I have had the privilege to be involved in the political process since 1976, when I was first involved in the general election campaign as a college student. Since then, I have participated in Republican Party leadership in three counties in Iowa and one in Minnesota. Through all of this, I have been, and remain, a Christian conservative voter. I landed in the Republican Party because it most closely identified with my beliefs and values many years ago, and I am still involved in it because it continues to be the party that most closely identifies with my beliefs to this day.
The preamble to the Republican Party of Iowa1 follows my beliefs and values closely. We are a Constitutional Republic and we have a well-thought-out and successful constitution that has served us well for many generations past and hopefully for many generations to come.
We should be able to expect all elected officials to follow the rule of law laid out by that constitution. It is very discouraging to watch the current state of our federal government, where many laws are disregarded and changed without the constitutional process of legislative changes. It was never the intent of our founding fathers that the judicial branch would have the ability to write new law nor for the executive branch to make laws by executive orders. We have set a very bad precedent and, by our own foolishness, have given too much power to the executive branch of our government. There will come a time when the left will be as dismayed as the right is now.
I also think we should expect our government to be fiscally responsible with the limited resources available to them, just as we need to be fiscally responsible with the limited resources of our own families. While I believe that we ought to properly finance our government with the needed resources to provide for the essential services of our government for the safety and protection of our citizens, we have long ago crossed into a different role where our current government is a conduit of taking from a shrinking group of folks to redistribute to another expanding majority with the promise of more free stuff. Listen to the chorus of promises of free healthcare, free college, free food, free utilities, free housing, and more. The politics of envy and coveting is discouraging to watch, and the current state of financial affairs has been a huge disappointment with the recent doubling of our national debt in a few short years.
As a conservative I believe that I can make better decisions on how my resources are used to benefit myself and my family. I believe that I, and not the government, am able to best determine how to educate and train my children. It is to my benefit to be able to keep more of my own resources and rely less on the government. It is discouraging to see people that actually believe that the government is a better steward of their own resources and efforts than they are.
Instead, I think that the individual should be responsible for their own success and failures. Of course there are bad things that happen to people through no fault of their own, and we as a society need to help people in unfortunate situations. One of the most important life lessons I have learned, and hopefully my family has learned, is that bad things occur and mistakes happen, but the measure of our true character is how we respond to those trials.
Taking responsibility and making corrective action to change the situation is part of being a responsible citizen. Therefore, the success of any government should be in how it helps citizens be responsible for their own lives. The government should seek the reduction of the number of citizens in dependency, not the expansion of dependency. However, right now we are observing the opposite of that: doubling the number of people needing food stamps in a few short years and having record numbers of households moving into poverty these past few years.
We are also experiencing a record number of workers whose participation is not present in the work force, with around 95 million adult aged workers who don’t have and aren’t looking for jobs.2 The sadness of this statistic is that the vast majority of these 95 million are receiving significant government subsidies and payments. Are we truly doing what is best if we place millions of individuals into states of ongoing dependency?
Capitalism and free markets have done more good in lifting populations out of poverty than any governmental intervention. As I observe the most poverty stricken countries in the world, there are several consistent themes that seem obvious. They are typically controlled by a heavy-handed government, lack many of our constitutional freedoms, and do not allow free capitalistic markets to flourish.
As Americans, we should encourage an economic environment where businesses can flourish. This will lead to the expansion of jobs and economic activity, and is preferable to implementing excessive regulatory rules, increasing forced costs, and confiscating assets that have been earned by a person’s own efforts.
I would like to see this freedom at work in the operation of government as well. Passing major legislation that has a profound impact on society should be done with broad bipartisan support such as was received by nearly every other society-changing legislation in the past (Social Security, Medicare, Equal Rights, etc.). Passing legislation without any debate and without reading or understanding the intent of the bill shows a level of arrogance that does not reflect well on our country.
Finally, there cannot be an issue more important from a Christian perspective than the sanctity and preciousness of our unborn children. We have a society where the support for unrestricted abortion is accepted by more and more individuals, including (very sadly) some in the Christian community. Our society has become increasingly callous so that the dismembering and selling of body parts of babies seems to not even offend some people.
Despite all of my concerns expressed here, I am always optimistic that our country can be salvaged from where we are. We must return to many of the founding principles of our country if we are to be successful. I think the Republican Party gives us the best chance to do this. I’m a Republican because that party gives me the most optimism about the future of our country.
Return to iAt throughout this week to read more on Christians’ engagement in politics. If you live near Sioux Center, Iowa, also consider attending the Iowa Conference on Presidential Politics on October 29-31, 2015.
“As Republicans we uphold the principles of individual responsibility and liberty, adherence to traditional moral standards, a strong national defense, a free enterprise system, respect for the sanctity of human life, and freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof. We believe in retaining the original intent of our Constitution. We believe high moral character is a necessity for public servants. The highest standard of character should be embodied in both private and public life. We encourage the proliferation of these principles and their passage to future generations.” ↩
Included in this number are college students, stay-at-home moms, disabled individuals, early retirees and several other categories. ↩