Wow. June 17th my last post! An indication of how life continually changes.
I haven't posted not because I no longer care about issues, politics and philosophy. Rather, "life" intruded. Too many responsibilities, personal and private, that took virtually all my time.
Today, however, I read this and felt moved to post about it.
Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left, with marijuana now legal in Colorado and gay marriage gaining ground across the nation. They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians who prefer to focus on taxes and the role of government and often disagree with social conservatives on drugs or gay rights.
Meanwhile, the list of possible front-runners for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a limited relationship with evangelical activists, and the libertarian-leaning Paul, the senator from Kentucky who only recently began reaching out to social conservatives. One prominent establishment favorite weighing a bid, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is a supporter of legal same-sex marriage who claims his views on the issue could help him and his party appeal to younger voters.
I can commiserate with the evangelicals. Though we are on opposite sides of a number of issues, I know what it is like to feel as if there is not a party nor politicians who represent what you believe. For many years, my choices seem to be "Democrats, somewhat attuned to my social views but waaaaay out of whack with fiscal, small government and freedom issues" versus "Republicans, somewhat attuned to fiscal & small government - but prehistoric on many social issues." Some years, I'd vote for independents, knowing that essentially I might as well have stayed home and watched returns of Leave It to Beaver .... or I'd pick one of the major party candidates - often Republicans. Particularly in my state, my vote would often be with little enthusiasm, both because I disagreed with the candidate on a number of issues and because I knew the odds of Republicans in Minnesota winning are often slim to none.
Evangelicals did have the ear of the Republican party for some time. In my opinion, this is at least part of why the party lost so many elections. Overall, American society has become more and more supportive of gay rights. The notion that abortion, particularly in the early stages of a pregnancy, should be the choice of a woman, for quite some time has been supported by a majority of Americans. Thus, a party whose premises supported values that many view as no longer mainstream will have a much tougher go of it.
Yet, we are a nation that supports freedom of religion (fortunately for Americans!) Evangelicals are surely within their rights to believe and act as they wish on social issues. So - what should they do when "their party" seems to be abandoning them?
In my opinion, this is how they should think. They should embrace the fact that whether you are Catholic, Methodist, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, Orthodox or cultural-only Jew (hello!), our Constitution preserves your right to believe as you wish. We need only look at a number of other spots around the world to appreciate just how precious this right is; tens of thousands of us might be otherwise fearing for our lives.
But the ability for each of us to live our lives according to the values and faith that we hold dear does not give us the power to force those believes by law upon others.
So - what to do? What we should do - all of us - irrespective of our beliefs.
Try to convince others of the rightness of what you believe. Offer examples, logic, reason and emotion as to why you are correct and they are not.
The beauty of this sort of action is twofold. First - sometimes you will be able to motivate others to act as you think they ought. Remember, we have a myriad of laws that (in theory) force people to behave in certain ways. Yet, we all know that, despite murder and robbery and rape and extortion and a host of other crimes being against the law - they are still committed every day. Laws cannot prevent bad behavior by others. So at least, for example, evangelicals are far better placed convincing pregnant women to not abort than they are having a law that does not allow for any abortion.
The second benefit of this action is this; sometimes you come to the realization that your own thinking is not the best. I have witnessed many people over the years who were against gay relationships who ultimately have simply changed their opinion. What they thought then is not what they think now. Sometimes, by expressing your own viewpoints, you realize that your own thinking does not make sense - and it is you who needs to change, not the other fellow whom you were attempting ton convince.
Finally, as some form of comfort, I offer this to evangelicals. My guess is that more of them are fiscal conservatives and believers in small government than not. So - look at the bright side. If you accept that society has changed in some deep ways on social issues and that candidates with your own views rarely can win, then realize that by voting for more libertarian-type candidates, at least your fiscal/small government positions will more likely be realized. The "half a loaf is better than none" principle.
Then go out and do your best to convince others that you are still right on the social issues. While you are at it, reflect upon how fortunate we all are to be able to do this in our still great nation.