Here’s a problem I see with the entire GOP field of candidates, with not a single exception:
All of them talk about “taking our country back” and making the country a better place to live for Americans in general. Some, like Huckabee and Santorum, talk specifically about helping workers, which is good, cause we’ve ignored them for far too long and ceded that vote to the Democrats.
But there’s another group of voters who we’re completely ignoring and have always ignored: the people who are dependent on the gov’t through no fault of their own and who will be dependent on gov’t benefits long term or for most of their lives.
Are we just gonna ignore these people or pretend they don’t exist? Yes, gov’t dependence is a big problem now, bigger than it’s ever been before in our country, and there’s a culture of dependence that’s been created due to the breakdown of the family and the enormous growth of the federal gov’t. But at the same time, we have to look at the other side of the issue. There will always be a certain percentage of the population who rely on the gov’t for their survival either due to poverty, disability, or both.
These people usually are alone or have very small social networks, otherwise they wouldn’t need to rely solely on the gov’t for help.
There are more disabled and sick people in this country than ever before, and nobody’s talking about that. These people aren’t able to work or go to school.
We need to reach out to these people and reassure them that when we talk about cutting gov’t programs and getting people off of them, we’re only talking about the people who are able to work and don’t have some kind of disability.
If we don’t talk to these voters, we cede them to the Democrats, which we’ve been doing for a long time now. We make it easy for the Dems, cause all they have to do is promise these people that they’ll continue to get their gov’t benefits, or get even more benefits in the future. Why wouldn’t they vote for the Dems, when it’s in their economic and psychological interest to do so?
As a movement, the conservative movement and the GOP specifically has to be more inclusive, not just in its policies, but in its rhetoric. We have to reach out to minorities and to the people who don’t typically vote for us like union workers, gov’t employees, and the disabled and poor. We have to meet them where they’re at. After all, our nominee, if elected president, will be their president as much as our president.
Instead of just focusing on the people who are currently depending on the gov’t who don’t need to be, we should simultaneously focus on the people who really do need the gov’t to survive. We should be asking the question: Why is it that more people than ever legitimately need the gov’t than ever before? Right now we’re not asking that question. The only question we keep asking is: how many of the people on gov’t benefits truly need them, and how can we get those people who don’t off of them as fast as possible?
I would suggest that we need to ask both questions. The answer to the first question is just as important as the answer to the second question imo and it’s a twofold answer: First, more people are sick and disabled because of our modern lifestyle that involves social isolation, increased stress and horrible diets. That’s just a reality we can’t ignore. So because of that there are more people who are truly disabled and sick than ever before in America, and they aren’t able to work or be productive members of society.
Secondly, the breakdown of the family, especially within the black community, has created so many single parent households, so without a father and extended family to help raise kids, these moms really do need the gov’t to make ends meet. That’s also something that needs to change, but until it does, we can’t ignore the reality of the situation, which is that many of these single moms don’t know where to turn for help except the gov’t. Plus, our gov’t has given them the incentive to stay dependent on the gov’t, so they have no reason to get off of the benefits and go back to work even when they’re able to.
The GOP needs to have a message for these people. First, we should tell the disabled and sick people that their lives aren’t hopeless and that we won’t leave them behind. We don’t need to get rid of all gov’t programs, instead, we can improve the ones that are truly necessary. For the disabled and sick, we can improve the healthcare system in this country and make it affordable for them with free market solutions like HSAs so that they can actually be healed of their illness and no longer be sick or disabled. Then they wouldn’t need to be dependent on the gov’t anymore.
We need to acknowledge the fact that it’s actually ok to use gov’t programs to help people who’ve fallen through the cracks of society, not by throwing money at the problem or making the programs bigger, but by innovating, reforming them, and making them more efficient. That way we can simultaneously improve the lives of the people who really do need the gov’t to help them, who’ve been forgotten by society, and get the rest of the people who are getting gov’t benefits because they just don’t have good opportunities to work off of those benefits and back to work in good paying jobs.
Finally, we need to send more money back to the state and local gov’ts and allow them to improve the programs that help these people in their communities, since they know the needs of their citizens far better than the federal gov’t does. We also need to create more partnerships with local communities to get community leaders, non-profit orgs, and churches involved in helping the people on these programs. We need to rebuild the sense of community that we used to have in America that made our country great, where everyone knew each other in their neighborhood. Now, we all live in our own little bubbles and nobody knows anyone else around them. No wonder so many people are turning to the gov’t for help. When you feel completely alone and without anyone to turn to for help, you turn to the gov’t as a last resort, at least most people do.
Strong families means strong communities, and having strong communities will rebuild the social fabric that’s been broken and has created this web of dependency on gov’t in its place. [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] talks about a tax policy that encourages marriage and keeping families together, which is a start, but he doesn’t connect the dots the way I just described.
It’s time for the GOP to reach out to all voters and include everyone in our discussion of how to restore America to the greatness it once had. If at least some of the gop candidates follow the suggestions I’ve outlined, I believe we can win some of those voters who have never voted for the GOP in their life, but more importantly, we can improve their lives and give them true hope. After all, isn’t that what politics and gov’t should be all about? It’s time we have some candidates who act like they understand that principle, and then act on it.