Since publishing my ballot and reasons, I’ve come under fire *once again* regarding my loyalty to the Republican party. From YR chairmen to GOP county chair leaders, my worthiness (and apparently right to continue to participate) is on the line. I was even chastised for spending ‘too much time’ in the ballot box. Informed and thoughtful voters be damned! Not only that, but my principles have been called into question for committing the ultimate sin and not casting a straight ballot, so… I figured if I characterized Republicanism in my own words, maybe people would have a better understanding.
Republic: Republican: (of a form of government, constitution, etc.) belonging to, or characteristic of a republic.
Republicanism: the ideology of governing a society or state as a republic (la. res publica), where the head of state is a representative of the people who hold popular sovereignty rather than the people being subjects of the head of state.
I think we all (would like to think we) have a firm understanding of the political and policy definition of ‘Republican’, but as far as within the party and the membership card, where do we stand? What does that mean?
Something I noticed since voting is that Libertarians are happy if you vote for one or for all four of their candidates on the ballot. They are truly grateful for even one of your votes, even a consideration, and express a genuine concern for why you didn’t on the others. I have personally experienced this myself. Naturally, it made me wonder when Republicans stopped doing this? When did we garner our own sense of ‘GOP entitlement’ that we deserve votes and don’t have to thank people for them? (Side note, but try to keep this in mind for later.)
If you look to the GAGOP website, it’s cloaked individualism and freedom. In giant letters, the message is resounding. 2 of my 3 favorite words. Maybe 2 of my 5 or 7 favorite…I like words. I digress.
But most importantly, I agree. As a Republican, I do choose freedom. Freedom to expand the party outside of what it has been. Freedom to question, to think, to challenge. Freedom to change my mind, to call out a wrong, to expect better. The freedom to know that I can step away when it’s not fitting just right, but return when it is. The freedom to break the unwritten rules without facing a lifetime of exile. The freedom to select various individuals based on what suits me.
I’ve yet to have a conversation with a politically-unplugged friend of any age who fits into a perfect Republican box. But I tell them to come anyway. To vote where they can and try again next time. Republicanism, to me, means that as a voter, you come as you are and we will take what we can get. Being Republican means accepting those that don’t identify as a Republican voting on our tickets. (No more of that shaming nonsense like in CD-10 runoff.)
I believe the Party stands for limited government, not limited discourse. Limited government because individually, we each know what is best for us – not anyone else in regards to anything: healthcare, taxes, social issues, voting, party affiliation. All of it.
I don’t believe being a Republican means force-feeding a plate of food when I’m allergic to all the ingredients. I believe you can hold your nose under the right circumstances. I understand the concept. I held my nose for Romney and for McCain. The candidates were not my first pick but at the time, I was able to reconcile casting a vote for them. So I did. And I probably will again.
I believe the Republican party has deep roots in strong foundations like Washington, Jefferson, Locke and Von Mises. I believe that if you value any of those, you have a purpose. (I’d really like to ditch Lincoln, but no one asked me.)
To me, Republicanism isn’t just about government and it doesn’t just ‘happen’ during election cycles. It isn’t about telling people “you’re either with us or against us”. Being a Republican means that my definition doesn’t have to match yours. It is exactly what they keep telling us it is: individual freedom. In every way possible.
Maybe I believe in something that is already gone or maybe something that is only getting started.