I have been, what I consider, a social conservative most of my life; embracing conservative fiscal policy while supporting a liberal social agenda. Voting has been difficult, especially over the last 20 years, as the issues that are near and dear to me have been in conflict with each other.
The voting face of America is changing. Gone are the days of our fathers and grandfathers when party affiliation made sense and mimicked our individual values. The values we hold dear now over shadow those of the past. The issues of today have obliterated those of yesteryear. Most importantly the faces of our voting public reflect the changes in our racial and social makeup. If any political party is to survive they must embrace change and move forward with the rest of the country.
Republicans, bolstered by their religious base, are sorely out of step with 21st century values and thinking. To hear the 'party of Lincoln' espouse a philosophy of hatred and denial of rights to any group is one example of the Republican missteps.
Gay Rights are such a little issue, my apology to the LGBT community for my choice of words here, compared to what is at stake for our country as a whole. The economy and foreign policy were the issues that really counted this year. But the Republicans decided to walk lock step and blindfolded into the arena of social issues where they are inept at best to perform. This charge was led by the religious faction of the party who have only one plank in their agenda; think like me or rot in hell.
A little southern home spun story about the effect of the religious agenda on a community. About 20 years ago the town I was living had a bill before the North Carolina legislature to allow liquor by the drink to be sold for the first time. When the bill passed new business opened and the promise of a new mall, movie theaters and restaurants were ours to be had. After approval the local ministers filed a law suite declaring the legislatures vote unconstitutional because this issue was one that required a popular vote.
Well a vote was taken and the issue passed but in the interim the promise of new business had evaporated. Twenty years later we are still waiting for that mall and movie theaters. New restaurants have opened but are mostly fast food.
This is a case of the religious agenda stifling the growth of a community.
The Republican Party needs to break the grip of the religious right and move on to reinvent itself as a party that believes in the rights of every individual while holding onto their mantra of fiscal responsibility.