The Republican National Committee named a new head yesterday. The new leader is Michael Steele and he has inherited a job almost as difficult and important as President Obama. To begin, it is hard to understand any path forward for the Republicans with spokesmen such as Rush Limbaugh or the memories of Rove, Cheney, and Bush fresh in people’s minds.
It turns out of course that this is a critically important assignment. Our nation needs to have (at least) two parties that differ in some important ways, and therefore provide the diversity of healthy thinking necessary to assure our Country’s long term growth and prosperity. Let’s begin with what they should not disagree about.
- Up holding the constitution and the laws of the land for all Americans
- Habeas corpus, due process, and the Geneva Convention
- Respect for human dignity
- Commitment to passing on to the next generation a better world
- Passion and respect for individual achievement
On each of these issues there is clearly more than one way to approach the issue and more than one way to claim achievement of the goal. Over and above the protection of human rights and civil liberties, there is a wide range of bread and butter issues such as personal safety, roads, rivers, forests, air quality, communications, education, adequate utilities, and parks and recreation. While each of us would like our civil rights protected, we also want a job, a decent road to drive on, food and fuel readily available, and parks and clean rivers and lakes to relax in. These things just do not happen but are the results of wise government stewardship.
Lastly, if so inclined, everyone should have the opportunity to join a religious tradition of their choice. For those, however, who join a particular religious tradition, they must remember that their beliefs and practices are for themselves and any other consenting adults. Both the Democrats and the “new, refocused” Republican Party need to remember this principle and keep religion where it belongs and not as a block of votes to be courted like sailors do the girls in a port of call.