When Denver Huffington Post editor Ethan Axelrod approached us about writing for this site, we were confused. "You know we're conservative, right?" we asked. Yes, he responded, that's why he wanted us. How refreshing.
The Huffington Post, despised by many Republicans with a passion usually reserved for the leftist media machine known as The New York Times, is taking a stand for ideological diversity. David Horowitz would be so proud. We're serious.
In this modern era where newspapers struggle to maintain their existence and local news stations are letting longtime political reporters go, the prevailing industry view is that media outlets need to feed their ideological bases to survive. It's like this: conservatives, from their gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalades, will religiously turn into Rush Limbaugh's radio show to cheer on any legislation aspiring to take health care away from poor immigrant children. Meanwhile, as liberals meditate over organic lattes after life-altering yoga classes costing more than most hospital co-pays, they will inevitably have their iPods tuned to National Public Radio. These are the hardcore audiences that will guarantee a return on advertising dollars.
But then there are the rest of us. People who don't fit into the stereotypical partisan box -- those who rarely, if ever, see reflections of ourselves in editorial page political cartoons. This is who we hope to speak to, and perhaps for, from this space.
This is not to say we're backing away from our identity as partisan Republicans. We both worked under GOP leadership in the U.S. Congress. We give graciously -- and whenever possible -- to Republican candidates we believe in. And after a few happy hours at the local dive bar, you might even get us to admit we voted for George W. Bush. Twice. We're pro-life, love the Second Amendment, and our disdain for our federal tax bill is only surpassed by the pity and annoyance we feel for self-victimizing Americans who have given up on their own ability to one day realize the American Dream. And yes, we're those Republicans who believe everyone has the ability to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Everyone. Balancing new social programs on the backs of future workers who have yet to be born should be considered nothing less than generational child abuse.
But the story doesn't stop here.
We're both actively involved in the growing national effort to end our nation's failed multi-billion dollar drug war, and more specifically in the Colorado campaign to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients. We donate regularly to programs supporting single mothers. Among our closest friends, we claim evangelical Christian homeschoolers and at least one self-proclaimed communist. And when it comes to the gay marriage debate, we reject the prevailing views held by both the left and the right. If we had our way, America would abandon government-sanctioned marriage altogether -- without regard to gender. Instead of picking and choosing who can win a county clerk's stamp of approval on a marriage certificate, we believe the decision to unite as life partners should be affirmed or rejected only by the two individuals involved. The government's role in these relationships should be limited solely to resolving issues surrounding child custody, litigation stemming from the fiscal aspects of the relationship, or other challenges arising as a result of the complexities of sharing a household. The bottom line: when it comes to our personal lives, we believe in an America where citizens don't rely on government to serve as our primary moral compass or moral arbiter. We've allowed ourselves to be babysat by bureaucrats for too long.
To some of you, this perspective may sound familiar. You may call us libertarians. We won't correct you. At the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank, staffers will often proclaim that Republicans want to keep government out of the board room, while Democrats want to keep government out of the bedroom. Cato, meanwhile, fights to keep government out of both. It's a good line; we're stealing it.
But in this current era, where our national self-esteem increasingly suffers the tarnishes of an extended fiscal slump, Wall Street scandals, union corruption, and widespread fear surrounding continued international unrest and global terrorism, espousing a commitment to personal responsibility and individual rights becomes more important than ever. We literally can't afford anything less.
While liberals believed so passionately that President Barack Obama's election marked a turning point that would once again return us to a place of pride, such hopes have yet to be realized. It's too tall of a task for a single person, even a president -- and especially one selling increased government dependency as an outlet for real change.
By writing for the Huffington Post, we will strive to open a few liberal minds to a couple of open-minded conservatives. And we look forward to learning a thing or two from you along the way. If we can break down the artificial partisan animosity that has for too long defined our public political debate, we will consider this adventure a success.
There will inevitably be moments when the majority of this site's readers will want to kick us or send us straight to mandatory diversity training -- maybe you'll even post a little nasty gram of a comment. We welcome the dialogue. But we also hope, when appropriate, you'll take a step back to ponder the position we've advocated, and maybe just maybe, admit we're right.
If nothing else, we're all in this together. This is an experiment designed to engage people of different ideologies at a common central venue. Will it work? If you happen to be a corporate media executive rolling your eyes at this point, you've got to admit we've won at least this first round. After all, you've now at the end of our first column. This inevitably means we've managed to keep at least a few ideologically opposed eyeballs engaged. Right on.
Jessica Peck Corry (www.JessicaCorry.com) is a public policy analyst with the Independence Institute in Golden, Colo., and Robert J. Corry, Jr. (www.RobCorry.com) is a Denver-based attorney specializing in civil rights and criminal defense.
For more news and commentary from Colorado, check out HuffPost's just-launched Denver section.