Is common sense lost on the Republican Party?

When Don Ruzicka of the Utah Republican Assembly says that his goal is to return the Republican Party to its conservative roots, I want to know two things: Has the Utah Republican Party ever in its history been as radically conservative on trade, abortion and education as his organization lobbies for? Even in the early part of this century when there was little free trade and an isolationist political environment (which may qualify on a few issues as a time when his views had some similarities with the Republican Party's), would he want to return us to that time before and during the Great Depression and two world wars?The Utah Republican Party will never be rooted in the views of radical conservatives like the Utah Republican Assembly. Contrary to what Ruzicka believes, the majority of Utah's Republicans do not see a conspiracy around every corner; I think they also believe in the whole Constitution and not only the parts that suit their political agenda. Cases in point are the first and second amendments.

The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, and the hard right vehemently argues for that right to go unchecked with no judicial or congressional interference. On the other hand, these groups just as vehemently strive to limit the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech.

For example, Ruzicka and his radical conservative followers look to the Supreme Court to provide interpretation as to what defines obscenity and decency based on community standards. What they are actually after is the imposition of limits on free speech. The contradiction lies in the fact that they want no limit on guns by the courts or Congress, but with free speech, the courts and Congress are required to intervene for the moral protection of all.

Regardless of your own personal opinion about these two issues, we cannot have it both ways.

Anyone with common sense sees that the Founding Fathers could not have foreseen the potential for the type of weapons or speech that would become available in the 21st century. That is why the Constitution also fundamentally provides for a Congress to make laws for changing times and circumstances as well as a Supreme Court (and any other courts deemed necessary by the Supreme Court) to adjudicate the laws of the land, including the issues that relate to the Constitution itself.

As a delegate to the Republican State Convention this spring, I was shocked that the radical minority could dominate the discussion. By having an overrepresentation of their numbers at the convention and then enhancing that overrepresentation with negativism and critical speech, they succeeded in taking over temporarily. But let's remember that it is one thing to disagree and even voice discontent at policies and issues we don't agree with. It is another thing entirely to demand that the party narrow its platform to include only their views and to strive to require every candidate to sign an oath of loyalty to that platform or not have an opportunity to run for an elected office as a Republican.

The only answer that will bring sanity and common sense back to the Republican Party is found in the very framework of our rights as Americans. The great silent majority that make up the complete Republican Party and not just the "conservatives" or "liberals," as Ruzicka so incompletely labels everyone, can become more involved in the process. This includes organizing to further common-sense causes. Through common-sense efforts, this majority of Republicans can accomplish the wide range of goals before us. That will diminish the radical work by those who would have us all live in a world of "their" creation.

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and the other Founding Fathers did not agree on every issue. They did, however, fight with their very souls for the right we all have to express our opinion through involvement in the political process. In Federalist Paper #10, James Madison said that one of the greatest threats to the republic was factions. Groups organized with their special interests as their only goal could dominate the political landscape and limit freedom. His answer to factions was to design a government with checks and balances.

Our check on factions is to become involved and to limit their power through the processes guaranteed in the Constitution. If interested in joining a Republican organization made up of people with common sense, e-mail me at [email protected] Stay tuned.