What Republicans Believe
An essay by West Windsor Committee Member Marshall Lerner
Given all the distractions of the last few months it's all too easy to lose sight of the fundamental values that distinguish Republicans from everyone else. Here's a reminder about who we are and what we believe in:
Our last national Republican party platform affirmed that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness.
We reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.
We believe that the principles written in the Constitution are secured by the character of the American people. And that prosperity is the product of self-discipline, work, savings, and investment by individual Americans, but it is not an end in itself. Prosperity provides the means by which individuals and families can maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values, practice their faith, and build communities of self-reliant neighbors.
In the spirit of the Constitution, we consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral. We will strongly enforce anti-discrimination statutes and ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance. We support efforts to help low-income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit; but we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved, whether in government, education, or corporate boardrooms. In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.
The Republican Party includes Americans from every faith and tradition, and our policies and positions respect the right of every American to follow his or her beliefs and underscore our reverence for the religious freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of our nation and of our party.
The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self-government. In establishing a federal system of government, the Framers viewed the States as laboratories of democracy and centers of innovation, as do we. To maintain the integrity of their system, they bequeathed to successive generations an instrument by which we might correct any misalignment of power between our States and the federal government, the Tenth Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
We are the party of government reform. At a time when the federal government has become bloated, antiquated and unresponsive to taxpayers, it is our intention not only to improve management and provide better services, but also to rethink and restructure government to bring it into the twenty-first century. Government reform requires constant vigilance and effort because government by its nature tends to expand in both size and scope. Our goal is not just less spending in Washington but something far more important for the future of our nation: protecting the constitutional rights of citizens, sustainable prosperity, and strengthening the American family.
It isn’t enough to merely downsize government, having a smaller version of the same failed systems. We must do things in a dramatically different way by reversing the undermining of federalism and the centralizing of power in Washington.
We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create – families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods – to advance their ideals and make real their dreams. Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of our society and the first level of self-government. Its daily lessons-cooperation, patience, mutual respect, responsibility, self-reliance – are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic. Government can never replace the family. That is why we insist that public policy, from taxation to education, from healthcare to welfare, be formulated with attention to the needs and strengths of the family.
The Republican Party is the advocate for a strong national defense as the pathway to peace, economic prosperity, and the protection of those yearning to be free. Since the end of World War II, American military superiority has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our national security interests.