Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Save the good ol' ship or it may not return to sea for yet another voyage

The day after Election Day I didn’t get out of bed until 10 am. No I was not suffering a hangover, I was suffering a loss. I spent that day lounging around the house as I feared to turn on or read anything that the media had illustrated.

In full retreat of all media outlets, with the exception of the occasional Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, I have resigned from such. In fact, I have declined to watch any news with the omission of Bill O’reilly for 45 minutes as I awaited Right Michigan’s national break. (If you haven’t congratulated Nick yet, please do!)

For the next few weeks I sat back and studied blogs as each blogger attempted to make sense of the situation. Some were alluding to a re-construction of our party and our principles. Some went on to say we need to ‘modernize’ and become ‘relevant’ to the youth of our country. Others, yet, called for the resignation of party leaders and officials. It became the blame game. If we continue to blame each other our conservative party will implode. We need to return to our roots and our principled, moral, ideals.

The mission of our party was effectively stated by Abraham Lincoln in which it is “to lift the artificial weights from all shoulders, and clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all.” Our focus, as the Republican Party has always been on that of opportunity. Not necessarily the ‘equality of outcome, but rather the equality of opportunity.’

More than 150 years later, the Republican Party stands for the same principles on which it was founded. Representative Christopher Cox said it best: Our party stands for “free minds, free markets, free expression, and unlimited opportunity.”

The Republican Party has a historical backdrop of which it played a vital role in bringing an end to slavery within the United States. Our party played a vital role in extending the rights to vote to men and women of all backgrounds, races, and creeds. We aided in conducting or accompanying within the modern civil rights era. Furthermore, we were “the leading role of our party in establishing an American policy of peace through strength that has freed hundreds of millions of people around the world from slavery and brought freedom, democracy, women’s rights, and minority rights to the former Soviet Empire and across central and eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (Cox, 2005).

These astounding and astonishing achievements are results of dedication and opposition of the Democratic Party over the last 150 years.

Our party was formed on March 20, 1854 and a few moths later, after platforms and positions had been drafted, the first Republican state convention was held in Jackson, Michigan.

A few “firsts” of the Republican Party were eloquently spoken by Rep. Chris Cox:

Every single African-American in Congress, House and Senate, until 1935 was a Republican.

In 1872, the first black governor took office in Louisiana. I love his name: Pinckney Pinchback, a great Republican. Our own state of California was the first to have a Hispanic governor. Can you guess his political party? Republican Romualdo Pacheco became governor in 1875, long before anybody had ever heard of Cruz Bustamante.

The first Hispanic U.S. Senator was elected from New Mexico in 1928. You guessed it -- he was a Republican, Octaviano Larrazolo.

Republicans led the fight for women’s voting rights -- and the Democrats, as a party, opposed civil rights for women. All of the leading suffragists -- including Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton -- were Republicans. In fact, Susan B. Anthony bragged, after leaving the voting booth that she had voted for “the Republican ticket -- straight.”

The suffragists included two African-American Republican women who were also co-founders of the NAACP: Ida Wells and Mary Terrell, great leaders of our party, both of them.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the accomplishments of the GOP. It is a remarkable 150-year string of civil rights achievements.

With this previous election we must remember the words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

Our party may not have won the battle but “…I know that the Lord is always on the rights side…it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side” (Abraham Lincoln).

57 million voters voted against Barack Obama. It is our duty to unite and fight for the freedom that is always “one generation away from extinction.”

I leave you with the words of Abraham Lincoln: “If all do not join now to save the good old ship of the Union this voyage nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.”

-Chaz Oswald