Essay: Why I’m a Republican
Robert A. Hall
Massachusetts Senate, 1973-83
I am a Republican because I know a government’s first responsibility is to protect the lives, property and freedoms of its citizens. I support a strong national defense. I support victory in the war against the Islamic Jihadists who would use violence to impose their tyrannical political-religious life system on the world. Only through victory over this fascist-like abomination can we guarantee the freedom, lives and property of the millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and decent people of other faiths and beliefs who want only peace and prosperity.
I am a Republican because I believe that enemy prisoners of war should be treated according to the Geneva Convention, as POWs, and that those who do not wear a uniform and seek to sabotage and murder us should also be treated according to the Geneva Convention and the laws of war as illegal combatants, as FDR did with Nazis in WWII. Enemy POWs who are trying to destroy the constitution are not entitled to the protection of that constitution or to civilian trials as though they were American citizens, any more than the Nazi prisoners of WWII were entitled to lawyers and trials.
I am a Republican because I believe in American exceptionalism, and I know that America has far more to be proud of in what we’ve given the world, than to apologize for. America is the only superpower that has not tried to take other countries by force, asking only a bit of land to bury our dead, who fell freeing them from oppression. I know that when a disaster happens, the hopeful eyes of the victims turn not to the UN, or to Europe, but to America and our military.
I am a Republican because I know that at its best government creeps ever toward the statist tyranny of collectivism. I support limited government, and the checks and balances in our constitution, including the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government and between the federal government and the states. I am a Republican because I understand that government is necessary, but that limited government protects freedom—no person or party can be trusted with unlimited power. And I know that tyranny can win elections.
I am a Republican because I believe in the individual and in individual rights and responsibilities, and I oppose collectivism, statism and the desire of the nanny state bureaucrats to care for and control us from cradle to grave. I am a Republican because “equality of opportunity” is the great promise of our Republic, while chasing the chimera of “equality of outcomes” leads to repression and poverty for all.
I am a Republican because I know that free enterprise, free markets and free trade are the economic engines that have provided the best standards of living for the maximum number of people throughout history. Without property rights and economic freedom, there is no political freedom. All other systems have provided only poverty and repression.
I am a Republican because I support Freedom of Speech, even on University campuses, even if statists want to criminalize speech they dislike or disagree with as “hate speech.”
I am a Republican because I support Freedom of Religion and the constitutional prohibition against the establishment of a state religion, but I know this does not mean “freedom from religion,” nor that the government must suppress religious observances and convictions on behalf of those without faith.
I am a Republican because I support the Second Amendment, and the right of honest and decent people to own firearms not only for hunting and recreation, but to protect themselves and their families from the domestic terrorists and criminals in our midst.
I am a Republican because I know that it is the private sector that creates lasting prosperity and wealth. When the government puts money in the economy, it must first take money from the economy through taxes or borrowing, and thus puts less back than it takes, as the bureaucracy soaks up its share. The government doles out money on the basis of what is best for politically-connected groups, not what will best help the economy.
I am a Republican because I know that government is inherently inefficient and that it makes political rather than economic decisions. Therefore I oppose the government taking over anything that can be left to the private sector.
I am a Republican because I believe in openness and transparency in government. I know that members of my party have not always followed this principle, but they should, leaving the secret and corrupt backroom deals to those who are more experienced in making them.
I am a Republican because I care about the integrity of the electoral process, and believe that voter fraud and voter intimidation should be punished severely, because it strikes at the basis of all our freedoms.
I am a Republican because I believe in diversity in a political party’s leadership. Law is an honorable profession, but when a party is controlled entirely by lawyers—or any other profession—in its leadership, it is disastrous for the country. I believe a review of the lawsuit crisis in America, and what it does to the cost of healthcare, the economy and the faith of people in the system amply demonstrates this point.
I am a Republican because I believe in fiscal responsibility in government. I know Republicans have too often strayed from this principle, tempted to buy votes through earmarks and deficit spending for short-term political gain, but I believe our party must bear the responsibility for fiscal discipline even at the cost of electoral defeat at the hands of those seeking handouts. We have seen in 2009 exactly what happens when a political party with no fiscal discipline gains full control of government and begins to reward favored groups. The demand for largess always rapidly outstrips the supply of cash.
I am a Republican because I believe in integrity in public office. That Republicans have been guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance in office is undeniably true, and pains me. As Republicans, we should drive them out first and punish them more severely, just as a police officer should be held to a higher standard. But historically, Republicans have been the party of integrity and reform, and we must fight for honest government, even against party members.
I am a Republican because I know that low taxes stimulates the economy better than government spending, and because people who work hard and earn their money should be allowed to keep as much of it as possible. Doing so provides the incentive for improving people’s lives through innovation and for creating jobs.
I am a Republican because I believe that political decisions should be made by elected officials answerable to the people, at the lowest level of government possible to be responsible to the people, rather than by unelected federal bureaucrats answerable to no one but union bosses.
I am a Republican because I care about, support and try to practice tolerance and respect for people who are black, white, red, brown, yellow, old, young, male, female, gay, straight, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans and Global Warming Devotees, and I don't think they should be discriminated against, either by Jim Crow laws or Affirmative Action laws. I believe the law should judge us, and we should judge each other, as individuals. I don’t believe that elected officials should get a pass on integrity issues because they belong to a favored ethnic group. Just as we do not help the Republican Party by soft-pedaling or covering up corruption by Republicans, we do not help blacks and the cause of eradicating racism by soft-pedaling or covering up corruption because an elected official happens to be black. Doing so suggests that the powers that be expect such from black people, a terrible burden the Democrats have placed on that race.
I am a Republican because I believe in diversity of thought, and think that the rigid lack of intellectual diversity and group-think in our universities is a growing disaster for the country.
I am a Republican because I am proud of the history of the Republican Party in ending slavery, defending freedom, saving the Union and providing a majority of the legislative votes to pass women’s suffrage over the objections of “Progressive Democrat” Woodrow Wilson (look it up).
I am a Republican because the Republican Party better represents the philosophy of the nation’s founders, especially including Thomas Jefferson, and of Andrew Jackson, and of Abraham Lincoln, while the modern Democrat party increasingly has its intellectually roots in utopian European collectivism, not in American individualism.
I am a Republican because I know that being a Republican doesn’t require me to vote for every person who runs for office with an “R” next to the name, and especially not if that person does not demonstrate the necessary competence, integrity or commitment to basic principles to deserve to hold the office.
As a life-long Republican, I reject the concept that all Republicans must think alike on every issue to be good Republicans, like religious factions killing each other over smaller and smaller pieces of doctrine. Attempts to purge the party of the “impure” will eventually result in there being only one “pure” Republican, who won’t win any elections.
Despite the stereotypes pushed by Democrats and the media, I do not have inherited wealth, I’m certainly not in their class warfare, tax-target group of elite earners making over $250,000 a year (unfortunately). I’m not a banker, a Wall Street trader, a stock broker, a doctor, or a business executive. I’m not even a small business owner, a group Democrats speak well of but try to tax and regulate to extinction, even after the owner’s death. I’ve been a Marine and a full time state senator. Since 1982, I’ve worked for non-profits. Through hard work, I make a comfortable living for my family. I think my retirement, if I’m forced to retire by age or health, will be financially tight. I’m just a middle class American who has tried, always, to be of service. And I’m a Republican.
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Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate immediately after graduating from the University of Massachusetts in 1972 with a degree in Government. He holds an MEd in History from Fitchburg State, and has published two books, The Good Bits and Chaos for Breakfast. He blogs at http://www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com/.