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‘A Banner of Bold Colors, no Pale Pastels’



Posted: Sep 10, 2022 12:01 AM

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

That Ronald Reagan quote should inform Republican candidates from coast to coast. We often hear candidates speaking about this or that issue within the campaign. Make no mistake, those issues are important. John Fetterman has never held a real job, so he doesn’t understand what it means to earn a living. Val Demings thought violent riots at Berkeley were a “beautiful sight.” And on and on.

There are a host of proper attack lines. Each has a legitimate target and a legitimate argument to make. “You voted to defund the police.” “You support policies that create inflation.” “Schools should be about education, not indoctrination.” Every one of these clearly deserves discussion. There are a host of other similar “look at me” lines. “We need to balance the budget.” “The FBI has to be reformed.” “Parents have to be the final authority on education.” Again, every one of these is valid and valuable.

In Virginia, Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears rode the school board issue to victory. Mayra Flores won in South Texas on a legal immigration platform. We can go on and on with various winning “issues.” But ultimately, in the next election some Democrat will demagogue one of those issues in a way that turns things back left. In short, while detailed issues are good, they just aren’t enough if we’re going to save America.

It’s time to – dare I say it? – turn back the clock to the founding. This time I’m not looking at the words of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. I’m looking at the words of the colonists who were simply trying to live. The Pilgrims came to New England looking for a place where they would be free to practice their brand of Puritanism. Notice that one word: “free.” They wanted freedom. Of course, people in other states wanted some other brand of freedom. William Penn created a Quaker state in Pennsylvania. When Roger Williams disagreed with the Massachusetts Puritans, he founded Rhode Island.

But even though each colony had a brand of intolerance, they all tolerated their neighbors, and joined together to throw off the oppressive government of England. In 1775 Patrick Henry said it most succinctly with, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” And that is the essence of the American project. The Patriots were Englishmen who were willing to die for the right to be left alone. Republicans often miss this key anthem. It is the natural desire of all people to “breathe free,” as Lady Liberty says. Yet we remain stuck in the mire of the “issues,” seldom explaining how each “issue” is tied to our freedom.

A second universal we often overlook is opportunity. During the Irish famine of the 1840s, potato blight drove about a million people to emigrate to the US. Signs saying “No Irish need apply” didn’t stop them. America was the land of opportunity. Soon after that Horace Greeley famously advised men to “Go West!” where new land and opportunity awaited. Oklahoma’s land rush was a search for opportunity, and led to Oklahomans becoming “Sooners,” since the one who got to the choice land “sooner” than anyone else won the homestead.

Opportunity has not disappeared, even though many try hard to hide it. Elon Musk saw it, leveraged it, and became the richest man in the world. A host of Silicon Valley millionaires follow the same basic path. The high school kid who doesn’t look for his or her own corner of success is the exception, even when school boards try to tell them there’s only one way, and that’s through mortgaging yourself to your “betters” by going to college while speaking preferred pronouns.

I could rant on, but we have to see the forest, not the trees. Every good issue falls into one or both of these founding principles. Freedom and opportunity are what drove our history and will drive our posterity, if we fight for them. Many wish to demand that we act in approved ways, speak only approved words, and listen to only approved opinions. But America isn’t hearing about freedom and opportunity from most Republicans.

Let’s consider a couple of “issues.” COVID, the big ugly bugaboo, was never about public health. The people who pushed masks, lockdowns, and vaccines knew that they would not work. The real objective was to use fear to control behavior and centralize power. The Left either doesn’t care about Americans or actually hates Americans. What we think is unimportant to them. Their religion is big government and control of the people. So when we talk about the lies the Left has told, we need to point out that freedom works every time it’s tried. Florida under Ron DeSantis stayed open and largely free, and its people stayed healthy. New York was lockdown central and its elderly died when Governor Cuomo forced sick people into nursing homes with those who weren’t sick. Liberty has to be the issue! 

Green energy is about suppressing both liberty and opportunity. California is mandating electric cars, but prevents you from charging them. Farmers complain about drought, but the state dumps water into San Francisco bay rather than letting farmers use it. The state hasn’t added a significant public water conservation facility in 50 years. And now there’s a push to ban synthetic fertilizer due to some perceived “greenhouse gas” risk. That’s the exact policy that caused the implosion of Sri Lanka and massive protests by farmers in the Netherlands.

Every policy presented by the Left is about increasing the size of government and its control over your life. The Left believes that you are worthless insects whose very existence must be endured in the short run while they create their own perfection. That means that every Leftist policy is actually about eliminating your freedom and opportunity. They hate the American Dream.

That American Dream is the idea that every American is free to bust his butt to make a better life, and not have it stolen by the government. Leftists want to impose their nightmare, which is the idea that the government should steal what you busted your butt to create and give it to someone who won’t bother to get off his butt.

Ask any mother. She wants freedom and opportunity for her kids. She knows that that requires safe streets, good schools, and jobs. When she learns that Democrats hate all those things, she’ll be a firm vote for liberty and opportunity. If Dad knows what’s good for him, he will, too.

“Issues” are pale pastels. We need to paint in bold colors.

Ted Noel MD is a retired Anesthesiologist/Intensivist who podcasts and posts on social media as DoctorTed and @vidzette. His DoctorTed podcasts are available on many podcast channels.

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