Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sorting Legos: the Election, Conservatism, and the RNC

If you know me personally, you can imagine that this morning I feel pretty damn good about how the general election turned out. There are a few races and ballot measures here in Washington State that are still up in the air, but generally I'm very satisfied with the results. This entry isn't about gloating though. It's about the conservative movement in America, why it's important, and why this seemingly crushing defeat is a blessing in disguise.

I suspect that many conservatives aren't exactly dancing in the streets about last night's general election results. It feels like their country and their way of life is doomed, and that the forces of evil have won. It feels like the end of the world, and more importantly, the end of America. However in that despair is the opportunity for the renewal and resurgence of the conservative movement.

I feel like last night should provoke some deep soul-searching within the Republican Party, and among conservatives in general. I think it's time for conservatives to individually and collectively break down their platform into a big pile of metaphorical Legos, and go through piece by piece to see if the individual blocks they're using really contribute to the conservative platform as a whole, and to their chances of winning elections in the future. For instance, I think that many Americans support the idea of restraining the growth of government spending, but are beginning to reject the hard-line, all-cuts approach the RNC shifted toward over the last couple decades. Although abortion is an issue that still divides even liberals, opposing ALL forms of birth control and saying that conception via rape is a "gift from God" is only appealing to a tiny fraction of the country. Those are just a couple examples.

So if you are conservative, take a few minutes to sit down and really think over your beliefs, not as a whole, but individually. I think it's part of our job as voters to do so, before we allow those beliefs to influence the lives of our fellow Americans through our vote. Every time a ballot shows up in my mailbox I take some quiet time to break down my personal beliefs into the individual issues (the death penalty, gun control, foreign policy, etc.) and examine what I feel about each one. More importantly, I try to examine WHY I feel that way, and whether there's a chance that I'm totally off the mark. I believe that my personal morality and belief system means very little if I don't examine and challenge it frequently, and that doing so is an important part of the voting process.

I don't want you to stop being a conservative; I think America needs a strong conservative party. There are some important, valuable ideas within the conservative movement, ideas that many "liberal" Americans find persuasive and worthy of discussion. I'm just arguing that the Legos making up the Republican Party platform may have a few too many MegaBloks mixed in, and as every kid knows, MegaBloks are lame and make everything they touch lame.

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