By Brian Fitzpatrick
I am a Republican. There, I said it.
Because I believe a hand up is better than a hand out. That smaller government is better. That often, taxes are wasted. And that less intrusion by the state leads to a healthier and happier populace.
Not everyone agrees with this approach. I get that. I’m OK with different opinions. We all view the world from a different angle. In the end, somewhere in the middle is probably where we belong as a country. So we all get along.
So why am I writing this? Because my party, the Republican Party, is committing collective hara-kiri on its current path. I have been a Republican since I worked on my first political campaign at age 7. But 43 years later, I can tell you our brand is in the tank. And no one who can do anything about it seems to care.
Have you ever seen that crazy movie “World War Z?” The plot includes a scene where thousands of zombies finally scale the wall to the last refuge on earth by climbing on each other’s backs to attack the remaining humans.
Crazy analogy, but that is what has happened to our Congress. In successive elections over the past couple of decades parts of our country have sent representatives who will do just about anything to beat the other side into submission. And now they have breached the wall. Zombies are running the House of Representatives.
They do not debate. Do not really discuss. Certainly do not move off their predispositions. They beat them. In our sports-crazed culture we have descended into a Team A versus Team B mentality. It’s win at all costs. No compromise. No questions. Beat them. Anything less is compromise. OMG, did I just say compromise? What a dirty word.
Vote to shut down our government? Sure! Let’s go. Come close to defaulting on our enormous debts and wreck a weak economy? Absolutely! Kick the president in the shins over a website not working? Count me in!
Really? This is how we lead? This is the example we set? This is how we attract new voters to our party? This is how we build a broad coalition – a majority of voters – who have common beliefs and unite to govern our country in the next presidential election?
Sorry, no. It’s not going to happen. We’ve torn ourselves apart. We have driven people away and we can’t find the recipe to bring new souls in who aren’t zombies.
Sadly, the Republican Party will take years and years to rebuild. Surely it will not start in Washington, D.C., or Albany. It will start with us. As we have seen, there are no leaders in Washington. They are followers and not very good at that, either.
We are the leaders.
Let’s lead. We can’t let the zombies win.
Brian Fitzpatrick was chief of staff for former Rep. Amory Houghton, R-Corning.