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Diversity of Opinion

May 8, 2011

The Democrat Party claims to be a party of diversity. They can reel of a list of groups, classes, races, and genders who they claim to represent. The one thing they cannot claim is diversity of opinion. There is a definite party line–and they all spout it. It’s bottom line is collectivism.

The Republican Party, I’ve always believed, is the polar opposite. There aren’t any talking points, there is instead a common belief in the founding principles of this country and robust debate on how they apply in any given situation. As for people, we represent anyone who subscribes to the principles–regardless of race, class or gender.

The controversy last week over a resolution introduced in the El Paso GOP Central Committee suggests to me that I may have been somewhat mistaken. At least one of our state representatives believes she and her policies are above criticism and caused this resolution to be introduced that sought to stifle criticism and open debate.

How are we to remain the party of ideas unless we can freely discuss those ideas? How can she expect lockstep support of a policy that she failed to sell to liberty activists, party members or even a majority of her caucus? If we had a parliamentary democracy, someone would have called for a vote of no confidence. I expect she will not remain Majority Leader in the next session; indeed, she may not even retain her seat.

The news is not all bad. The resolution did not pass until it was amended to make it more reasonable. There was concern about civility and about party unity but also equal or greater concern about freedom of speech. Here’s how County Party Secretary Sarah Anderson sums it up:

“This Resolution, proposed by House District 20 Chairman Bob Denny, forces an immediate and public debate on the future of the Republican Party.  Its content suppresses the right of the Officers of this party as well as Executive Committee members to voice their opinion on issues debated within the party.  A battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party is raging, which will determine whether or not we are worthy of regaining the trust of the public.  For too long, Republicans have not been seen as those who say what they mean or mean what they say.  On one side, we have those fighting for a party grounded in principle and on the precept that while Republicans may not agree with each other on everything, there are core values we share (limited government, free market economics, personal responsibility and lower taxes) – and on everything else we should stick to our guns and have a vigorous, open debate.  On the other side, we have those fighting to protect, insulate and continue the reign of power for incumbents and elected officials at all costs, including sacrificing our core principles.”

I’m on the side of open debate. That’s a principled Republican Party I can support.

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