I was a Republican for 39 years, but on Tuesday I took what could have been my last opportunity to conveniently un-register from the Republican Party on the same day I voted. It seemed appropriate, given the vehemence with which Charles Webster and other conservatives have hijacked the party and distanced themselves from rationality in pursuit of what have become characteristically un-American postures.

America was founded on a premise of participation through voting as a right. It is not just a privilege. There is no threshold beyond citizenship and residence.

But conservatives such as Webster have continually sought to apply tests to that participation — skin color, literacy, gender, property ownership and, until the 1960s, the payment of $3 by males.

Recently, Webster raised the specter of non-existent fraud to erect a barrier based on time and inconvenience. Then he and others had the temerity to call these barriers “tests of civic duty.”

By association with the Republican Party, conservatism has caused its devolution from what was once a forward-thinking organization into mean-spirited, elitist narrow-mindedness.

How else to explain its cynical view of minimal government, except as it invades others’ privacy? Or its hypocrisy and belligerence at the federal level? How else to explain its rationale for further enlarging the massive concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, while expecting the many who have little to continue supporting the economy?

Conservatives speak about job creation as emanating from the wealthy, but the conservative wealthy aren’t fools — they don’t create jobs unless there is someone who can buy their product. The wealthy know trickle-down economics is a fool’s errand, just as it was in the days of Reagan.

The list is endless.

 

Ernie Hilton, Starks


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