Why I am a Republican
When I was 10 years old, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. This affable man, with the easy manner and captivating way of speaking, reminded me of my Grandpa. In a strange coincidence, they share the same birthday: February 6th. For these reasons - the birthday, the way they both spoke, with quiet common sense, humor, and hope for the future - my formative years were spent admiring both my Grandpa and President Reagan. My Grandpa was named Ray Martin, and he died in 1988, at the end of President Reagan's second term. I miss them both, for they both taught me much about life, and formed part of who I am. They both made this a better country in their own way.
In Oklahoma, there are three choices for most people when it comes to political parties: Democrat, Republican, and Independent. The Democrats ran Oklahoma from statehood until very recently. When I was growing up, the vast majority of voters were Democrats here. Some people didn't like political parties, and they became Independents. They also didn't get to vote very often, just in the General Election, so most people picked a "side". Being a Republican was a small rebellion, and I was the first to become one in my family.
The influence of Reagan was a prime motivator of my decision. His ideas about the role of government and nations, the place of God and Faith in public policy, and the duty and responsibilities of individuals to make America into the "shining city on a hill" all appealed to me. Young men like their own authority, so small government appealed to me. As a Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening church goer, God and Faith had a major role in my life, and the GOP stood firm for those of us who liked the Moral Majority. The Reagan vision of America's better days being ahead pulled at my own ambitions for the future, so my fate was sealed, and I was a Republican!
There are those who advocate either being an Independent or joining a "third" party, such as the Libertarians. While I can appreciate the attraction to not being in a political party (and have read President Washington's warning), it is not possible in this time to effect change outside the party system. There are many things to like about the Libertarian Party - and indeed, Reagan said "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism" (Reason Magazine, 1975). I see the Libertarian Party as our long lost GOP brothers who just need to be welcomed home properly. They are a part of us. We should reach out to them and prepare a place for them, not fight with them. We need each other to defeat the combined forces arrayed against us. Our differences are minor and agreements major. The right leadership can heal this divide, and I believe unity here is coming.
As time went on, my conviction deepened, with reasoned logic replacing youthful emotion. My passion for the cause of Liberty has never changed, only my understanding of the totality of it. By totality I mean how Liberty will seep into all aspects of not just government but life itself, and you begin to view things in a different way. I see the Republican Party as the best vehicle to bring about the Founding Father's vision of limited government ruled by Law, a strong national defense, individual rights, and free and fair markets. The Democratic Party has sadly been captured by socialists, Marxists, communists, and various leeches at the big government trough. This is not to say that the GOP has not lost it's way at times, because we have. I share in the blame myself, for I have not been as involved as I should be for long periods of time. That is a mistake I won't repeat.
We have made great gains in Oklahoma, and I am proud of my small part in helping my Party. I have been a Teen-Age Republican Vice Chair, a College Republican Chair, a volunteer, staffer, and/or paid consultant at the city, county, state, and federal levels, including time as a Congressional aide, a Finance Director for a winning Congressional campaign and Campaign Manager for a losing one. I have donated time and money I couldn't afford for causes I can't afford not to support. Most important of all, I am raising four little Republicans, who will carry on the fight for Freedom into the far future. That is the most important reason of all. And now you know why I am a Republican.