Sunday, November 8, 2009
Republicans must continue to stand for "personal responsibility"
I remember when I was young, asking my parents what the difference was between Republicans and Democrats. I was given a simplistic, and I would realize later, inaccurate answer that Republicans "were for the wealthy" and Democrats "were for the working man". It was very obvious to me, even as a kid, that we were not wealthy, so I just assumed "we must be Democrats ...". But I also remember my Dad and Grandfather talking about various politicians and saying that they "voted for the man, not the party". My Grandfather (on my dad's side) was a conservative, and he told me he had voted for many Democrats that were conservative.
But I didn't pay much attention to politics during or immediately after High School, and I was pretty much unaware of what my "political views" were, until I enlisted in the Army when I was 22. At that point I began paying much more attention to things that were important to being successful, setting my priorities, and being more responsible. The experience of serving in the military really made me grow up and take responsibility for my behaviour, which up until then I had not been doing.
While in the Army, I voted for the first time in the Presidential election of 1984, when Ronald Reagan was running for re-election. Reagan was largely responsible for helping rebuild our armed forces and restoring our country's pride in our military. I was proud to have served in the military with Reagan as my Commander-in-Chief, and that experience shaped and influenced my future political beliefs. I now also consider my conservative belief that every person must take personal responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences of their choices, to be a primary reason why I usually vote Republican.
When someone asks me "Are you a Republican ?", I usually answer "No, I'm a conservative, but I usually vote Republican". I don't want the Republican Party to think they can take my vote for granted. They have to continue to earn my support. I am a believer in a strong national defense and I am a fiscal conservative. I also believe that there should be a "moral element" to political leadership. The conservative belief in personal responsibility is probably the biggest difference between Republicans and the liberals in the Democrat party, and one of the most important.