BY BRIAN MCLAUGHLIN – With the GOP poised to regain some power in Congress, as a lifelong Republican I wonder why I should care. Looking back at the party’s strategy over recent years, I am embarrassed. And, I am afraid for the future of our country. Scare tactics and ignorance have apparently become the weapons of choice in the American political arena, replacing intelligent debate and reason. While Democrats may be equally guilty, I am more sensitive to the faults of my party.
I remain a believer in core Republican values, which is why I am so disappointed to see campaigns focused on non-issues, distortions, and emotional manipulation. Rather than working to decrease the deficit, improve education, and accomplish environmental necessities, the hot Republican issues have been emotional vote-getters – such as protecting marriage, the 37-year-old abortion subject, and racial fear-mongering about the border.
What’s worse is that the party’s mouthpieces expect their constituents to fall for such mindless tricks – and in fact their followers do. The president is incredibly and persistently accused of being a non-citizen, a Muslim, and a socialist – and right wing empty heads bobble in acceptance.
Opposition candidates are accused of such vague notions as not loving the Constitution – is that really the best case conservatives can offer? Democrats are criticized for such travesties as forcing health care reform and economic stimulation on the country – as if either were undesirable. Rather than presenting bipartisan solutions that will move America forward, Republican leaders prefer to see the other side fail, thereby bringing a shift in power. We should all be smart enough to recognize that this would be a failure on both sides and a betrayal of voters of all parties.
Bipartisanship has become a dirty word in American politics just two years after both presidential candidates made that attribute a key element of their plans. Now, divisiveness and separatism are applauded and encouraged. Politicians and pundits place party before the people. Partisan victories take priority over winning for the country. America’s best interests are only served if they will lead to more seats in Congress.
As I vote this Tuesday, yes I will support Republicans, as well as Democrats – those candidates who will work bilaterally to keep America strong, not those who seek only to strengthen their party. Whatever the results, I hope the nation comes out ahead, not just one party or the other.
Brian McLaughlin is a resident of Tucson, Arizona