By Matthew Fuzi
Over the previous five years, the United States has observed a worrisome uptick in political polarization.
Gone is the spirit of compromise and cooperation. In its place, the detrimental norms of toxic partisanship and ideological demagoguery.
Gone are the days of “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Instead, this fundamental value of democracy now has seemingly been supplanted with “I disagree with what you say, so shut up!”
For many Americans, from independents to third-party voters, and even the apolitical citizenry, finding a niche in the Age of Trumpism is an arduous task at best. Among those attempting to navigate these turbulent and transitional times are many members of the younger generations who identify as Republicans.
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Although the GOP may have declared its unwavering support for the Trump agenda at the 2020 Republican National Convention in lieu of an official platform, many of us conservative millennials and Generation Z-ers are not as eager to throw our support behind the increasingly divisive and erratic President Trump.
We young conservatives still hold dear to the values of patriotism, national unity, fiscal responsibility, a free market-based economy and the founding principles of the U.S. Declaration of Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Nevertheless, many of us remain unconvinced that the modus for enshrining these virtues are the unlawful and unconstitutional rhetoric of Trump, as well as the current Republican Party’s open hostility to much-needed reforms.
Data from the Pew Research Center supports this generational disconnect. Increasing demographic diversity, declining religious zeal and a noticeable shift in policy priorities across each successive generation indicates a necessity on the the part of our policymakers to respond to the changing face of the United States, as opposed to trying in vain to avert or prevent it.
Given these circumstances, Republicans cannot continue to cry “Make America Great Again,” as if to imply that a forward-thinking America of the future is a weak America.
Rather, young conservatives need to take the lead, champion bipartisanship with their Democratic counterparts and develop a Republican platform that is both grounded in the Constitutional principles of these United States as well as more conducive to an evolving American landscape.
Just as it is our obligation to promote a robust national defense, practice restraint in taxation and public spending and respect the individual rights of every American citizen, it is our patriotic American duty to protect our planet against the real threats of man-made pollution and climate change, to stand up against discrimination, racial inequality and police brutality, to defend the keystone First Amendment freedoms of self-expression for Americans of all persuasions and to create pragmatic solutions to such complex domestic issues as health care, welfare and poverty alleviation.
Only then can We the People of the United States mend this great partisan schism and continue our work toward a more perfect union.
Matthew Fuzi is the deputy director of operations at Gen Z GOP, a political advocacy organization for young conservatives.