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)