In a recent Politic365 opinion piece, CNN contributor and Republican strategist Lenny McAllister asks that I return to the Republican Party.
I know he means well because I've been where he is. On one occasion, I distinctly recall asking Muhammed Ali Hasan to return to the Party and was aghast in discovering the direct personal attacks he suffered because of the fear mongering tactics utilized by several in the Colorado GOP.
I appreciate and know that Lenny is being well-intentioned when he asked me to come back to the Party. However, it struck a nerve with me when he wrote:
"...minority Republicans need to stop running from the political fight if they ever truly want to win the social fights that hamper our nation..."
You see, I am not running away. I simply have a different level of understanding and a new sense of enlightenment. I stuck with the Republican Party for approximately 20 years, from 1991 to 2011. I knew the Party was for me when I made the decision to join the Air Force in 1991. Becoming a Republican had as much to do with my belief in strong national security and being part of a force that would help take down a bully such as Saddam Hussein. I was your ordinary neo-con, and a trained bomb-dog handler who was not allowed to "run away" from responding to bomb threats or fights - let alone a mere political one.
While it can be a noble idea to remain steadfast within a Party so change can happen within it, this does not mean this is the only way to make a change, as Lenny implied. Change happens from both outside and inside influences, and I am a firm believer that Independent thinking will naturally break down political paradigms we often find ourselves in.
For instance, independent thinking visionary Steve Jobs changed the standard of the tech world when he succeeded in removing highly irritating barriers that existed between the technocracy and average technology users seeking a more simplistic device. As Latinos seek to remove walls and barriers, we ought to think out-of-the-box with regard to political issues that are very near and dear to our hearts, and become forward thinkers too.
If we continue this same tiresome partisan path without looking for ways to break the partisan gridlock on immigration, we will unfortunately wind up in the same quandary. Abraham Lincoln once said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe extremists on both sides of the political spectrum have effectively created a mess in bringing partisan wars into our nation. We should change this somehow because divisiveness has eaten away at the fabric of the United States like a cancer.
Many Americans want to go back to good old fashioned politics - seeing our politicians working together and across the aisles in much the same way we witnessed Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill work. We hunger for real and reasonable solutions. Within the past year, we have witnessed Tea Party extremists call for a complete government shutdown. This was an asinine solution, and had their wishes been carried out this would have prevented military members from receiving their paychecks as they fought two wars overseas. We often see the competitive nature of the Tea Party Republicans in overdrive, so much so that they lost sight of our safety and forgot about our soldiers. I did not forget. It is no wonder the new Congress' poll ratings are horrendous.
I recently discovered that I wasn't the only one who left the Republican Party this past summer, and this issue does not solely affect Hispanics. Black Republican Ken Barnes also left the Party and was right to identify a pattern of extreme intolerance with regard to the self-identified tea party-conservative Republicans. The cartoon depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee was the match in the powder barrel for him.
I don't blame Ken for leaving the GOP, nor do I believe he ran away. There comes a point when a person refuses to be treated like a door mat, and Party should not be rewarded with votes when inaction of gross conduct occurs. The Republican National Committee has ignored moderating extreme bigotry and this will cost them future young voters. Fast and changing demographics point in this direction. They must no longer have short-sighted thinking as they operate from campaign year to campaign year, and strong leadership at high and powerful GOP levels must emerge in order for it to be saved.
So what do we do now as Independent-thinking Americans?
We should all try to find common ground and work on the things we can, together in a creative way, instead of on the destruction we see from political party hacks. Typically, we have seen Americans unite when a catastrophe occurs, but we should not wait for calamity this time around.
We have a new bully to take down, and that bully comes in the form of American divisiveness. I hope to sway Lenny McAllister into becoming a visionary, to come and join Ken and myself by registering as an Independent voter, too. He ought to help us eliminate and erase competing Party teams, thus creating one large team: The American team.
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