I have recently been engaged in one of the most thought provoking conversations of my life; one that calls on retaining the wisdom of experience while disengaging the perspective of the years required to get there. The goal of the project is to develop a young Republicans organization that will attract members under the age of thirty.
Association based on political philosophy is not exactly the hot topic for the twenty-somethings. But party affiliation is primarily about principles. And the Republican Party Platform is not a list of cool things to do on Spring Break.
We are knowingly beginning at a disadvantage. Gallup reports
that, “Young voters overall tend to identify more strongly with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party, so it is highly likely that they will break for Obama in the general election. Romney's challenge is to capture some of the enthusiasm young Republican voters have for Paul in an attempt to blunt Obama's strength among this group. Romney's demonstrated lack of appeal to younger Republicans in the primary season suggests this may be difficult.”
First of all, the party trademark is an elephant. At least that beats having to start with a jackass as an insignia. Nonetheless, the arduous task of gaining membership is one of appealing to latent sensibilities. The ultimate aim is to succinctly state wisdom in a manner that is lucid, credible, and compelling to a 20-year-old. This is the sort of challenge that trendoid marketing professionals dream of.
Fortunately for everyone supporting the effort, the task leader is the 21-year-old President of the local state university college Republicans. He gives us insight like expressing values over issues. This perceptive approach leads us to revisit traditional liberal positions in a manner that could greatly increase our effectiveness in communicating the conservative worldview.
The comparisons that we can draw for the sake of twenty-somethings may include:
The Republican Party encourages young Americans to pursue their life’s ambitions. With personal drive, skill development, and responsible actions, an American can find professional fulfillment while earning enough money to cover the expenses of their chosen lifestyle.
The Democratic Party uses discrimination in order to achieve equality. Their philosophy of results uniformity is asserted under the banner of Affirmative Action.
The Republican Party recognizes America’s founding assertion that the Creator granted all rights to all citizens of the Earth. Citizens establish governments to ensure those rights.
The Democratic Party asserts that the rights of the citizen are granted and refused by government alone.
The Republican Party honors the critical and independent role of churches for pursuing matters of faith, understanding of the mystery of life, and the exercise of charity. The party respects the freedom of individuals to participate in the church of their choice or to ignore religion entirely.
The Democratic Party maintains an exclusive faith in government as the appropriate and sufficient body for providing understanding of the mystery of life and the exercise of charity. They effectively utilize Thomas Jefferson’s notion of the Separation of Church and State to ensure that churches do not compete with the unofficial position of Pantheism
as the state religion.
The Republican Party sees charity as an act of responsibility and kindness, maintaining the dignity of people who have found themselves in a position beyond their control.
The Democratic Party sees charity as an opportunity to develop government dependents who will become reliable voters.
The Republican Party believes that the vote of every qualified American should be counted with assurance and integrity.
The Democratic Party believes that vote integrity means voter suppression and that allowing for voter fraud means ensuring minority voter access.
The Republican Party understands that the United States is formed as a republic, with a constitution upheld by elected representatives.
The Democratic Party prefers the tyranny of a pure democracy (frequently described as two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner).
This work toward the handoff to the next generation is encouraging and, I believe, critical. President George Washington agreed, in his First Inaugural Address,"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."