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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsElephant in the Room

GOP’s time to lead

The Republican Party is in an interesting position. The party retained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. And for the first time in eight years, there will also be a Republican in the White House, or at least a candidate who ran on the Republican ticket. It is time now for the Republicans to lead.

This campaign has shown that many people believe the American dream is a myth. The Republican Party must recognize there are broken rungs on the economic ladder and barriers preventing people from simply lifting themselves up by their bootstraps. Political leaders must address the concerns of the American people, whether those Americans are wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts or “Make America Great Again” hats. Policies should be focused on unleashing the potential of the American people and helping them achieve their dreams.

Our nation must continue to be a beacon of freedom and hope for our citizens and those wishing to immigrate here. In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush spoke of immigrants with a sense of compassion and understanding that would seem out of place in today’s party. Anti-immigrant sentiment must be replaced by a desire to help immigrants adapt and contribute to our economy. Republicans should reach across the aisle to create comprehensive immigration reform. And when it comes to foreign policy, we must remain skeptical of foreign entanglements. When we do engage, we should do so with a clear mission.

Here at home, we need an economy that fosters competition and innovation. When the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans is unlocked, we all benefit. And in the process of growing our economy, we must also conserve our environment. We have a duty to protect this beautiful land.

On a multitude of issues, the Republican Party must remind the nation of why federalism matters. We are a nation of state and local governments, not just one central government. When it comes to the issue of education, for example, the Republican Party must champion control at the state and local levels.

The Republican Party must also acknowledge that the myriad social “wars” the government has launched over the years have ultimately failed. The war on poverty, the war on drugs and the war on crime have expanded the size of government while doing nothing to solve actual problems. Let’s end these wars and focus on bottom-up solutions. Let’s give all Americans hope for a better life.

Kyle Stewart can be reached at kstewart1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @KyleStew107