If you know me well, you probably know that I am an active member in UNT’s College Republicans chapter.
Some people have asked me (some sincerely, some out of interest, and some in a concerning manner) “How did this happen?” What made me become…Republican?
I definitely wasn’t born Republican…while I have grown up in Texas, a red state, I spent the majority of my childhood in Round Rock, Texas. Round Rock is an interesting place to be, politically. It is a suburb of Austin, but far enough away to be a distinct city. The liberal politics of Austin influenced the political attitudes of the citizens of Round Rock. However Austin and Round Rock are members of different counties: Travis and Williamson, respectively. While Round Rock may have been influenced by the liberalism of Austin, Williamson county was conservative overall.
I don’t remember the community I grew up in being tilted to one side of the political spectrum or the other. It was pretty evenly balanced.
My parents didn’t sway me one way or the other too much, either. I would describe my mom as an overall moderate. Her voting record includes Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. My dad is a capital “L” Libertarian. I can remember him campaigning hard for Harry Brown, Michael Badnarick, and Ron Paul, among others. While my dad had strong opinions, I never felt them forced onto me.
It has been my observation that during election season, especially Presidential elections, people are quick to shape up each candidate and “pick a side.” I have been the same way. Growing up, I wasn’t thinking of politics 24/7, but the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections influenced my political beliefs a great deal. The 2004 election got me interested in politics, but I didn’t really have my personal beliefs/preferences sorted out. The 2008 election was when I researched both candidates and parties more than I ever had. Before my research, I had been under the impression that I would identify more with the Democrats. But once I became more educated, I realized that I was much more conservative than I thought I had been. I found myself preferring McCain over Obama, who, needless to say, was very popular among my peers.
However, I was hesitant to call myself a “Republican.” For me at the time, this label carried a stigma with it.
When I got to college, the fall semester of my freshman year I was invited by an acquaintance to come to a College Republicans meeting. I was very apprehensive about going, for several reasons…the main two being that 1) I was incredibly shy and knew nobody who was in this club, except for my acqaintance whom I had never actually met in person, only interacted with through email and facebook, and 2) I wasn’t even sure if I was a Republican.
I decided to go to a meeting to see what it was like, and to help me fulfill an English paper assignment in which I had to observe an environment, meeting, person, animal, etc. that I was not familiar with and then write a paper about my experience.
I went to the meeting, and the next one…and the next one…
What resulted from these meetings was, among other things: 1) My English paper, which I titled “The Best Party on Campus” (clever phrase but not my original idea), 2) Meeting a lot of cool people and making awesome friends, 3) Learning more about the GOP and realizing that I do, in fact, identify as a Republican.
This account is incredibly abbreviated, for time’s sake. I’ll save the details for my memoir, should I ever write one 😉
So, as a Republican, what exactly do I believe? I found a summary of “Republican Values” on the myspace page, The Republican Club. I’d venture to say that most Republicans would agree with these; some probably deviating idealogically from a couple of them:
What are Republican values?
Republican values may be characterized as a belief in smaller government, fewer taxes, moral leadership, incentive driven economics, a strong military, as well as a respect for the right of each citizen to choose their own course without government interference, because they have the dignity and the ability to do so.
Many Americans are able to discern that large-scale government bureaucracies have a significant history of inefficiencies. Republicans acknowledge that by keeping government as small as possible not only does it keep wasteful spending to a minimum, but it also creates incentives for government to become more efficient in the process.
Republicans simply recognize that having fewer taxes creates more freedom for the individual and more incentives for economic growth. Through the increased economic growth as a direct result of the increased incentives actualized by not only fewer but lower taxes more tax-revenue is actually produced by the government (reference the Laffer Curve Theory) premised on the principle that because more economic growth has been created there is in actuality a larger taxable economy to evoke revenue from. High tax-rates greatly diminish incentives for economic growth in the market-place, and long-term will generate far less taxable revenue as a resultant of the smaller taxable economy that such tax-rates manifest.
From the foundation of the party Republicans have valued moral leadership in the GOP. That is not to say that all Republican leaders have lived up to this standard, but it is one of the most valued traditions of the Republican Party regardless. Republicans take pride in their heritage as the Grand Old Party that preserved the Union and freed the slaves; affirming in a universal morality at the heart of which are the inalienable rights of man as recounted by Thomas Jefferson.
Republicans appreciate that economic prosperity is dependent on incentives. Incentives are elucidated in the market-place by allowing few restrictions in the application of government interventionism and taxes. High taxes defeat the incentive to get-ahead, because they take away the most from those who have succeeded the most. There is less incentive for an American to get-ahead if they realize they will be taxed substantially more by doing so. Also, as a consequence of government de-regulation economic growth will develop at the most efficient rate because more incentives will be created to start businesses as well as invest. Further the market is endowed regulation as a result of the free-market dynamic through natural competition.
The GOP believes that much of America’s political influence around the world is a resultant of the strength of the U.S. military. Without the due diligence maintenance of a strong Army, Navy, and Air Force the U.S. will encourage aggressors from around the world to attack American interests at home and abroad. Due diligence maintenance requires more than adequate funding, and maintaining high standards.
The belief that every American has the dignity, the competency and the right to choose their own destiny without big government looking over their shoulder. Republicans believe freedom of choice and opportunity should not be restricted, because they are central to the American dream.
A major thing I have learned on my political journey is that there are many types of Republicans. So before you go lumping them all together, realize that just because somebody calls themselves a “Republican” it does not mean that they will agree with everything that another “Republican” believes. There are neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, the religious right, libertarian-Republicans, and more.
Bottom line: I am a Republican because it makes the most sense to me. I believe it makes the most sense for me to make decisions for myself and not let the government make them for me, because I know what’s best for me better than the government does.
I plan on blogging more about politics and the Republican party in the future 🙂
Peace and Love,
What do you think about politics? Political parties? Etc.?