Big Tent Blues

by Tiberius Gracchus on November 3, 2013

Even here in South Dakota the Republican Party continues to grapple with the continual argument to ‘evolve’ and expand the party’s platform to better attract voters. Ha! The Republican Party’s biggest errors have come from allowing the piggybacking of interests that are not within the confines of the principles that originally formed our party. To dilute the purity of our party’s founding interests to further short-sighted interests will dull its magnetism and threaten to splinter its integrity. The soundness of any monument relies on a foundation that doesn’t shift. It’s a shame that we must categorize different types of Republicans based on their level of commitment. The first members of the Republican Party continued the drum beat of freedom started by the American founders.

Classical liberalism and present day American political conservatism sprang forth from the Age of Enlightenment. From our thirteen colonies came patriots whose foremost mission became liberty. That recognition and need for freedom was so great it changed the nature of every following generation like an echo. It was a time when we were expanding the trust in mankind and tearing it away from the old ‘god’ of absolutist government. The belief that man needed to depend on government for everything including entry into heaven was shattered. The founders knew that even faith would flourish if it wasn’t mandated by the state, as it was in the European tyrannies they left behind. How cruel and shocking to wake up in such a world where to believe in one’s own freedom was not just unique but dangerous to many societies.

The principles of the Republican Party hearken back to those desires that the original citizens embraced while pounding out the government that would protect their rights. We know that allowing people to exercise their own free will sparks prosperity through the resulting industry they create. By mid 19th century Americans dissatisfied by the compromising of the rights of man could no longer tolerate the extreme injustice of the institution of slavery and its further expansion. They began to shear away from their former parties to get behind the banner of a party that respected freedom foremost. The belief of Republicans that government existed at the approval of the governed was integral.

The integrity of the party platform is crucial to its durability through the years. It’s frustrating to have one Republican’s inexcusable votes thrown at you like a grenade during a political debate. Some Republicans struggle to maintain adherence to the principles choosing to fight the easy battles only. Others can be opportunists that look to the Republican ticket as a vehicle for the attainment of power. Elected Republican Party members can fail their voters, but the idea that centered the party originally cannot fail since it is simply a defense of man’s natural rights.

The Republican Party cannot evolve past the limits of liberty because it is a drummer boy that keeps the passion for limited government alive so past tyrannies do not become repeated. Those that would suggest ways to make our party ‘big tent’ inevitably propose using the power of government to promote outside interests. They must respect that the power of our government starts with the individual. Republicans look to the guarantee of our individual freedoms found in the Bill of Rights. A true Republican respects the choices and rights of the individual foremost and knows his tent excludes no one.

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