Bachmann, Boehner, Pawlenty, Cain – Is the Republican Party Still Sane?
An unnamed professor of mine once had the gall to claim to a small English class that Abraham Lincoln was “our most Constitutional President.” As this was one of many nonsensical comments she made about historical facts regarding the American Civil War era, I confronted her about the matter. “Ma’am, are you aware that Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus and tossed tens of thousands of southern men, women and children in jail without granting them any of their basic Constitutional rights?” Indeed, Lincoln has been recognized as one of the best American Presidents. He is often referenced by Republicans as a hero of the party. “He freed the slaves!” “He saved the Union!” While the Emancipation Proclamation was a brilliant and successful document, it was very similar to what we now call “executive orders.” It was not necessarily a constitutionally viable law. In fact, many scholars argue that the document was really a military measure that sought to bring more men into the Union army by allowing undecided border states to keep slaves, along with northern states, in the hopes that Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, among others, would decide to fight for the North. Slavery was not actually ended until Congress passed the 13th amendment in 1865. The point is that while Lincoln is known as “The Great Emancipator” and an unquestionable advocate of personal freedom, he most certainly was not a “strict constructionist.” Modern teachers inform America’s youth that part of the Republican Party platform is a strict-constructionist ideology. That is, they believe that the founders said what they meant and meant what they said. The Constitution is what we should live by. One greatly important aspect of the Constitution is actually the addendum that was added immediately after the Constitution was ratified. Without the promise of that addendum, pro-freedom advocates would never have allowed its passage. These pro-freedom advocates were known as the Anti-Federalists. Prominent Anti-Federalist Patrick Henry is famous for courageously standing up for individual liberties when he delivered a speech to the Virginia legislature in which he uttered the timeless phrase “give me liberty or give me death.” The addendum that the Anti-Federalists demanded as a prerequisite to their approval, of course, is the Bill of Rights. This list was an incredibly novel experiment in that it protected God-given personal freedoms from government intervention. The founders were not protecting the future of the government. Quite the opposite, they found it necessary to point out that if the government became destructive of the personal freedoms that the people were given by God, then that government should be abolished. In the paradoxical political theater in which we now live, the Republican Party is the party that shuns and shirks our God-given individual freedoms. The Republican Party is the party of rendition. They are the party that wants to crack down on victimless crimes such as the use of marijuana and other drugs that were legal for use until the progressive movement in the first couple decades of the 20th century. Republicans are the party that wants to ban Muslims from building houses of worship in the vicinity of the World Trade Centers. Republicans such as President George W. Bush argue for a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. The Republicans consistently argue against the natural rights of human beings who were born in Mexico and taken into the United States before they could walk or talk. These people had no choice in the matter. Many of them study in school and succeed, but when they graduate from high school they are stuck with no viable options. In a way, it is the Republican anti-freedom ideology that pushes these people into lives of crime. Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain has gone so far as to say that if he is elected President, he will go through extraordinary vetting measures before selecting any Muslims to his White House, due to the increased possibility that they are potential terrorists. It is Cain’s stance that because some Muslims want to incorporate Shari'ah Law into American communities, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government should bar Muslims from building mosques anywhere in the United States, period. This is taking the “Ground-Zero Mosque” issue even further away from personal freedom. If the Republicans, such as Cain, are advocates of a strict-interpretation of the Constitution, how can they so blatantly ignore divine natural rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution? How now does the Republican Party stand for freedom? The broad majority of Republican candidates have lost any modicum of strict-constructionism that they may have once upheld. Therefore, many who join the Republican Party are joining for other reasons. Many support the Republican Party because they are the party of fiscal conservatism. Is this true anymore? The last Republican President was no fiscal hawk. George Bush Junior added trillions of dollars to our federal debt by engaging in two wars and agreeing to the Troubled Asset Relief Program which doled out nearly one trillion dollars to giant Wall Street Corporate Banks while our local banks went broke. Certainly America needed to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and we did. The problem is the notion that it is OK to invade any country we see fit based on the notion that the country could possibly become hostile at some point. The Republican/Bush Doctrine is extremely dangerous. Obama has continued these policies. We are sending drones into the sovereign airs of Pakistan, Libya and even Yemen to bomb their countries with absolutely no Constitutional or Congressional authority. Of course, this is another idea that is unquestionably antithetical to a strict-constructionist ideology. Imagine if Russia saw southern Canadian provinces as being a potential future threat to their liberty and decided to send drones to bomb those provinces. This might sound bizarre, but it is directly analogous to what we are doing in the Middle East. There are many fundamental problems with the contemporary Republican Party beyond foreign policy. They are no longer the party of the Constitution. They are no longer the party of freedom. They are no longer the party of natural rights. Many prominent registered Republicans are not even calling themselves Republicans anymore. Sean Hannity consistently labels himself as a “Reagan Conservative.” Others claim to lean towards the Libertarian Party. It is no surprise that there has been a massive movement towards the new “Tea Party,” which advocates for traditional Republican values of personal responsibility and individual freedoms. I am, by no means, saying that the Democrat Party is some kind of brilliant alternative to the Republican Party. I am simply saying that every American should decide each issue on its own merits before casting a vote. Look; I understand that our country must balance national security with individual freedom. We are doing this now with the TSA scans in airports. The government is instructing officials to give elderly women and ten-year-old boys alike pat-downs if they refuse to expose themselves to dangerously carcinogenic radiation. It seems to me that we are leaning severely in one direction. That being said; each individual has the difficult task of sifting through a quagmire of pusillanimous political patois and determining which platform they tend to agree with. Because of our two-party system, it may be difficult to find that either of the two major parties actually speaks to anyone’s beliefs anymore.