I’m always hesitant to post observations requiring the use of terms like “liberal” “conservative” “progressive” or especially “socialist” and “fascist,” because over the past years, any conceptual clarity those labels may once have had has disappeared. These days they tend to be used as epithets, not efforts to communicate.
For example, I used to consider myself a conservative. I wanted to conserve the values of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I was (and remain) convinced that fiscal prudence means that–absent emergencies–programs should be paid for with current tax dollars remitted equitably by rich and poor, and not “borrow and spend.” I believe in limited government–and I believe that “limited government” means government limited to the performance of genuinely governmental tasks, like national defense or paving streets, and not the exercise of authority over my uterus or my soul.
Thanks to the GOP’s extreme move rightward, those are now generally considered to be liberal or progressive positions.
The dramatic change in the Republican Party, culminating in its current defense of a monumentally unfit, corrupt President, has created a deep disconnect between old-timers and the current cult. That disconnect recently prompted three North Carolina County Commissionerrs to leave the GOP, while laying claim to the term “conservative.”
To be conservative is to honor and preserve the fundamental institutions, processes, structures and rule of law, ….
To be conservative is to be financially prudent while also investing in common ground works that support individual success for all citizens. To be conservative is to be welcoming and inclusive, ….
To be conservative is to have a strong moral compass and the willingness to challenge wrong regardless of its source.
We believe all of these are not merely conservative principles but American principles.
Next, we believe elected officials have a special duty to conduct themselves beyond reproach and make genuine efforts to represent all their constituents.
Elected officials must strive to conduct all public and private actions with honor and integrity.
Elected officials must value objective truth and, in turn, be truthful in their own statements and interactions.
And elected officials must continually work to hear the voices of all while making hard decisions on behalf of their fellow citizens
“Finally, and importantly, we believe local government should not be partisan in nature.
Good ideas come from across the spectrum of political thought.
Our focus is local, our objective is problem-solving for Transylvania County and our experience is thatpartisanship is an obstacle to effective local governance.
Governing is done best when done closest, and close governing is done best when removed from partisan encumbrances.”
These local officials–all of whom have lengthy histories in Republican politics– have put their emphasis on governing, not politicking. It’s an emphasis that has been absent from the national GOP for some time–a recognition that political activity is supposed to be directed toward winning an opportunity to serve.
When asked whether their dissatisfaction was local or national, one of the Commissioners responded
Leaders at every level should also operate with strict standards of honesty and integrity, both for themselves and others they work with. And leaders at every level should work to represent all citizens, regardless of the issue. I don’t think it’s particularly controversial to suggest that Republican leadership at the highest levels are no longer consistently maintaining those principles.
Let’s hope these public servants–and I am happy to use that term–are harbingers of many defections from whatever it is the GOP has become. One thing for sure: today’s Republican Party isn’t conservative–at least, not as that term used to be understood.
It’s White Nationalist, and bent on dominance, not governance.