In a political landscape of scandals and ever-changing control it is no surprise voters are favoring a more moderate party. Much of this is due to a common distrust in the Republican and Democratic parties.
People typically apply the term “liberal” to the Democratic Party and would generally be right, but labeling the Republican Party as “conservative” is not as accurate as it used to be. This separation is most likely due to the Republican Party’s inability to be consistent in their beliefs and policies, which has many elephant supporters wondering where to place their trust and, more importantly, their votes.
Author Derek Haynes is a self-proclaimed student of politics and conservatism who, like me, believes most of us in the U.S. are feeling “disengaged from politics,” and Republicans have become detached from conservatism. In his online column “The Conservative Thinker,” he narrows conservatism down to eight bullet points. I will go through each bullet and describe each of his factors of conservatism.
First on Haynes’ list is limited government. This describes a shift of power from the federal government to state and local governments. To me, the importance of this is to bring politics closer to home. Liberals feel a strong central government equals stability, but in reality it makes it harder to hear the peoples’ needs. It is not uncommon to find an American who feels the government is distant and needs are not being met since most political happenings occur in Washington, D.C.
Economically, Conservatives support low taxes and free markets. The belief in free markets is a major difference between Conservatives and Republicans, who tend to support the dreaded “big business.”
Liberals tend to be in favor of a progressive tax which comes with higher taxes for everyone and takes an even higher percentage from the upper class, while Conservatives favor a low flat tax which takes the same amount across all social classes. Obama’s view of taxation allows the government to control where money is being allocated, but Conservatives’ flat tax allows the people to decide the direction of the economy.
Behind most conservative arguments are the founding documents such as the Constitution. This is because Conservatives hold founding ideas to be detrimental to the survival of the country. The way I see it, documents such as the Constitution are what turned a poor, small country into an economic powerhouse and a superpower.
Within these documents we find the other principles Conservatives believe in. These include: individual liberty, rugged individualism, American exceptionalism (we are number one), free speech and free people.
The last two are possibly the most important ideals of conservatism, and what I hold dearest. No group takes these two issues more to heart than the recently risen Tea Party, which is giving conservative Republicans a party to associate with and support.
Democrats and Republicans alike have continuously criticized the Tea Party movement, saying it is nothing more than a grass-root movement which will soon run out of fuel. Despite these comments, the Tea Party is growing exponentially. Evidence of this was seen at the Tea Party protest in Washington, D.C. this April, more than half a million Tea Party-supporters crowded the streets to protest new taxes and spending — demonstrating the Tea Party’s ability to flex their free speech muscles.
For the first time in almost a century, the United States is experiencing severe economic woes, but no relief has been offered by the government. Rather, people are met with distracting and controversial decisions while the government tiptoes around the people’s real concerns.
There is a ray of hope for Americans — the resiliency of their neighbors and fellow Americans, which can never be questioned. It was free Americans who made this country the superpower it is, and it is free Americans who will honor this tradition.