RUZIECKI: Republican Party shouldn’t repeat same mistake in future
Opinions Column: Conscience of a Co-Ed
The Grand Old Party has come a long way since its founding. Comprised of ex-Whigs and ex-free-soilers, many had come together in their opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the depravities of slavery. During the term of America’s first Republican president, the party that had just been formed almost saw its end after Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in March of 1861. With a Civil War looming, it was there where Lincoln laid out the beginning of the Republican platform when he said, “A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people.” It was with great humility and diligence that Lincoln preserved the Union, the country and the Republican Party.
Nearly a century later, along came the presidency of Ronald Wilson Reagan, who brought the US out of stagflation and restored our hope and our faith in our Republic. We have come a long way since President Reagan instilled hope in us by believing that by simply being Americans, we can accomplish great things. We have certainly come a long way since the heroism of President Lincoln. The Republican Party today is not the Republican Party that it once was. A Republican Party that unites itself behind an indignant dilettante is not the party that Lincoln had envisioned. I often wonder how we got ourselves into this present situation.
How out of a field of 17 respectable Republican men and women did we nominate the worst possible choice? I have often been disappointed in my party for nominating a moderate year after year, but this year has proven to be a whole different ball game. I have previously written about my dismay with conservatives who have supported Trump, but it is true that I am disappointed with any Republican who can support Donald Trump. I find it unconscionable that anyone can support a man who continuously speaks in racist and misogynist undertones and incites violence within his establishment. Republicans are better than that, as history has shown, and I have never been more ashamed to align myself with faux Republicans who support this behavior. We as Republicans are better than this alt-right cretin, for it is the Democratic Party with an evil past on racism and suppression.
We must not forget that it was the Democratic Party who fought vigorously against the 14th and 15th amendments. It was the Democratic hero, Woodrow Wilson, who segregated the federal government, and threw suffragettes in jail for opposing his actions. It was Civil Rights hero President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who repeatedly belittled African Americans and did not support the Civil Rights Act of 1957 when he was in the Senate. Now I’m sure that Democrats today condemn the actions of their predecessors that have served before them. Respectively, it would be naïve of me to say that all Republicans are saints.
That would be foolish of me to say considering the people that have come out of the woodwork to support Mr. Trump. But simply put, the Democrats are not the saints they claim to be on race, and that point is clear. What we can only hope for is for us as a nation to come together and figure out what went wrong this election cycle. What, as Republicans, did we do to nominate an imbecile former Democrat with no knowledge of Republican ideals to potentially occupy the highest office in all of the land? It is no secret that the election of 2016 is a doctoral dissertation in the making, but what made it that way? Republicans who supported Trump throughout this ordeal need to think long and hard about what they created and defended at every turn.
Nominating Trump to be the Republican nominee was a mistake in and of itself, but we must think about the possible ramifications this could have on the future of the party. Never again should we have to choose the lesser of two evils. It was during the election of 1964 where a future President Ronald Reagan made his famous “time for choosing” speech. It was during this speech where he said, “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down.” We should hope we never have to choose between a down or a down ever again. Republicans, beginning on Nov. 9, need to band together and start the party healing process. We can only hope that in four years, Republicans will wake up and nominate a breath of fresh air to be the leader of the free world.
Louis Ruziecki is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in history. His column, “Conscience of a Co-Ed,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.
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