I have spent nearly my entire life as a Republican. Only towards the end of President Barack Obama’s first term did I consider other alternatives such as the Libertarian Party or becoming an Independent. There are some major issues I have with the Republican party of today that I think significant portions of the party are split on.
Firstly, the death penalty. If you listen to our podcast here on MetaMediaNews, I recently went into detail on the death penalty there in episode 3, so I’ll just cover it briefly here. The death penalty doesn’t work financially, it doesn’t work as a deterrent, and it doesn’t look good on the world stage. It’s a failed path to take when you have the cheaper option to simply keep the person in prison. Republicans seem to have a sizable amount of support for failed criminal justice initiatives. Anything that sounds “tough on crime” is pushed without any thought given to the professionals in the field who are suggesting the exact opposite. This kind of “crush the wicked” mentality leads into my next point rather well.
Republicans seem to have a monopoly on support for torture in this country. I was ecstatic that former President Obama put a stop to the torture going on at Guantanamo Bay and other so called “black-sites” elsewhere. Unfortunately, despite the information that torture doesn’t work or produce any viable information according to our own intelligence sources, President Trump is suggesting we bring back waterboarding and “worse”. Terrorists don’t need another piece of propaganda to use against the USA. What better gift-wrapped reason to oppose the United States does a terrorist organization need than for the West to abandon all pretense of having higher moral standing?
This next point is one I am of two minds on. Immigration in our country is not handled well, that much is sure. However, finding the right balance between letting good people and refugees through and stopping terrorists or flooding the system is difficult to strike. Unfortunately, many Republicans don’t want to strike a balance so much as allow a tiny trickle of immigrants through who jump through a barricade of hoops. It can take years and years to immigrate to this country legally. If you’re a poor and starving family south of the border, cutting some fence starts to sound pretty reasonable for a shot at a $15 minimum wage. On the other hand, the drug war really is a war south of the border and it can spill onto U.S. soil quickly, so security is also reasonable.
Speaking of the drug war, Republicans tend to support it, despite it not making financial or criminological sense. The party which urges a hands-off financial strategy and harps on the government for spending so much money seems hell-bent on fighting the drug war in the most expensive ways possible. Why does a rural police department need an armored military-style car? The drug war, naturally. I have an entire article on this topic, so I won’t go into too much detail here. The other article: http://metamedianews.com/2017/01/the-drug-war-the-lost-cause-fought-in-the-worst-way/
This is a bit of a nuanced point, but I think it is worth bringing up. The idea of extreme nationalism has captured a portion of the Republican Party. Not the regular patriotism of proudly flying the flag and knowing how to fold it properly, but the extreme edge of patriotism where it becomes cult-like and hails all actions of the country deemed patriotic as utterly beyond reproach and anyone who critiques the country or does anything even vaguely viewed as disrespectful to the country is seen as scum worthy of insults and threats of violence. This is truly a minority among the party and among patriots in general, but it bears mentioning because these rabid nationalists can put off people who would otherwise be lukewarm or mild patriots and supporters of good governmental acts. They are the faction that would drive a moderate Republican to burn a flag just to prove a point.
This manner of fanatic support is also found in support of police and the military.
Again, I have to say that this is not the ordinary support of thanking a military member or an officer for their service or serving as one or the other, but this is support of even blatant violations of the law and of people’s rights simply because the police or the military is the one doing it. These are the people who go into the comments section of a video of an unambiguous case of police brutality and claim it to be fine because the person was “A thug anyway”, or “Surely a drug user or dealer, so it’s good they got what they deserved”. This kind of radical support alienates regular supporters and defies rational discourse.
Now you might be thinking to yourself; “Gee, this guy sounds like a freakin’ liberal who got speckled with some oil and fired a gun once so he thinks he’s a conservative!”.
Well, not so. Now that I’ve critiqued the Republican Party, I’ll tell you why I’m still (at least mostly) a Republican.
The main reason I typically vote Republican is the issue of abortion. I believe that conception is the time at which a person comes into being. At that moment of conception, they have the right to life, same as you and I. Having this view, this immediately becomes a top-tier issue, as vast amounts of babies are being legally aborted in the United States and around the earth. You can disagree with this view, but I’m trying to illustrate why someone with this view is so compelled to act on it and so compelled to make it their main issue. If you think a genocide is taking place, that takes the top spot on your issue list pretty quickly. Now, Republicans are typically “pro-life” on the topic of abortion. This term may or may not extend to their views on the death penalty or the rights of the poor, but at least on abortion they tend to be against it.
Democrats, on the other hand, are almost exclusively pro-choice. Again, their level of pro-choice may vary widely, but I have only ever seen one national level Democrat politician who was pro-life. This is a point which is sorely lacking in the Democratic Party. Providing an alternative to the Republican version of pro-life, which usually but not always excludes the death penalty and care for the poor, would be a massive opportunity for Democrats.
Gun control is another point which I find the Republican Party to have better grasp of. I am very much in favor of a hands-off policy on many things, guns included. I think people should be allowed to carry an automatic weapon if they wish. I am fully for concealed carry and open carry.
Can you go too far with this? Absolutely. I don’t want a violent felon to have a gun or a mentally unstable person to have a gun. However, I recognize that gun laws largely do not prevent this from happening. Gun laws prevent very little, but punish the person once they are caught. I also believe that people have the right to defend themselves against intruders, against foreign invasions in case of war, against large animals, and even against the very rare case of the government becoming an oppressive rule to the point that armed resistance is needed.
This last case may sound like some conspiracy theory, but it is not as though I expect the government to become suddenly violently evil every day, no. It is, however, an effective measure to prevent an oppressive government from becoming supreme. I think of it like a check-and-balance system not unlike our three-part federal government. A well-armed populace ensures a political system within the realms of sanity.
A new item on this list was added last time the Republican Party revised it’s official platform in mid-2016. The topic of pornography rose and was declared a public health crisis by the Republican Party. (Please hold your jokes about how hypocritical Republicans are until after the article. Thanks.)
Our current American culture is porn-saturated. A brief glance at the statistics is all that is needed to spur grave concern among any citizen about the prevalence of pornography in our society. Even people who find pornography acceptable should be worried at the rates of its use among our younger populations and the rates of sexual violence in tandem with porn use.
I will readily grant that many people in the Republican Party may hold a hypocritical stance on this issue, but it is the only party to my knowledge that has come out and said they see pornography as a public health crisis.
To be clear, in this article, I am referring to a position of simply treating pornography use as a potential health issue. The solution, in my mind, requires a campaign of promoting positive alternatives and simple education about the risks of engaging in pornography use.
Simply reflecting on the idea of a pornography ban yields a myriad of issues, both moral and legal which I will not pretend to have the answers to. The nebulous definition of what exactly is pornography and what is art and what is free speech is one of the key issues in this discussion and I don’t trust very many politicians to be the arbiters of those definitions. I think we would need a whole new class of politician before we could effectively tackle this issue in its entirety.
Lastly, the issues of gender theory and the definition of marriage need to be covered. I would like to preface this section with the note that I recognize that these issues are among the most personal and emotional on this list alongside abortion. This said, I do not subscribe to what is typically known as “gender theory”. I fall on the conservative side in most of the discussions surrounding gender identity. Each individual issue under this umbrella has numerous points to be addressed and could easily fill several articles.
While the Republican Party often goes too far in these issues, sometimes allowing discrimination, they have a view closer to mine than the Democratic Party. I would desire a party which prevents discrimination, but allows for religious freedom at the same time. I feel that the Republican Party viewpoint on gender issues is in the same direction as my view, but somewhat too far at times and somewhat askew in its implementation.
Despite my numerous issues with the Republican Party, of the two-party system, they currently hold more positions I find necessary in the world today. If you disagree, I would love to hear about it in the comments. Note, this is not an exhaustive list by any means and should not be taken as such.