OK, OK – You got my attention. I had regarded you as some small lunatic fringe, who did not represent the heart of the Republican Party. However, last Saturday, you were able to gather 100,000 people in Washington, D.C. You have done a good job of disrupting several town hall meetings in the past couple of months. You have been able to make people wonder if the government can really afford comprehensive health insurance for all Americans. I know you don’t like any thing that comes for the Democrats, and you especially don’t like Barack Obama. I’ll ignore the pictures that show Obama with a Hitler moustache, the signs that call him socialist and a facist. I’ll assume you haven’t read up on your history lately to know what those words and symbols actually mean. Even so, you’ve got my attention – I understand what you DON’T want. My question is what is it that you DO want?
As I have said in other places in this blog, I find the terms “liberal” and “conservative” to be relatively meaningless and misleading labels. Yet this is what folks call themselves. I also realize that most of those who will read this blog would not consider themselves anything close to being conservative. But to those of you who do, or those of you whose friend, parent, or co-worker resonate with the sentiments that were expressed in DC over the weekend, can you give me a clue as to what you are FOR, rather than just what you are AGAINST?
Do you really buy the Glenn Beck line that Barack Obama “hates white people?” Do you actually believe Rush Limbaugh when he says that there is “no health care crisis in this country?” Are you really so callous as to relegate 30 million of your fellow citizens to have no health care protection, when they could be your child, your parent, your friend, or your co-worker? Do you think anyone would set up death panels like Sarah Palin said? And all of this while health insurance companies, doctors and lawyers make off like bandits ripping all of us off. Who do you think has put up $40 million in advertising money to defeat health reform. According to Bill Moyers of PBS, that’s what the health insurance companies are spending in advertising to keep their comfortable position.
I want to believe that so-called conservatives are well-meaning people with decent ideas and a concern for their fellow human being. I want to believe they are people who care for something more than just lower taxes, smaller government, and the right to carry a gun anywhere at anytime. I want to believe that there are “compassionate conservatives” that Marvin Olasky talked about. If there are, that’s who I need to hear from because the conservative message has been hijacked by a bunch fear-induced ranters, and it does not make sense. If Joe Wilson, the representative who publicly called Pres. Obama a “liar” during his speech to Congress, is the best they can do, the Republicans and the conservatives are in worse shape than I thought.
So, Conservatives, whoever you are – help me out here, because I just can’t figure out what you are FOR, except for tearing down everything that might make it a bit healthier for everyone in our country.
While I would probably call myself moderately conservative (yet more moderate than Dad) I am embarrassed and shocked by the reactions you talk about by the conservatives during the current political climate. My hope is that moderates on both sides can work the "give and take" necessary in major issues like health care to cause change that brings an outcome better than what we have now. My wish is that partisan politics would be put aside and issues would be looked at for what they really are and not which political favors we can give or government jobs we can keep. Let's do what is right, fair, compassionate and affordable. Let's change the status quo and have give and take from everyone.
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I think at it's best, conservatism's strongest virtue is a belief in personal accountability. I think lots of conservative citizens are conservative because they want policies that encourage accountability and personal responsibility. However, I'm not sure Republican politicians actually pursue policies that live up to such virtues.
I applaud Mark for giving us the definition of conservatism. By the looks of the Republican Party few are really practicing true conservatism. Personal accountability is not what comes to mind when I see and hear the current brand of conservatism. I guess the real conservatives are really struggling with their own values because neither Democrats nor Republicans are practicing it. Thank You Mark for giving us a definition of conservatism. Accountability and Personal responsibility we really could use these values today. I’m really trying to investigate how many Republican politicians actually pursue policies that live up to conservative values.