GOP: Get over the past

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Frequently I get accused of being a hard core conservative. The truth is, I am not. Yes, I support many conservative views, but I also support my share of liberal views. It’s why I do not like these labels we place on people who state an opinion that leans one way or the other.

As I have expressed many times in the past, it is my belief the problem with straight forward liberalism is it continually enables people who I call non-contributors, the 15 percent of our population who simply take, take, take, without offering any of us any hope of ever giving back to society.

However, the people labeled as hard core conservatives are no better. Seriously, am I the only person who sees Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter as venom spewing hate mongers? Whenever they open their mouths, they set back conservatives’ hopes for ever having any real voice in government. Their level of hate borders on fanatical and that, to me, is as dangerous as any other fanatical movement we face.

Sarah Palin recently opened her mouth and all it did was lead to an immediate increase in donations to the Democratic Party. When Mike Huckabee speaks, no one but the nuttiest conservatives listen. The “left wing” media loves it because it helps prove their claim that all conservatives are a threat to the nation. Fox News loves it when these people speak because they target the limited audience to which these nut jobs represent.

As I see it, this conservative group of fanatics and their followers just cannot accept the past and as a result, they spend their resources, time, and voice to trying to undo it rather than to offer up ways to move forward as a united nation. In the end, this only guarantees defeat for the GOP.

Case in point, abortion. Why does the GOP continue fighting this battle? It can’t be for moral reasons or even religious ones because they have no problem killing innocent civilians half way around the world with bombing raids or executing people housed in prison. They refuse to accept over 40 years ago the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade or recognize numerous Supreme Courts since then, most of whom were appointed by conservative presidents, have yet to over turn it. On top of this, they somehow disregard the polling numbers that show a majority of the nation favors abortion rights. Why then does the GOP continue this fight even when they know many, perhaps even most, of its base feels this is a road that leads to defeat? It’s time they pick a fight over something that will benefit the entire nation.

There is also the GOP stance on gay marriage. Hard core conservatives have no trouble forgetting the separation of church and state. They forget their God can still look down on those they feel are sinful and will pay the price when they die but cannot remember to uphold the law of the land, one that again the majority of Americans support. In other words, they forget they have been elected to serve the people and not their God. Besides, can they explain what good it will do to our country if they undo laws that support gay marriage? Will it result in more jobs for the middle class they claim to be concerned about? Will it secure the border they view as a sieve? Will it lead to more acceptance of minority groups who have a history of mistreatment? Despite all this, the GOP just won’t let it go.

Another fight the GOP is taking on is universal health care. While I agree with conservatives that the Affordable Care Act is poorly written and punishes people by forcing them to purchase something they may not want, let alone be able to afford, the people have spoken and clearly want it. Rather than tossing it out, can the GOP offer up affordable coverage that does what Obama Care fails to do? Can they develop a plan that actually controls the cost of medicine and prescriptions? Can they, for the sake of my aching knee, shoulder, neck, and elbow, fix what is wrong with the ACA rather than just get it tossed out? As best as I can remember, it’s not even like health care was all that great in America prior to President Obama.

Finally, why can’t hard-core conservatives put down their martinis and put out their cigars and forget about marijuana? In fact, forget about fighting the drug war all together. Like Vietnam, it has been too long and too costly and has only resulted in an embarrassing defeat. Americans want to get high. Instead of turning to booze, more and more prefer to simply get baked after a miserable day of work. Let them. Can’t you convince Budweiser they have a ready-made product name and can cash in big time by legalizing marijuana?

The GOP didn’t always live in the past. Abe Lincoln favored emancipating slaves because he saw an America moving forward from its agrarian roots to one that was going to be more industrialized. As recently as Ronald Reagan, the GOP saw a vision of a nation moving beyond its Cold War politics and becoming a beacon for other nations to follow.

It’s time the GOP face what is before all of us and to start offering something more than simply doing away with policies the people support but what the party opposes. It’s time they offer solutions to the problems we face down the road, problems that affect all people, liberal, conservative, and moderate. If they can do this, there might actually be hope for the future of the GOP. However, if they continue to look backward, they will only become a thing of the past.