The Chair of the Culpeper Republicans, Jon Russell, has recently offered his personal opinion on the Republican Creed. An article of faith that professes adherence to a statement of values, the creed touts support for the free enterprise system, equal rights and individual responsibility, fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint, and a strong national defense. All sound noble on the surface. But narrow-minded dogma, without reasoned perspective and balance, doesn’t always effectively serve individual citizens or this nation.
Instead of allegiance to a rigid creed, why not approach major issues as thoughtful, reasoning, informed adults, working collaboratively in the best interest of the American people?
Waving the “free enterprise” banner sounds principled, but does it always provide equality for all? Free enterprise suggests business drives all the decisions. Jobs may not be sent overseas according to government policy. These are business decisions often based only on profitability to shareholders. Many businesses are not necessarily concerned about social impact. If we want to “promote the general welfare,” capitalism requires guidance and modest regulation to ensure that the American Dream is an opportunity for all, rather than for only the already privileged. That’s what Democrats bring to the table: We take into consideration what will work in the best interest of “We the People.”
When it comes to environmental protections, companies have long proven that they will not prioritize safeguards against potential environmental catastrophes unless reasonable regulations are in place. Particularly Dominion Power, who has gone out of their way to greeenwash their depredations, and who's deception are being reinforced in local papers by shills like Mr. Russell and McCarthy seeding doubts about alternative energy sources.
Regarding healthcare, the pharmaceutical market has consistently demonstrated its widespread disregard for the well-being of consumers, charging exorbitant prices for prescriptions while causing consumers to ration their use of life-saving medications.
Most important is the disastrous problem of income inequality in this country, thanks again to that unchecked free enterprise ideal. Some major companies pay their workers so little that they qualify for welfare while at the same time paying their executives and shareholders outrageous sums. Some of the richest corporations in the nation pay little or no taxes. Why is this allowed? Looking at the Republican tax bill—which increased national public debt and benefited the top one percent—what does this say about Republican commitment to fiscal responsibility?
Of course, the government must provide for the national defense, but does that mean untold billions must be spent for unwanted hardware when the 21st-century battleground is in cyberspace? Yes, we need reasonable immigration reform, including secure borders, but does that mean American values include cruelly separating families, jailing infants and toddlers, where many have died in captivity, and denying access to those seeking lawful asylum?
Does our commitment to the constitution really mean we can’t acknowledge gun violence? We must take reasonable steps that are likely to save thousands of lives every year—such as universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, stalkers, and children.
Perhaps there is no issue where ideology is more dangerous than reproductive rights. This week we have seen Republican legislatures ban abortion with little exception. Along with Tyler Adams screed about the “sanctity of life” in this weeks Central Virginian.
But most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in most cases, knowing that a ban will not end abortions—it will only end safe abortions. It is actually Democratic policies through the years that have worked to lower the number of abortions in this country—through increased access to healthcare, birth control, and sex education.
The Republican Creed which Mr. Russell touts is an ideology that rarely uplifts. He does not mention hope, nor compassion. His perspective is not future-focused. The Culpeper Republicans have censured their own state senators for the sins of bipartisanship. The requirement to toe an ideological straight-and-narrow and see the world in stereotypes doesn’t solve problems. Democrats, on the other hand, seek to study what really works, mull the possibilities, and advance policies that provide opportunities for all. Those who care about affordable education and healthcare, protecting our environment, and equal rights and justice for all will have the opportunity to vote for many exceptional Democratic candidates this fall.
Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared in the May 25th edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent and has been posted here with the author’s permission. And the editor of this site has added additional links to relevant pieces in local papers
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