Second Thoughts for
October 14, 2009
If I read the line “one of the last of the Senate moderate Republicans” about Olympia Snowe one more time, I will be forced to start the movement to have her bronzed. She has helped craft legislative compromises long before Health Care Reform 2009.
Snowe is a very strong individual who happens to be a woman. To be a moderate anything these days takes strength. It is far easier to kick in and join the noisy activists mid to extreme right/left, politically speaking.
I have always been that “child among us taking notes.” During the socially and politically stultifying 1950s, things were safe and easy going. The war had been won by a great Republican who we elected to the highest office. Being Republican, being middle class, being just like everyone else was important. What I now know as northern European values (what I formerly thought were American values) ruled.
Adali Stevenson was the Darth Vader in that landscape. “Eisenhower’s got the power, Stevenson’s a jerk” was what kids were chanting then and no one called the principal to have General Eisenhower “Ike” called out.
My father was that rarest of species – an upper class Democrat. My mother was a Republican. As a Democratic Committeeman anxious about his future, Dad took mother by the hand and led her to the court house to re-register. Once a Democrat, she cried all the way home. Mom was not Olympia Snowe. She could not craft a compromise. She had a sick husband whom she loved and so she cried. She became a Republican in hiding.
There are rarely simple or easily discerned reasons for why we do what we do; are what we are. Certainly the 196os found reason and simplicity under siege. It was NOT a time to be Republican. If you were, as I was, a college student, you had to be very left of reasonable. There were few Republicans at the epicenter of the upheaval of those times.
Through the decades that followed, as a nation, we began to develop the political schizophrenia that has become so clinically pronounced now. We voted in Democrats – they seemed to take us too far left, we became uncomfortable so we elected the good old Republicans. But then we felt the good old Republican ideas were just that, old, and we swung back toward the forward thinking Democrats who once again took us one toke over the line as it were.
At this moment, a large and ethnically more diverse population has been convinced by Democrats of this generation that they alone grasp and control the key issues; that they alone have the appropriate answers. They have convinced the diverse and the disenfranchised that they alone speak the language of the dispossessed and are the most understanding and well equipped to satisfy their needs.
Now all of this begins to feel rather stultifying – like the 1950s. Right now in this time it is again important to be like everyone else. Whether you are a registered Democrat or not, you had better act like one. As key issues are debated in a Democratically controlled Congress, it appears that the only Republicans who can effectively function on that playground of bullies are those that have been declared an “endangered species” – the moderate Republicans. The Democrats know how to separate them from the herd.
So now the Democrats have convinced most of America that they are the party of all the people and that all Republicans are the party of the both the pompous elites or outrageous Okies. They only acknowledge the “useful” moderate members of the House and Senate. They have convinced us that ALL Republicans are now conservatives and/or members of the far right.
This is a call to all moderate Republicans to step forward and have a national conversation with others in the Republican Party spectrum. Do we try to forge a winning coalition or should the moderates follow the disenchanted herd to the independent camp? Stand up and be counted. I just have. I don’t want to have to hide like my mother.