In our personal lives we all have priorities, things that we choose to put before all else. I would venture to guess, that for most Americans the top two would be God and family. I’ll leave it up to the individuals to decide between those two as to which is more important in their own lives.
After God and family, we all make choices about how we can best utilize our time. For those of us who actually still have jobs, work takes up a large part of our lives. But really I guess-work can be related directly to family, since most of us work to help support our families. We also find time for entertainment and recreation. Again these will most likely involve our families. I will be philosophical for a moment and say that, God is with us always, and so all of these activities include God also.
In our personal lives we choose paths that we feel will lead us in the direction that is best for our families and which are in keeping with our understanding of God’s will. We are imperfect beings and so we often take a wrong turn, but even then, with our faith and our family we can over come anything.
As in our personal lives, we must make choices of which path to take which will lead us where we choose to go, so in our political dealings , we must also make choices .
The first choice we must make if we hope to be a contributing factor in the political arena, is of what ideology we prescribe to. And when I say, “to be a contributing factor”, I don’t necessarily mean as an elected official, you can be a contributing factor to the political process by being an informed voter.
After you decide on your ideology, be it conservative, liberal, progressive or whatever you choose, then it comes time to choose a party affiliation. Most voters choose a party whose platform most closely represents the views of the individual. A person who is for smaller government and lower taxes , will likely identify with the GOP. Also there is a tradition of those who identify themselves as social conservatives, to lean towards the GOP, though in recent times there has been a trend among the GOP leadership to quiet those social conservative voices.
People who tend to believe that government should have a larger role in the lives of the individual and who also believe that government can and should be the vehicle to solve the problems of our lives, will most likely identify with the Democrat party. As for the social issues, there is a tradition within the Democrat party that tends to say to the people , “if it feels good, then do it”.
Now of course there are a myriad of smaller political parties that attempt to fill the gaps between the two major parties. But really there are only two ideologies. I will use the common labels that most people today recognise, conservatism and liberalism.
Once you have chosen your guiding ideology and the party that most closely represents those views, it is up to us as voters to hold our party of choice accountable. We do this by staying informed about what the party leadership and the elected official are doing . Be it candidate endorsements or voting records. If as individual voters we feel that our party of choice is no longer a mirror of our views, then we have another choice to make. Do we leave the party for one of the smaller, less influential parties, or do we attempt to influence our party to return to an ideological path that we can support.
I will now talk specifically as a member of the GOP, since that is what I am, and because I am at this time still trying to influence the GOP to maintain an ideological path that I can support.
For anyone who has read some of my post about the direction I believe the GOP should be taking, you know that I describe myself as a straight line conservative. To me this means that we can solve all problems by applying conservative principles. But to boil it down, allowing the individual to solve their own problems as long as their solutions do not impact the freedoms or rights of others. If you have read any of my post , you have also most likely read the criticism I receive from those who would identify themselves as long time members of the GOP,or the party establishment. They feel that I and those like myself are a danger to the GOP, that we don’t have the best interest of the party in mind.
I cannot begin to count the number of times I have been told by members of the GOP that we must support a candidate because they are a member of the GOP. To some people it would seem that the candidate’s views and actual record have nothing to do with whether they deserve our support or not. These party loyalist will tell you that this candidate or that candidate is the only hope of electing a Republican, no matter whether the candidate holds true to the values that have been traditionally those of the GOP.
Well excuse me if I am interested in more than just electing a Republican. I and others like myself want to elect people based on principles and values that have made this a great nation. We want people who once they are in office hold true to those principles and values and if not then we should work to remove them. Now of course I know that we are unlikely to find the perfect candidate that completely mirrors our views, we will have to weigh our choices and decide which candidates best align with the issues that we feel are most important at any given time . Some times we may have to compromise on social issues and at others on fiscal. But when a candidate or an elected official proves that they will not hold to any of your values and principles , then it is time to work to remove that person, and the party be damned.
I will now return to my original theme, choices and priorities. When deciding on an ideology we chose based on what best represents our common sense judgement and life experience. When choosing a political party, we choose a party that most closely represents our ideology.
When choosing to support a candidate we have a larger question to ask ourselves. Will we choose the candidate that we feel will represent our ideology because it is the ideology that we feel is best for the nation? Or will we choose to support a candidate based strictly on the party that chooses to support them ?
Will we allow party leadership to make the decision of which candidate we will support ? Or will we work to influence the party to put forth candidates that represent an ideological path that we can support ?
The real question you must always ask yourself when choosing your ideology, your party, and which candidate to support is, party or nation ? Are you making your choice based on what is good for the party only, or are you only interested in what is good for the nation ?
My answer is and always will be, the nation first !!