I am sure I have written something about this topic before, but after this election, I began thinking of this topic again. The Republican Party that Americans know today came in two parts. The first was as a reaction to the radical 1960s culture. There wasn’t the term “values voter,” but the idea was still there. This is how Nixon came to power. After Nixon and Watergate, the White House needed to be opened back to the people, and that is where Ford and Carter came from. I know we didn’t elect Ford, but I feel as though President and Mrs Ford did more to heal the nation’s trust in the President that anyone else did. Carter came in as an outsider and, in my opinion, left the White House as an outsider. Then there is Reagan. Ronald Reagan did more for the Republican party than any other President in 40 years. He is the model of the Republican President that all other Republicans want to be. He was charismatic and was able to collect a majority of the Republican voices into one place and put them on the same path. No other President has been able to do such a thing. But Regan was President in a different time and a different age. In Regan’s day, a majority of Americans were white and could remember the troubled times of Watergate and some even the Sexual revolution of the 1960s. There was a collective consciousness and a collective memory. This day and age is very different.
I wonder if Regan would have Tweeted, Tumbled, or had a Facebook page. He would have, but I wonder if he would have used them. I wonder how Regan’s Presidency would have been different with the Internet. Would it have taken him so long to mention AIDS? Would the social issues of the 80s and 90s have been placed on the back burner and been left on our doorsteps to deal with? I don’t know. But I see now that the Republican Party isn’t willing to deal with the fact that with instant communication comes a need for instant answers and a need to deal with more opinions.
The US is not a nation of one race, religion or ethnicity, and that’s what makes this country great. There are so many ideas and backgrounds of people, and now, with the Internet, their collective voices can be heard. I see the Tea Party as a reaction to this. And, before, the Republican party followed suit with the reactionary politics. But this time the moderates see this will not work. The majority of the country is moderate, and, compared to the rest of the world, very conservative. The Democrats are trying to move the US towards a European style of governance, and there are people who don’t like that. Republicans seem to be fighting the wrong battles and using petty arguments to forget the real point. We are a nation of 50 states with diverse geographies and regions and social realities. We need leaders who can deal with all of it, and not just what he or she wants to.