Ken Connor

It is undeniable that America's unparalleled diversity has contributed greatly to our strength as a nation. The success of our democratic experiment rests on our recognition that all men are created equal regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or religion. This collective recognition of our God-given liberties and the embrace of traditional norms and values are what enable our diverse multitudes to thrive as one nation. E pluribus, unum – out of many, one. If we reject everything that binds us together in favor of a ghettoized existence in which the only constant is the omnipotent hand of Uncle Sam, our nation as we know it cannot survive. Perhaps this is what the Democratic Party wants. Perhaps a loose collective of competing interest groups with no loyalty to anything but the federal government is exactly the kind of America they envision. It is certainly the kind of America that will vote the blue ballot every election day.

But a house divided against itself cannot stand, and an America deeply divided along ideological, socioeconomic, and identity group lines cannot long prosper. It cannot stand as a beacon of hope and strength in a world so often torn by chaos and strife. Perhaps the lesson for the GOP in this election is not that we should cease to stand for the principles that have long defined us, but that the time has come to refocus our attention on the foundational institutions that have long sustained us: family, faith, and community. For too long our politics have been fixated at the national level, convinced that the best way to impact the direction of the country is by seizing the White House and occupying both houses of Congress. But a focus on the national inevitably involves a neglect of the personal and the local, and it is at these levels that restoration must begin.

The rebuilding of crumbling social institutions is a long term task. It may take generations to get America back to a place where the things that unite us are stronger than those that divide, but no goal could be more worthy of the GOP's efforts and resources. Effecting real change is not a top down process. Our Republic will only be restored from the bottom up. If we fail to rebuild the foundations of civil society, this nation will not long endure.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.