The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

The Last of the RINOs

We are all very surprised and confused by the result of this election. As a liberal Republican, I am no different in my visceral response. Donald Trump has already caused so much damage not only to the image of the party as a whole but also to its very ideals. We must now ask ourselves what the Republican Party even stands for.

In my opinion, it is abominable that a party should go from one that consistently was known for its support for minority rights, to one which has let its racist, homophobic and often corporate supporters take control. Of course, it must be said that not nearly all Republicans are racist or homophobic, but the rhetoric spewed by Trump and other Republican leaders seems to support these positions. We as Republicans need to ask the questions: is this the party we want? Are these the values we espouse and should stand for?

Hate speech is never the answer. Degrading large swathes of the demographic of America is never the answer. The Republican Party has seen a winning strategy in the counterintuitive allegiance between the rural working class and the rich, white business elite. The oppressed and the moderates have all left our party. Though their departure has not changed the outcome of this most recent election, the demonstrations in the streets have certainly shown their powerful effect. With such a divide in ideology and rhetoric, how can anyone ever come before the people and say, “Let us bind up the wounds of America”? I have come to fear that these wounds run too deep for a simple bandage. It must now come from a change in the very nature of our political party system.

The survival of parties of yesteryear was judged by how diverse their ideologies were. The old Republican Party of the 50s and 60s was said to be quite a strong force because it was made up of liberals, moderates and conservatives. It gave options to people like myself, who considered themselves Republicans of a moderate or liberal stance. These times are long gone.

I would argue, however, that we should try our best today to bring back such diversity in our parties. I imagine it would be beneficial for the Republicans to figure out a way to bring back the moderate members, disparagingly referred to as Republicans in Name Only or RINOs, who were forcibly removed during the 90s. Personally, I am one of those people. I choose to identify with the Republicans, but from reading my writings, I am sure you have construed that I share very few of their modern beliefs.

It seems everyone wants a revolution of sorts. Many wish for a more progressive Democratic Party (led by Sanders for example), and many more want an ultra-conservative Republican Party (led by Cruz for example), but the people we all tend to forget are those in the middle. There are many still out there who want more pragmatic solutions to the cases at hand.  They look at issues like racial tensions, the economy or foreign relations, and find themselves not on either extreme side.

I have often had a fear of expressing my opinion because as a white man registered under the Republican Party (though I obviously voted mostly Democrat in this election), I am construed as the poster-child of everything wrong with our society. I have been told I cannot have certain opinions because of that fact. This deeply saddens me. It also deeply saddens me that I live in a society where moderation is viewed as ignorance. Though Barry Goldwater once said, “Extremism in the pursuit of justice is no vice,” increasingly, the extremism of today is moderation, and the status quo is a growing divide between liberals and conservatives. I am afraid if this divide continues to grow, no person on earth could “bind up our wounds.” Certainly, that person is not Donald Trump.


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