Cal Thomas: Conservatives can adapt without compromise

"The color of the world is changing day by day." — "Les Miserables," the musical

A look at the electoral map indicates the Republican Party won in square miles. Unfortunately for them, electoral votes, not landmass, won President Obama a second term. Analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics estimated that total spending on federal elections would peak at nearly $6 billion, an all-time record. This spending included ads that carpet bombed swing states; yet we are still an almost equally divided nation. But America is rapidly changing.

Historically, the losing party turns introspective and asks itself how to attract more voters. Some Republicans are suggesting that social issues be jettisoned and the GOP should become more like Democrats. Why, then, have two parties? Step one in a reform agenda would be to remove "old" from the GOP moniker.

Conservatives can adapt to the cultural shift without compromising their principles, or they can retreat into a bunker mentality, lobbing rhetorical ordnance from previous generations, which has little power to persuade young people today.

America is getting younger, but not wiser. We are increasingly secular, less interested in sacrifice and, apparently, we have more faith in government. I doubt that many people under 40 have ever served in the military, or even know anyone who has. The old "family values" appeal no longer works because for too many younger people the family they value doesn't resemble the one older Americans recognize.

And there's something else. The campaign against same-sex marriage is over. Maine, Maryland and Washington state became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote. Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional amendment to ban it. Six other states — New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia grant same-sex marriage licenses. The Supreme Court might soon hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman. Conservatives might want to focus on strengthening their own marriages.

With Mitt Romney winning just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, Republicans need a new strategy to attract Hispanics whose values mirror those held by conservatives.

Democrats appeal to human nature. They know a growing number of people are becoming addicted to government. Democrats know that envy and greed are "deadly sins" that can be exploited for political gain. A new generation of have-nots needs to be taught that having not today doesn't mean never having, and that if they embrace a set of principles and emulate successful people, those now without much can earn a slice of an expanding American pie.

Conservative evangelicals made a valiant effort during the past three decades, hoping politics would advance another kingdom, which is "not of this world." Don't retreat; enlist in a better army with better weapons.

The one they follow demonstrated a power superior to the state, the power to change lives. Employ that power. Each church and religious institution, each individual, can find one poor family and ask if they want out of their circumstances and are willing to work for it, if a path is offered. One example: If a parent wants a child out of a failing public school, offer them financial help in placing the child in a good private school.

Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, and caring for widows and orphans is not a social gospel that replaces God with government. That's the view of the religious left. Rather, these behaviors serve the ultimate purpose of reaching the heart where real change takes place. And enough changed hearts lead to changed cultures.

The government beast is starved when people become independent of it. This will require a transfer of faith in government, to faith in an authority higher than the state and a leader more powerful than any president.

It will take time and investment of private resources, but it works and the results would be worth celebrating. We, the people, can still change the country in ways politics and governments never have and never will.

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist and author.

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Apparently, younger is "unwittingly" wiser

Who is Cal Thomas?

I like his use of "rhetorical ordnance". Although, me thinks he has always aimed it at the wrong targets. How frustrating he must feel.

Willard Romney is over 40 AND he didn't serve in our military, and neither did his under 40 sonsas.

The Republican, he says, won the election in "square miles", if that were the measure. But, it's not.

However, it does indicate the Republicans have a little more land than the rest of us, so let's go ahead and "redistribute" it around a little to balance things out a bit, shall we?

Yes. Let's "tax" the large landholders and, under eminent domain, reclaim these lands "for the public good" and redistribute 5 or so acres of it to every family who needs a house lot and adaquate growing ground and forested land.

I read an article not too long ago that said, if you gave every family of four in the United States 5 acres of land on which to build a home, provide food growing and wood for seasonal heat, the area needed for the entire population would not exceed an area the size of present-day Texas, and it would leave the entire remainder of the country in a state of wilderness. Where it could regenerate and cleanse itself.

Imagine 300 million people seperated from each other on 5 acre plots (thats out of sight of everyone on flat ground) and leaving virtually unlimited space for global regeneration.

This, of course, would not be practical, but living along watersheds and off the grid using solar / wind energy ...and transportable wigwams ...may be the future in a fully intelligent and wise world.

Mr. Thomas. Ya think?


Commom sense

It's strange that the Republican establishment and the churches never thought of these suggestions before. Chuches for example could help poor people to find work and help them to get off welfare. Sounds like what Jesus said. Republicans could have adopted the George W plan to solve the immigration situation instead of killing it and they would have picked up a bunch of latino votes and they could just leave women's health issues to women and their doctors. And they could work on becoming better Christians themselves rather than trying to turn the government into a church. Sounds like a path to success to me. One more thing, regarding those Republicans passing in petitions to secede. They should forfeit their citizenship and be deported to the country of their choice. No one is making them live with our government.

 's picture

The Republican problem was that they were speaking

about issues they know nothing about like abortion and contraception. Paul Ryan's statement that "rape is just another mode of conception" or Atkin's legitimate rape comment disrespect women and demonstrated the scientific ignorance of the Republican Party as a whole.
So I have a suggestion to change the dialog. Republicans (Ryan and Atkins submitted a bill in Congress) support a personhood amendment for fertilized human eggs. The US Supreme (Republican) Court has ruled that Corporations are people (and confirmed by the Republicans' Presidential candidate). Republicans can advocate a law making every fertilized egg a corporation at the moment of conception. Then instead of talking in biological terms the Republicans can talk in terms of business law. Conception is a question of Acquisition and Mergers. Abortion bankruptcy and liquidation. Birth Control a restraint of trade. No more messy women's issues just down to earth plain questions of business. The posibilities are endless. Republicans could completely redefine the issue.

Zack Lenhert's picture

"I doubt that many people

"I doubt that many people under 40 have ever served in the military, or even know anyone who has."

Aren't most people in the military under 40? If you come from a poor/middle class community, I'm sure you know someone that has served in the military. His comment may be true for our more "privileged" families.

I doubt that old Cal here knows what he's talking about.

RONALD RIML's picture

In Cal Thomas' circle of friends and acquaintances....

"I doubt that many people under 40 have ever served in the military, or even know anyone who has."

Could he be describing the five Romney boys, who range in age from 31 to 42? Certainly enlist-able at 20 to 31 when we were attacked on 9/11/01.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

People like the Romney family.....

..........find it beneath them to serve. They are elitist scum who would write off 47 % of us as worthless.

RONALD RIML's picture

Poor Cal....

He writes: "America is getting younger, but not wiser." All the while he grows ever older, sadly no wiser, but surely myopic and out of touch.


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