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November, 2002

Hug A Republican And Avoid Armageddon!
By Jeanette Pontacq

My father was a blue-collar Republican. He was also a reluctant member of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union even though he admitted that he got more money, worked less time and had better benefits because of it. During the Vietnam War, when he and I were at odds over our respective political stances, I asked him why he was a Republican.

He said it was because that party believed in taking responsibility for oneself, supported those who worked hard and played by the rules, backed business to strengthen the economy and believed in "American" values. Taken at face value, too often as meaningless sound bites, millions and millions of citizens agreed with him then and still do.

At that time, the Republican Party was more or less based on "true" conservative values: less government and more individual initiative, supportive of small business, entrepreneurs and private property rights, isolationist, with a horror of government intrusion into our private lives. Why is it important for the left to know this? Because it may be that the only people who can stop the out-of-control Bush Administration are true conservatives within a Republican party which no longer follows those ideals.

Republicans well know that the party was hijacked completely by the far religious right and a strong corporate movement in the 70s-80s. There was a fight for the soul of the party, but the bad guys won. Unfortunately, my dad's definition of the party was kept as a facade, allowing a lot of very good people to comfortably buy into the now-sacred conservative myth as defined by my Dad.

At the present time, the conservative value of less government and more individual initiative has been translated into deep intrusions in all aspects of our personal lives and quantum jumps in the size of government. The multinational corporations have been allowed to control our financial systems to the detriment of both small business and individual investors. We have now become a true imperialist power, Big Brother to the world, with our foreign policy controlled by the far religious right and the multinationals.

One case in point (among many) is our unwavering support for Israel. No matter what atrocity Sharon commits, we support Israel. Why? One reason is that the religious right have become Christian Zionists and support Israel's expansionist desire to have all of the land once held by Palestinians. Their bible-induced belief is that doing so brings Armageddon, when "most Jews will be killed, but the remainder will be converted to Christianity." Unfortunately, Americans become the target of the justified rage of disenfranchised Palestinians and other Muslims.

Another case in point is the implosion of the stock market. The markets have been deregulated to a level that promotes corruption and greed and skews profits by dishonest accounting practices. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt, like Bush and Cheney, comes from the bowels of corporate corruption and does not consider the American investor his constituency. An average Joe, like my Dad, is expendable except at voting time, when the myth is rolled out again.

Unfortunately, the Democrats have recently proved themselves to collectively be worth less than a bag of spit: no spine, no balls and no understanding of the Constitution. There are, of course, exceptions and god bless 'em. But collectively, as a party, nada.

My opinion is that our national salvation may have to come from the Republican party itself. Politics is a fluid process and often makes strange bedfellows. Rather than the left categorically dismissing "conservative" ideas as "the work of the devil," might it not be more productive to reach out to true conservatives and work with them to redefine the Republican party away from the far religious right? We might find we have stuff in common... like a love of the Constitution.

 

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