Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Republican values

About a month ago, I read a column in the Phila Inquirer written by a woman discussing classic republican values as republican ideas and the fact that these values are always "in". She listed 4 values; patriotism, hard work, individualism and traditional marriage. I was surprised to find that I shared 3 of them yet considered myself a democrat. Perhaps I am in the wrong party? Below is the letter to the editor which I sent in response to that column.

To the Editor:

Thanks for the article by Mary Manjikian about Republican values. While I am a registered Democrat, I was surprised to find that I shared 3 of the 4 values that she listed as classic Republican ideas; patriotism, hard work and individualism. So I thought I should think more deeply about her words so I could shed some light on this seeming contradiction.

Focusing on her 4th value, traditional marriage, started the ball rolling, as it seems to contradict the very idea of individualism. I guess, the republican version of individualism only accounts for those individuals who are like them. To me, believing in individualism includes the acceptance that everyone is different. Conversely, only supporting individuals who share your beliefs, only acknowledging groups of people who live as you do, and working to deny the very rights that you hold sacred from those that are not the same as you is the antithesis of individualism.

As for patriotism, I am hard pressed to recall those praising the tea party movement had any praise for the anti-war demonstators in the Bush years. In fact, my recollection is that those citizens who expressed their disagreement with what they thought was an immoral and unjustifiable war were called unpatriotic, even sympathizers with the enemy. Again, it seems that the republican version of patriotism is limited by their belief in what they think is good for the country, no quarter given for those that disagree.

I don't find it worth commenting on hard work as, to me, stating as fact that the group you belong to works harder than another group is about as arrogant as you can be.

So again, thanks for Ms. Manjikian's article. While I hope her opinions don't reflect the attitude of all republicans, for me it is clear that she has no interest in debating the issues of the day because she already knows that her verison, the republican version, of values such as patriotism and individualism do not include the opinions of anyone else.

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