The ‘Elephant’ in the Room

By Erin Drushel
[avatar user=”ErinDrushel” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”]Erin Drushel[/avatar]

I knew it! True traditional Republicans still exist and are willing to speak out – that, I respect.

If you were to judge the Republican Party solely by coverage in the popular press, it can seem that it mainly represents the far right fringe with a mantra of “N” and “O.”  But over the last couple of weeks, we are seeing members of the party openly provide warnings and sage advice that apply to everyone in the political realm.

In a letter to the editor of the LA Times, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out as a concerned Republican.  While professing his ongoing commitment to his party, he warned them about the dangers of strict partisan politics and the alienation of traditional Republicans.  Schwarzenegger openly advocated for inclusion rather than exclusion of people and ideas within the party.

Schwarzenegger’s words were echoed by Senator Richard Lugar, who recently lost the Indiana Senate Primary.  The outgoing Senator took the opportunity to talk about his concerns on the rigidity of partisan politics and the loss of compromise as a tool for creating solutions.  In a statement following his Primary loss, the Senator imparted a reminder to all politicians who rely on the party machine and sometimes get lost in their message: “Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle.”

It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on, you’ve got to respect any politician who speaks up for principle over power, especially against his own party.  These statements can’t have been popular.

These prominent Republicans’ discontent shines a stark light on the current path of the GOP.  Word choices like “cleanse” and “purity” in their respective statements give me pause.  The rhetoric of values and determination may have cut off the path to compromise.

When did “compromise” become a dirty word?  Since when is “working together” a bad thing?  I have two brothers and I can tell you my parents weren’t telling us to fight.  We were told to play nicely together.

Political rhetoric has made compromise a weakness rather than strength.  By standing up for their beliefs, Schwarzenegger and Lugar have created an opportunity for Republicans – of the right, left and centre – to have a real dialogue about who they are and where they want to go.

Let’s just hope they can hear themselves over the sound of their own rhetoric.

– Erin Drushel

1 comment
  1. I completely agree. I do not identify myself as a Republican, but I have many friends that are. I agree that the Republican party has shifted so far to the right, that it has isolated many people who see themselves as Republicans. There is nothing wrong with compromise, and without it, we can’t get anything done.

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