senate, the House, and now the White House all because they are unwilling to listen to what American people are saying, what it is that they really want.

Pitts wrote, “Consider the recent rallies around the country in response to the passage of anti-gay initiatives in several states. Consider the defiant signs and the upraised voices in the face of setback and ask yourself if those look like people who are about to go meekly and complaisantly back to the shadows.” I think not! Because I for one will not.

I am proud of Wanda Sykes for coming forth about her being gay and finally standing up because she felt this attack to be personal, as do I. Sykes said “Now, I gotta get in their face…I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be a black woman, and I’m proud to be gay.” Sykes said, “I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn’t feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life. Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay.”

She and I both share that statement, because if you know me personally, then you know I am gay. I don’t go around flaunting it or throwing it up into people’s faces, in fact for a long time I have sat back and listened to members of my own party unknowingly condemn me and my lifestyle. They say that I am Godless and that I am evil and a plague upon society. Well, they have not a clue about who I am or what they are even talking about. I live my life helping others, everyone, not just gays. I speak out for other people’s needs and wants and issues. I care about all life and I sure as hell don’t consider myself evil. As for God, I am a saved Christian and I believe in Jesus’ teachings, because I live my life according to the words written in red. I learned in life to “Judge not, for ye shall be judged” It’s not our place to tell people how to live their lives. And I will not answer to man for life choices I make, I have but one person to atone to, and that is God. It hurts and wounds me that others get to decide for me who I should marry and how I should live my life. To each, their own. The Republican party that preaches “lesser government” does more to dictate how we should live our lives and whom we should live them with. That alone voids out my right to the pursuit of happiness. And people when they marry; they do so because each mate makes the other happy. Now, I think the LGBT groups must be willing to listen as well. Since Abraham had many wives, marriage has been between a man and a woman. So, heterosexual couples feel we are infringing on something they have held sacred since the beginning of time. So, we shouldn’t try and offend. We need to drop the issue of the word marriage. We must create and have our own unions, something that is special and unique to us. We must work to create new laws to adopt passage of Civil Unions. Straight folks can be “married” and Gays, well, we can be “united.” In this world, you have to give a little to get a little in return. We have to work with each other and show we don’t want to offend others, we just want a government and state recognized legal civil union. Is that asking for so much? We want to be able to wear a ring on our finger and tell others about the person we share our lives with everyday, because I know I have heard so many stories about this person’s husband or wife, but I can never openly relate. Most folks just want to hide the fact that their gay and tell them, they don’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend or tell them “No I’m not married”, when in fact others like I have who been with the same person for the past nine years believe in the promise of commitment and love and I would love to be able to talk about him as my husband instead of a as a cousin or friend and be recognized publicly for that kind of mutual hard work and commitment that it takes to keep each other happy and together. We are not the scourges upon humanity. We are human beings that deserve the right to be with the ones we love legally and openly.

As Shakespeare once wrote,“To thine own self be true.” Right now we have Retired Generals who are finally coming to grips that gays are just as good of soldiers as heterosexual ones. We just recently heard that several well-respected Ret. Generals are calling for an end to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy, saying Gays should be able to live their lives openly as who they are instead of having to live a secretive lie. The Ret. Generals believe it shouldn’t be a question or issue at all. Gay soldiers give their life just the same as every other soldier to protect our freedoms and to protect you and I, the very same ones the Republican Party continues to try and limit and take away from gays. Republicans think we are unfit to be parents, when in fact children of gay parents excel in schools and do well socially with other students. Any child that learns the beauty of tolerance will go far in life, because they don’t have all the stigmas to blind them along the way. Children blinded by histories of prejudice in their upraising grow up to learn and portray the ugliness of cruelty, hate, and indifference.

I have people that urge me all the time to change parties, because they say the Republican Party doesn’t care about my needs or me. But you see, it isn’t just about me. I became a Republican because of the diversity of Abraham Lincoln by having a Democrat as his Vice President, who true wasn’t that great of a guy, in fact he was responsible for bringing a halt to civil rights and equal treatment for blacks in the south. Thank God Lincoln didn’t have to live to see all that he worked for reversed by the guy he chose as his own Vice President. I became a Republican because it was Lincoln who said enough is enough and made the mandate to end slavery in the south, because he felt all men were created equal. I became a Republican because of the great leadership of Theodore Roosevelt who was the Father of Conservation and Big Stick Diplomacy. Roosevelt brought excitement back into the White House and Roosevelt became a "trust buster" by forcing the great railroad combination in the Northwest to break apart. President, Roosevelt saw himself a representative of all the people, including farmers, laborers, white collar workers, and businessmen. Roosevelt focused on bringing big business under stronger regulation so that he could effectively serve all the people he represented. He sought to regulate, rather than dissolve, most trusts. Roosevelt was responsible for the building of the Panama Canal and his skills in foreign policy helped to dissolve the disputes over Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Morocco. I became a Republican because as a child I was moved by the passion of President Ronald Reagan who helped put an end to the Soviet Union, by befriending Gorbachev who he convinced and challenged publicly to tear down the Berlin Wall. But most importantly, Reagan brought in a period of positivism and belief in the US when pessimism reigned because of the Carter years. These are the reasons I became a Republican. But it seems members of my own party seem to forget our Republican history by not working with other nations and befriending them to help create success. By making laws to treat people as different and single them out and by catering only to big business. This is not what the Republican Party was built on.

The American people are tired of the Republican games, as am I. Will I change parties? Never! Because I know we can heal ourselves from within. We can return to the fundamentals that our party was created upon. To represent all people, not just the elite. To open up the lines of communications abroad, yes even with our enemies. To listen to the needs of the people instead of trying to conform our society to some outdated ideology. To treat and legislate all men and women as equals. Our parties narrow mindedness has been its own destruction, because as Pitts wrote, “hope will always, eventually, triumph over fear.”

As Pitts writes, “It is past time the party recognizes this, that it chucked the old playbook and evolved a new strategy that asks people to vote for their hopes and not just their fears.” And I would like to include in that, that this party start speaking from their own hearts and their own minds, instead of saying what their party wants and expects them to say. Americans are tired of seeing the two-faces of the parties. People preaching and condemning something, then turning around and doing the same thing they condemned themselves. We need to expand our views, only then can we change and grow. If the Republican party ever wants to catch up and get back on the same page of Today’s America, then they will have to learn to adapt, to change, to listen, and maybe, then they can grow. That is what America is all about. Changing constantly for the better idea. We can no longer try to stand in the way and put up blockades in the path of progress, because change, like hope, will always, eventually triumph over fear and narrow mindedness. There have always been those cynics who would say, “It can’t be done”, or even those who said Science was witchcraft, and just a few years ago, there were those who said, “There never will be an African American President in our lifetime.” We have proven them wrong time and time again, and today, the American people have proven them wrong again by standing up and answering the call for change and saying, “Yes We Can!”

We are all Americans, you and I. Each of us has a part in this society. Each of us deserves the same and equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, that America has segregated the Republican Party from power, perhaps they can now see how it feels to be treated as different, to feel that their voice doesn’t matter and is hampered by a majority of others. When you try and divide, you only end up destroying yourselves. And for the past six years our party has seen the cost of its division and its archaic ideology. It’s time to rewrite the book on how we plan to conduct ourselves, on dealing with the issues that are important to the majority of Americans. It’s time we open our eyes and see all Americans as one and stop trying to single out certain groups. America is all about diversity. It is what has made us a world leader. We look abroad and see governments that haven’t learned the power of diversity clash and bomb each other or even worse try and eradicate an entire race. There is no diversity there and that is why they continue to fail to evolve, to change, and to grow. As history shows us, only when we are at peace, only when we reach out to others, only when we stand up against monarchies, dictatorships, and yes, even big business, only then did we truly grow.

If we, the Republican Party can learn to grow and adapt to the world we live in, then yes, We will be back! Our work is cut out for us and the journey will be hard. But our party has risen time and time again, because we put away our hatred and put away our prejudices and opened up our hearts and souls, listened with our ears, and learned to love and grow and worked to help better mankind. We’ve done it before, and now we must do it again. Pitts states, “I’d like to think the Republicans will at least give it some thought. It’s not like they have a whole lot else to do.” Well, he is wrong, because we have a lot to do. And it takes starting now, listening now, changing the fundamentals of our party that no longer meet the needs of most Americans, throwing out the old playbooks and starting anew. Working together, we can transform our party and maybe even ourselves. We just have to be willing to let it go, move forward, adapt to change, bring forth hope, and give the American people something to be for, instead of something to be against. Right now, the American people are against something. They are against the narrow minded and prejudice ideology of what the Republican party represents. If you don’t believe me, just look at the last six years of elections. We have fallen from grace each time, and every time we still stood firm to our beliefs, unwilling to change and alter course, until it cost us everything we worked so hard to achieve.

Now the tables are turned and Obama like Reagan now has the opportunity to bring an end to the pessimism of the Bush and Republican years and bring in a new era of positivism and belief in the US, that once again “Yes, We Can!” It wasn’t just a Democrat who won the White House; it was the voice of change, the better idea that took the Senate, the House, and now, the White House. It’s time to evolve and grow up and it starts right now.

Reference:
Leonard Pitts: Miami Herald, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Voices Page 4, “Give us something to be for – not just to be against”

Wanda Sykes: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer A-2 November 17, 2008 “Sykes Proud to Be Gay”

Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt: Wiki-Pedia Accomplishments Sections