The GOP should be a big tent. Conservatism means a group of people with a common focus, but without any single-issue litmus tests or required ideology. I have outlined previously what the GOP means to me. That is my personal ideology and I accept other people’s views for what they are. It is important to always listen to other points of view with an open mind. Doing so helps one understand where he or she is coming from. It can also strengthen your views or perhaps change your point of view.
While I have my issues with the many citizens Ron Paul supporters dismiss wholly as the “establishment” I also have issues with religious neo-libertarianism. Think Joe Miller. Invoking the name of God in the political realm is disgraceful. Jesus (or Allah or Buddha) is not a political hack. The Kingdom of God is not physical. The Bible was not written for governments, but for individuals. Crusades were not in line with the teaching of Jesus (read John 18:36), and Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves (read Matthew 22:36-40). I could go on and on with examples of how Jesus is not a political figure, but a spiritual figure for individuals and religious groups to follow. As a Christian I feel it is tacky to invoke God’s name in the political realm. It cheapens religion and does nothing to build up the Kingdom of God. Faith and your political ideology are two different things. I’ve meet Christian Democrats and atheist Republicans and people in between.
Last weekend Ron Paul supporters took over the Alaska Republican Party. Russ Millette, a Ron Paul supporter and former Barry Goldwater campaigner, is the new state party chair. While I agree with Congressman Paul on many issues I do not agree with many of his supporters. They live in a bubble. In their bubble you must follow the Constitution exactly as they do or be labeled a traitor, or liberal, or socialist, or a host of other misconstrued labels. I share the same concerns with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as they do, but the way they approach the issue works against any hopes we might have to solve it. It also comes accross that they focus on one or two issues. When you get them onto topics they aren’t comfortable with they have knee-jerk reactions. They offer very few solutions to the many issues we face in Alaska. They have a laser-like focus on national issues (mainly the national issue of getting Ron Paul elected).
Their tactics are characteristically rude and in the long run will be ineffective at best, damaging to the brand at worst. They interrupted Senator Murkowski as she introduced Senator John Barrasso; a visitor to our State. Show a little respect if you want respect okay? Is that too much to ask? They elected a party chair who has very little political experience and someone who many worry could prove to be too extreme. Say what you will about Randy Ruedrich, but he has been talented in keeping the GOP together with all of its different factions.
As a moderate Republican I have thought about throwing in the towel and registering independent. Long ago I stopped being involved with the GOP because of the extreme conservatism that I saw. I no longer felt welcome. The question is: Do I become more active in the GOP to make a positive change? Or will I be booed too? On the other hand, what if those of us with these concerns hadn’t sat on the sidelines in silence while our party was taken over? Our party needs diverse opinions and ideology to come up with real solutions to the problems our state faces. Part of that diversity is of course Ron Paul supporters. It is also the Murkowski wing of the party. But a house divided stays divided unless they find a way to work together.
I’m not sure where to go from here, or what work can be done. Is there still a place for moderate Republicans? Should we branch out to other parties? Can there be a Ru Paul faction of the GOP too? Can we stop invoking the name of God when we win, or whenever we feel we need to validate our actions? If your ideology doesn’t win was that God’s will, or did the Devil make that happen? I’m fairly sure neither are registered to vote. At least not in my district. Please tell me how we figure this out. I’m not sure what the answer is. Maybe it is God’s will to let us brainstorm.
And it sure is a good thing we got those film industry tax credits renewed. Just in time for summer filming. Something tells me the film standards committee will be just fine with this: