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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What Now?

Before I begin my diatribe against the GOP, I want to offer my perspective on last night and my personal standing with President-elect Obama.

If you take out the specific policies and philosophies of the players, last night was an amazing event. A black person was elected leader of the free world in a country that is consistently raked across the coals by her own citizens for being evil in regard to racism. I hope that this brings the nation to a new realization about race, and racism. I hope this new realization is the truth of the matter as I have known it for decades. Racism in this country is not, and has not been for some time, what you hear in the media and from the Rainbow Coalition and NAACP.

I say that because I was born in Montgomery, Alabama. My mother was raised in Montgomery literally on a section of street between the Governor’s mansion and Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Dr. King was pastor. She lived there during the bus boycotts, lunch counter sit-ins, the Selma to Montgomery march, and the violence of the movement. I have lived in the south my entire life, with the exception of a relatively brief period in St. Louis when I was young and my trips in the military. I currently live in a suburb of Birmingham, home of Bull Conner and the 16th Street Baptist Church where bombings killed black children.

I was a deputy sheriff with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. There are people who worked there in the late 1990s who participated in some of the incomprehensible acts against protestors. There are those in the city who won’t call the police to this day because of their experiences as youth. Montgomery is a city that is divided along what many say are racial lines. Whites move east and blacks move east into the subdivisions abandoned by whites. The lines are more economic than racial. Montgomery is home to the largest Air Force training base. Much of the citizenship is comprised of retired Air Force personnel.

Race was not a factor last night, except for the segment of the black population that voted FOR a race. Were it not for enormous numbers of white dems, Obama would not have been elected. Obama won the state of Mississippi! That is the home of more institutionalized racism in our nation than any other one state. I hope that we can put some of the racial politics behind us now. (As an aside - Jesse Jackson was in tears at the Obama rally. Was he crying from happiness for Obama and black America, or because Obama was taking Jackson’s place on stage?)

I think Obama had an incredible presence last night during his acceptance speech. It was amazing to see the crowd and the way they respond to him. His speech was a summation of his campaign – hope and energy and affirmation. McCain conceded in the manner befitting his character, very gracious and supportive and complimentary of Obama. I couldn’t help but wonder last night where that John McCain had been for the last 12 months. Had his presence and persona been at the debates, it might be a different story. Regardless, Obama will be my President. He will receive my support and prayers. He will encounter my political dissent on issues at times, but we will all work for a better, stronger America.

So what does the GOP need to do for the next four years? We need to do exactly as I have been saying for about the last eight years. We need to return to our conservative principles and find new faces and personalities. We need to govern, and lead, and grow out of the moderate mold. We spent so much time trying to get in power before 1994, and then after we won we acted like the war was over! We stopped doing what we had done to achieve power, and it didn’t take long to lose it. We became exactly what we fought against – selfish, short sighted, power hungry, negligent, sluggish, and lazy. Instead of concentrating of working to make progress and solidify America, we spent our years trying to hold on to our power by being moderate.

We need new faces. Palin is hot, energetic, Reaganesque in her politics and philosophy, and not ready for the top billing on the ticket. I hope Rove works his magic and gets her ready for something in 2012. Aside from her, we have to find young energetic people. We have to refuse the coronation of the person who has earned their turn at the nomination as determined by the establishment. We have to insist that the party revert back to 1980 thinking and add to the mix 21st century methods.

We need conservatism. People want to feel safe and secure in their leaders. They want their society to be valuable, and valued. They want the title of American to mean strength, and good will. Power, and discretion. Wealth, and charity. Self-reliance, yet compassion. Marriage should mean something. Religion has a place in society, just as it has every society since the beginning of time. War has a place, as does diplomacy.

Finally, the GOP needs to listen to the base of the party. Some will say that the conservative values of Reagan and the Moral Majority have passed. That those people should be shunned from our party. The opposite is true. Those people have seen the strong party of 1984 and 1994 walk away from their beliefs and ideas. They have been left behind as we try to look good in polls. They have seen us try to be friends with Brutus.

Conservatives have work to do. In the next four years we should work with President Obama in good will and good faith. We should work toward finding those areas where we can agree. We should move forward as one in actions that strengthen America. In those many areas where there can be no agreement, we must fight every step of the way and let the citizenry decide the final outcome of the issue. We must rebuild the GOP to be what it is supposed to be, and forget polls and elections.

We must start within our house, and not worry about what is happening across the street.

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rockync said...

Great post as usual. And I agree with your assessment except that I think both parties would benefit by working together to strengthen America while returning to their core principles and re-centering their party platforms.
But I think it would be a mistake to ignore the moderate independents like me. With so many people to represent, there must always be room for compromise - there are those principles which won't be negotiable, but everything can't be a fight. We have to find common ground and then RESPECT each others' differences.

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

Rocky, I don't disagree with respecting the differences as a rule of thumb. I will be honest and tell you that there are some opinions that I can't respect because I simply cannot accept that there is anything good to that which is posited.

I also think that both parties play too much to the moderates just to get votes. We know that basically 40% of peope vote dem, and 40% of people vote republican and the elections hinge on the other 20% in the middle. But sometimes moderates just have to make up their minds on an issue because both parties have their beliefs and there isn't much gray area to be found. Some things are clearly black/white, left/right. Recentering is a point with some merit, but the base of the respective parties are just as important as moderates. it does little good to pander to the 20%, and lose 30% when you ignore your base.

It happened last night.

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece Robert, and I hope you don't mind me linking to it!

We strayed from conservatism and we payed a high price indeed!

rockync said...

I'm not sure if the GOP straying from their conservative base is really the problem. I don't think they pandered to me, in fact, I feel pretty much ignored by the right.
Look, I do choose the candidate I'll vote for based on the issues most important to me at the time. I am a strong supporter of the second amendment which is historically not a Dem strong point. But this election my biggests concerns were the economy and foreign relations. I don't want to debate these issues; I think we've all had enough, I just want to tell you how I see the GOP from a moderate's point of view.
POW not withstanding, McCain is a silver spooner and completely out of touch with the people who inhabit my world. I don't think he was a bad choice for candidate, just the wrong choice. Palin was a poor choice -- her golly gee rhetorical speeches sounded stilted and memorized. I got no sense of compassion or sincerity from her. She also did not have the knowledge base to compete. Quite frankly, pushing her "Barracuda" moniker was probably a mistake. While she may someday be useful in a national government position, I really don't think she was ready for one of the top two jobs, nor do I think she'll be ready in 2012. I think the GOP did her a huge disservice by trotting her out like one trick pony. A flashy move that lacked substance and then they threw her under the bus.
This is the 21st century and the times they are a'changin'. Isolationism just isn't going to cut it anymore. We are part of a global environment and we can't roll up the carpets, lock all the doors and hide under the bed. Neither can we romp the globe like mindless Huns in some slash and burn campaign.
I'm also quite disturbed by how blurry the division between church and state has become. I respect the right of all Americans to worship - or not - as they see fit. No one has the right to decide what our beliefs should be. I know a couple of atheists, they are very moral people but they are very entrenched in their beliefs. I don't try to convert them as I don't try to dissuade Catholics from their beliefs or anyone else. I have my own set of spiritual beliefs. Preaching belongs in the pulpit; not in legislature. Each person that serves in our government brings with them their spiritual core and I'm sure they vote accordingly. Things like prayer in school would not be such a big issue if parents took the time to gather their offspring in the morning for a short prayer before everyone heads off to their busy days. You don't have to tell me how difficult that is, I raised four boys and worked full time. My point is that you have the right to raise your children as you see fit but I won't support a bill for prayer in schools that infringes on other parents' rights. Sex education is another matter. While I think teens should get accurate info as to how our bodies work, the subject of birth control vs abstinence and gay vs heterosexual relationships should be left to parents to discuss with their children according to their beliefs. Kids will grow up and choose their own path anyway; mine did.
I guess what I'm getting at is the all or nothing at all mentality of the GOP. There has to be room for compromises in some areas - you simply can't disenfranchise half the country and expect to get anywhere.
Now, the door has been opened and, if Obama actually manages to pull off a save - even a partial one - the GOP base will shrink even further.
I have no argument for the GOP restoring it's former platform, just that they will need to look at it from all sides to see how it "plays in Peoria." And I'm not talking about pandering but rather thoughtful anaylsis.
As far as "respect" goes, I don't respect all of other people's views either and there are those creatures who are so reprehensible that no respect is possible, but honest, productive Americans get my respect as people who have a right to their beliefs even if I don't agree with them.
Many people are not ignorant, deluded, lazy, evil, etc (ad nauseum) but rather they have taken their life experiences and developed their beliefs. You might change their minds with thoughtful debate, but never with insults.
FYI - I am NOT directing that at you or anyone who comments here. The reason I hang out at the blogs I do is for the intelligence combined with the respect and tolerance. But I am not ignorant of all the derogatory and inflamatory arrows that have been shot back and forth. I have as little in common with the right wingnuts as I do with the left wingnuts!
Instead of useful debate, these types have served only to further divide this country. We cannot afford to be a country divided.
Sorry, Robert, I seem to be rather long winded!

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

As always, Rocjy, you are welcome to be as long winded as you like.

Not much time to respond in depth at the moent and will do so again later. Just wanted you to know you were being heard....

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

As always, Rocjy, you are welcome to be as long winded as you like.

Not much time to respond in depth at the moent and will do so again later. Just wanted you to know you were being heard....

Anonymous said...

Great post and blog. I'm looking forward to reading more posts from you.

I would gladly add you to my blogroll if you're willing to add me to yours.

Robert said...

Welcome Christopher....Drop back in here Saturday about 1230-100. We can discuss it then!

I will take a look at your site. Meanwhile, come back tomorrow for a big announcement....

david@israel said...

yes its really great that now there is no difference in skin colour and black person became president.but where is conversation? where is the light? where is positive changes?
and another thing i want to add-the tone of your blog is very catchy. you are very optimistic and i can feel it in every your word. even though i maybe dont share your point of view...

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