July 21, 2004
Why I'm Not a Republican (Part Three): My unsuccessful quest to

[ Part I & Part II ]

Every group of individuals has its vices and Republicans are simply no different. Why am I not a Republican? If I had to answer the question in only four words, I'd say "because Republicans are boring". Be that as it may, my answer clearly begs for more details, and details I shall give. Politics these days seem to be big on promises and low on solutions. My issues with the Republican Party are few, but important.

I'm a regular reader of a fairly neo-conservative, young adult, Christian magazine. Early this year, the magazine launched a campaign and call to social action called "The Revolution". "The Revolution" was designed to be a support network and think-tank for those around the world who are effectively facilitating change and working towards the goal of empowering others in their sphere of influence. When announcing this new campaign, the editor of the magazine commented, "[our] call to social action is bound to make Conservatives uncomfortable." I meditated on this statement for days and since I consider myself conservative, I must say, I took it very personally. I couldn't quite pinpoint what angered me so, but I am now certain it is the outside perception that conservatives aren't concerned with the every-day needs and issues of certain people. What is social justice? Well, in its most basic form, it involves recognizing, championing and advocating for the needs of others unable or un-equipped to do so for themselves. It's really an amoral concept however, it's been distorted by rampant liberalism.

In my most humble opinion, the greatest area in which Republicans lack is their call to social action. While Conservatives are good at rallying behind an issue and driving home a point, the passion and the fire that seems to be lit under the rear-end of every heavy-hitting Democrat often overpowers the less assertive and seldom innovative consistency of your average, nondescript Republican. These days, the words "social, justice, and action" carry a negatively liberal stigma. I'll be the first to admit, I'm guilty of rolling my eyes almost every time I see some "tool organization" blocking traffic in protest over an issue I could really care less about. Liberals have relegated "social justice" to organized protests, petitions, boycotts, screaming matches, and Amnesty International. For a group that claims to be so "progressive", they certainly have adopted old tactics to get their message across. Here in the age of ideas, truth gets pushed to the side by whomever, or whatever can stay in the limelight the longest. We don't need to leave America to find people who need an advocate. Social justice is in our own backyard.

It is un-questionable that American morals find their root in a Judeo-Christian heritage. Dispute me on this if you will, but most of our founding political documents point otherwise. These morals took shape early on as a number of different issues, among them freedom for the slaves, loving thy neighbor as thyself, having compassion for the widow and the orphan, providing for the poor, justice in government, and free speech for all. Today, our interpretation and application of these early foundations is in desperate need of re-evaluation. On the left, our nation has devolved from moral accountability to tolerant, and all-inclusive acceptance. On the right, we have remained inactive and ineffective, on our moral high horses wondering why the rest of the country can't just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps like we did. We've adopted our "pet political doctrine" and rarely stray from the familiar and comfortable arguments. Meanwhile, in the midst of our "pet political issues", people are dying. This death is not physical but economical, emotional, and spiritual. Even worse, this "death" of sorts is in great danger of being inherited by the next generation if we don't make some major changes soon.

I don't say it often, but there are many citizens living in our country who by fault of their own via mental and systematic oppression and poor-self image have been left completely disenfranchised. Disenfranchisement. There's a word Republicans and Conservatives love to hate. I'll admit, it's not my favorite word either, and I don't use it often because it is a term that is grossly misappropriated. Nevertheless, in our aversion to this term, we often forget it is a reality for many in this nation. Even those vaguely familiar with the Biblical "Great Commission" know it involves "binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners...to rebuild...to restore...to renew...". Jesus was in the trenches, getting dirty, meeting needs, and most importantly, empowering the people. Very rarely did he hit people over the head about how and why they arrived at their place of desperation. No, he comforted, gave aid, and most importantly, he empowered others to triumph over their situation and live a higher quality of life. So why are so few Republicans in the trenches encouraging triumph? My first instinct is to assume the view from the cheap seats is better, but to be honest, it's a question I'm still waiting to have answered myself.

While Republicans have developed a distaste for the word "disenfranchised", they have failed to recognize the very moral principles on which our country was founded. Welfare, healthcare, affirmative action, and abortion rights seem to be a hotbed of controversy these days. For the most part, the Republican party makes clear their stance on these issues. Their stance is generally one with which I agree, although I am not so sold on their solutions if and when they exist. It is time for the "problem announcers" to become the "problem solvers". There are times when it feels quite literally like we conservatives are beating the air.

As much as it pains me to concede a strength, in the absence of genuine leadership in key areas, the Democrats have stepped up to the plate and usually end up being the only ones offering any tangible solutions to our nation's dirty laundry. Democrats have spent billions of dollars on ineffective welfare programs and tax initiatives because they were able to convince the general public that they had the "right" solutions. Shady and ineffective as they may be, when it seems Democrats are the only ones doing the talking, "the people" are at a loss. Unfortunately, we live in a country full of people sorely lacking independent judgment and critical thinking skills. These same folks, if left independent of a leader, will become so thirsty for genuine leadership, they will turn on themselves and as Michael J. Fox's character "Louis" said in the Liberal movie The American President,

"...crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."
The argument then becomes a question of whether those people drink the sand by educated choice, or do they even know the difference?

Meanwhile, Republicans have successfully become resounding gongs and clanging symbols, but often lack the key ingredient of love and compassion for people in their message. Sometimes, I wonder why liberals don't hate us conservatives even more. In the heat of politics and getting the upper hand, I sometimes grapple with whether or not "love" is even there. Even with my outright bluntness and hard stance on many issues, very rarely can I actually stomach the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Republicans have banished themselves and become the predictable nightmare we call "a political party". At times, their policy is like watching paint dry. Dull, dry, unaffected, lacking innovation. I fear the constant yapping and rodomontade against affirmative-action and preferential treatment every time the word "race" is mentioned or the terribly mundane "abstinence education" rhetoric is beginning to get bloody old. Surely in all the wisdom and knowledge accessible to men, there is something more comprehensive that can be brought to the table?

This era begs for an innovative sound. Conservatives cannot afford to be boring. It pains me that day in and day out, I can watch Hannity & Colmes and The O'Reilly Factor (although Bill is a personal favorite), or read The National Review and World Magazine and hear the same dull ranting, raving and "partyspeak". The Republican answer is often predictable and aged. It is time for the innovators to emerge and shape the conservative culture of the 21st century. The issues are complex and will take more than much of our run-of-the-mill conservative legislation. The more I examine the major issues impacting our nation, and for me specifically, the black community, the more I realize the inadequacy of any sole political party's ability to play god.

(Final Part Four Forthcoming)

Posted by Ambra at July 21, 2004 05:00 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


You are on point and i respect your not taking things on face value. In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, just permanent interests. If we aren't clear about what our interests we will continue to be hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray by so-called liberals and conservatives alike. We need to take the costumes and nice names off of White supremacy policies and practices and address them for what they are. No one can save us but us. In life you get what you accept and if you don't know the difference between what is good for you and what is bad for you, shame on you.

Posted by: Wyking at October 29, 2004 09:00 AM

Although I disagree with what you say about conservatives irking away from social justice (that's what made me a conservative in the first place, only I view social justice as attainable in an Adam Smith fashion), I did enjoy reading it.

Posted by: Chase at November 8, 2004 04:31 PM

That article was almost painful to read. I know you think you are a good writer, but after reading your endless article as to why your not a republican, all I got out of it is that you are simply a confused individual. You don't seem to be able to grasp the concept of personal responsability and how republicans view what the governments role in their life should be. Also, do yourself a favor and drop the racial slant because it's the year 2004 and it's really getting old. I know you were raised to be a democrat and it's hard to let go of that. (Once a victim, always a victim.) May I suggest you limit your articles to 250 words or so. It may help you in getting a more concise point across.
Have a nice day.
JP Mika

Posted by: jeff at November 27, 2004 03:08 AM

Hi, I must say that your article(s) were wel spoken, intelligent, cohesive, and, most importantly, yours.

Well spoken.

Posted by: James at December 25, 2004 04:55 AM

I stumbled upon your site several days ago through Michelle M's blog. It has quickly become one of my favorite daily reads. Your writing is honest, articulate, and thought provoking. I have especially been "touched" by your strong faith. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by: Angela at January 14, 2005 10:57 AM

Please, please, please do not listen to Jeff or JP Mika or whatever his name is. First of all, there aren't a lot of bloggers who write well enough to merit very extended reading (which is why I'm growing tired of many blogs)... it's either senseless rambling or just unfulfilling blurbs (sorry instapundit). Don't let naysayers who can't sustain attention for more than a soundbite's worth of reading change your style.

Secondly, as a conservative of your generation (24) living in a nearly equally liberal city (Austin) I can attest that you are right on that Republicans give those of us who are willing to defend conservative thinking very little reason to get excited about their party.

Now I disagree that it's the government's role to address every single one of the ills that society faces but I don't think you're saying that either. It seems to me like you're saying that Republicans can't even explain to people that they CARE what happens to the poor or cast out or whatever. At least the Democrats can get that across (however shallow that caring may really be) even if their solutions are as bad or worse than the problem.

Anyway, to Jeff or JP or Mika or whatever, read the entire series a little more carefully (I know that's difficult since it's soooo loooonnggg but maybe Ambra can come up with a 250 word Cliff Notes version for you?) and you'll see that the Conservative ideas of personal responsibility and limited government are abundantly expressed. Have a nice day.

Posted by: Adoniram Lipton at January 19, 2005 11:06 PM

Archives Columns