I spent yesterday with a significant number of very strange people. Okay, most of them were reasonable adults–but there were enough kooks to beg the question: Am I one of them?
The idea has been expressed many times that the Republican party does not actually represent the average Republican voter; the average Republican voter is too busy earning a paycheck and taking care of family to bother themselves with politics. I think I “get” that idea now–because there were a significant number of people at the state re-org meeting who I could not identify with–either in temperament, philosophy, or lifestyle; they have, through inheritance or happenstance, become disconnected from the reality of American life most of us wrestle with daily.
I’m not just talking about old, rich white men, either.
Some of them are poor and looking for something larger and more faceless than themselves to blame for it; there are as many young as old who are wide-eyed and frantic with conspiracy theories. There are as many foul-mouthed, gun-for-status-only-toting, habitually inebriated women as there are men.
There are a few nutcases with nothing better to do than jockey for position in the upper echelons of the GOP. I imagine that’s true of most organizations.
But then again, there are some quietly determined geniuses, also. I overheard one of them describing a proposal to a couple of his seatmates in the morning. I drifted over and listened.We started talking and I was glad to learn he was part of my caucus. When he presented his ideas that morning, even the crazies sat back and scratched their heads for a reasonable rebuttal. There was none–except that his proposal was too good, too outside the box, too original. The body as a tired, are-we-ready-to-adjourn-yet assembly wasn’t ready to hear it. Not quite.
But they will be. This guy is going places. You can see it in his eyes and predict it, ironically, from the way he dreads seeking position. He just has ideas that are too good to keep to himself. (And yes, he also carries a gun; sorry to burst your bubble–there actually are reasonable people who do that.)
When I talk to innovative men and women like this, and to parents who worry about their children’s futures and teachers who want the resources and freedom to really educate their students, I feel like a Republican. I believe in limited government and free enterprise and the inspired nature of the Constitution. I believe that the government has no right to interfere in matters of religion and conscience.
But who doesn’t?
Sometimes I wonder if I could walk into a Democratic meeting and find just as many people I agree with there as I did in the Republican one. I think that most Americans see eye-to-eye on most core issues. We want to take care of our elderly people and educate our young ones. We want to protect our freedoms, but we feel a bit squeemish about military activity overseas. Both Parties have their fringe elements, and those are the ones that capture the media’s attention, but that’s not the majority. So why am I serving as the chair of the Grant County Republican Party?
I feel like it’s the right thing to do–but what is that thing? I have no desire to simply “grow the Party” as some people say, as though this were some kind of social club. I have no desire to raise funds to perpetuate growth for growth’s sake. I do want to help elect good men and women to office. I do want to educate citizens about their rights and responsibilities–particularly our young people.
Would somebody please find me an instruction manual on how to accomplish that?
Side Note Confession:
I did not make food yesterday. At dinner time, I was driving through nearly impenetrable fog over a mountain pass. I got in at almost 10 o’clock last night.
This did not prevent my children, the moment I walked in the door, from asking the eternal question: “What’s for dinner?”
I’m atoning today with sweet potatoes, roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, french bread, etc. My house smells awesome.