, Port Arthur, Texas


September 19, 2012

Resurrecting the Grand Old Party

PORT ARTHUR — Government that keeps certain people from doing whatever they want is too big, to them.  Government that is big enough to prevent another Great Recession (and possibly another Great Depression) is too big for them to profit from the misfortunes of others.  A government that makes it harder for businesses — or individuals in businesses — to enrich themselves at the expense of unsuspecting clients, therefore, is too big.

No doubt, government can become too big, but it also can become too small.  It becomes too big or small when there is incontrovertible evidence that is the case.  And evidence supporting that conclusion is expressed in terms of what government causes to happen to its people.  Government that has components that serve no useful purpose or which duplicate the efforts of others aren't needed.  But who judges, or places value, on the consequences of government cuts, and which Americans suffer the consequences of those cuts?

One would think that compromise between Democrats and Republicans is compatible with a people of diverse ideologies, backgrounds, experiences, religious faiths, races, personalities and places of origin.  Any person who believes they or their group has divine, exclusive, and incontrovertible insights into what is best for a nation as large, wealthy and diverse as the United States is either suited for a straightjacket or has an eye to rule.

Christians are being forced to choose between politicians who support a woman's right to choose and those who lie on and about the opposition and have confidence that it won't matter to Christian voters who know they are lying.  This has happened because legitimate Christian faith increasingly is being hijacked by political "wolves in sheep’s clothing."  Jesus said that his sheep know his voice and will not follow strangers. True Christian Republicans are confused, though, because these wolves don't howl; they have learned to baa like sheep.

The disputes between Republicans and Democrats that are threatening our survival are not due to the wealth difference between the wealthiest Americans and the middle class and poorest of the working poor.  The middle class and working poor don't envy those with wealth.  They realize that people with jobs have them because somebody was able to start businesses and generate jobs while accumulating wealth.  But that's different from those who accumulate personal wealth by investing in ventures where job creation is only incidental — if it occurs at all.  While the working poor and middle class never have been envious of those with wealth, because they have become the prey of wealthy people whom they once considered their protectors, they are now afraid of them.

The power of money to buy and pursue is so prevalent in American politics that many voters gladly sell their votes to the highest bidder without even knowing that they are being bought.  It is the reason Jesus said it would be hard for rich men to enter the kingdom of heaven, and perhaps impossible for those who no longer believe.  It is these non-believing people of wealth who are hijacking the Christian faith, and promoting a theology that God has blessed the wealthy with money and also wants to make the poor wealthy if they would only trust, change their ways and be patient.  At times, (and for particular individuals), one or more of those will be true.

But from the beginning, when God created all men equal and endowed them with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness among other rights, He did not create them with equal ambition, intelligence, abilities or opportunities. They were created with worth as human beings.

Although the news media like to say that both political parties stretch the truth and take the words of the opposition out of context, Republican politicians lie more by a substantial margin.  Still, some voters trust their government, public policies and the futures of them and their children to those who lie, and expect them to be fair honest in office.  Certainly when Republicans elected Republican governors and legislators in many of the states, they did not believe that these representatives would use their positions and power to suppress voting by the opposition.  But they have.

Most reasonable people will conclude wherever the best places for the American economy and American politics may lie, those places and the directions for getting there are best debated on the neutral ground of compromise, where expectations and predicted consequences can be debated between elections.   Most Americans, be they Democrat or Republican, have a common sense of right and wrong.  It has never before been that one party thought it had all of the right answers and that all members of the other party was either bad people or stupid.

But the decision about how to vote could come down to the final two to three weeks, depending on which of two things happens in a close election:  (1) Mitt Romney WILL release 8-10 years of his tax returns, which will contain no condemning content, and that revelation could be sufficient for voters to deliver the presidency — especially if Democrats continue to suggest that his not releasing these returns is the main evidence that he has something to hide and is not deserving to be president.  Or (2) Romney WILL  NOT submit these tax returns and strongly suggest, at least in the minds of most voters, that the returns must contain condemning contents detrimental to Romney's election.  

Should Republican members of Congress continue to block a balanced compromise for debt reduction, true Republicans should rescue their party from extremists in November by voting for Democrats.   There is no other option for Republican who believe in compromise and balance.  Democrats have already agreed to accept less than a 50-50 deal.  President Obama has already substantially cut spending.  Still that's not enough for congressional Republicans demand all or nothing.  Putting Democrats in control would allow the GOP to send a loud message of resolve and begin healing and resurrecting the Republican image before the 2014 and 2016 elections.        

Ronald C. Spooner of Port Arthur is a retired educator. Contact him at Spooner blogs at

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