Republican Party Today Is in Flux
Growing up in Pinehurst and Southern Pines was an experience of being surrounded by a rural lifestyle I did not understand.
While my father gambled on the "one- armed bandit" semi-secretly hidden at a local country club, played craps at the Dunes Club, or drank illegally served liquor at Hernando's Hideaway, I did not understand that there was a whole world outside the resort and about which I was inexperienced.
Sure, I hunted in the woods of Carthage. I used the 21-round magazine attached to my .22 caliber Remington Nylon rifle, a firearm that may shortly be declared illegal everywhere as it is now in New York. I even fished at Lakeview.
But Loretta Lynn was not on my record player. I was utterly ignorant about methods of milking cows. And, all I knew about curing tobacco was that the aroma at the Aberdeen Tobacco Auction - something which can only be otherwise enjoyed in heaven.
As my life wore on, I realized that life in rural Moore County was a gift beyond golf. I learned that I had a common interest with my rural neighbors.
I wanted more freedom, less government, and a moral foundation for the government that remained. I, like they, supported conservative ideals.
More recently, state sanction of marriage between same sex couples and the acceptance of infanticide "in utero" as a constitutional right and means of birth control is something that my rural friends could never accept. Neither could I.
So I joined the tea party movement, a place where gun-toters who freely referred to the Bible for guidance, both rural and urban, could express their conservative values.
We won the 2010 midterm elections nationally. We won the North Carolina election of 2012. But we did not win the presidential race and lost a few congressional seats outside the Old North State.
So, since November 2012, I started to feel the kind of rift I had experienced as a child, the rural-urban chasm based upon what I now know to be snobbery.
It is a feeling that a degree from a liberal arts college should earn a person deference from those who get their hands dirty or greasy. I hated it then, and I hate it now. And I fear that is road down which some national Republicans want to take us.
Many want to abandon long-term conservative goals of less government and lower taxes. They drink the Kool-Aid of the Northeast liberal machine. They make peace with using our money to support a welfare state as the future of a "New America."
In short, many Republicans across the nation seem embarrassed by the conservatives whose vote they courted just a few months ago. They want to abandon their party coalition for fear they will offend the mainstream media and the Northeastern elite.
We Republicans must understand that our party, like the Democrats, consists of a coalition. We are both "new" and "old" conservatives, both urban and rural voters from places as diverse as Chevy Chase, Md., and Robbins, N.C.
Yet we need to form a united front against the liberals who profess to be "progressive," but who want to simply recycle the depressing programs of the Depression on borrowed money.
The Republicans more comfortable supporting Everett Dirksen and Henry Cabot Lodge must become just as comfortable embracing those who, in earlier times, supported both conservative Democrat B. Everett Jordan and Republican Jesse Helms.
Indeed, we are a party in flux. We are seeking a replay of that coalition "sweet spot" where members of country clubs joined farmers and factory workers to support a president who never went to Harvard or Yale, but understood that America's heartbeat is found in the intelligence of plumbers as much as professors.
His name was Ronald Regan. He clearly unified a nation by winning 48 states and causing the Northeastern elite to at least temporarily rethink its snobbery. But his legacy for our party was just as important. Reagan was a coalition-builder within the party as much as he was a consensus-builder with the Democrats.
While we are without his presence, we are not without his spirit. And that spirit demands that our party, both rural and urban, conservative and moderate, unite to fight the liberal agenda of Barack Obama.
Robert M. Levy is chairman of the Moore County Republican Party. Contact him at Law52@prodigy.net.
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