The decision by the Republican National Convention not to seat the Ron Paul delegates from Maine hit home for me.

They were betrayed, like many other people who have placed their faith in the Republican Party of the past two or three decades.

My father, a former Republican, agrees with me. I imagine my grandfather, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who served as a judge, also would agree, but he is not around to ask.

Many people who consider themselves Republicans do so based on a rather simple belief system, one with which I actually would like to agree. They believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will succeed and become part of the middle class. That used to be true for the most part, but it isn’t anymore.

Even at their own convention, when the results of Maine’s vote couldn’t change the outcome, they marginalized their own activists.

Playing by the rules doesn’t matter to them anymore; to win at their game now, you need to cheat.

Democracy no longer is the name of the game, but plutocracy. Whoever has the money makes the rules.

These modern-day Republicans play this game at their own peril.

Given enough time, the average voter catches on; and I have learned, from my time knocking on doors, that people are beginning to figure out just what’s going on. And that includes Republicans; they aren’t blind.

Mitt Romney and his ilk push tax policies that benefit the richest Americans and raise everyone else’s bills. They do so under the guise of “rugged individualism,” the belief that we don’t need anyone, we can just do it all ourselves.

Romney’s father, George, once referred to rugged individualism as “nothing but a political banner to cover up greed.” And he was right.

George Romney understood something the Republican Party has since forgotten: the value of the social contract and of our communities. He understood how his employees made him wealthy, and so he took enough for himself and gave the rest to them.

George Romney knew we needed to be in the game together, not all playing for ourselves.

It’s no wonder that we debate about whether low-income women deserve welfare checks or whether teachers make too much money.

Power brokers at the top, people of all political persuasions who have lots of money, have decided the best way to keep most of their money is to keep the rest of us divided.

They force us to fight among ourselves for an ever-shrinking piece of the pie.

So they pit non-union workers against those in unions, public-sector workers against private-sector, those who favor marriage equality against those who do not.

They pump billions of dollars into political advertising designed to make us react against the people we see as our opponents and do everything we can to beat them.

And then these power brokers extend tax cuts for the wealthy for another decade and snicker at the rest of us as we fight one another to survive.

I have more in common with most Republicans than I do with plutocrats. Admittedly, we disagree more than we agree, but we all want enough money to provide for our families and to live with dignity.

To Republicans, Democrats and independents alike I say let’s pull back the curtain and see who’s there.

I think it’s high time that we “common folk” — the disaffected middle class — shake the halls of power and place them back into our hands, not the hands of wealthy interests who have only their own interests at heart.

A quote from a great president, Progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt: “Of all forms of tyranny, the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of plutocracy.”

I would argue this country does need a change, but it isn’t based on red states or blue states. It’s a battle to determine whether the middle class will continue to endure the tyranny of the wealthy.

Colleen Lachowicz, of Waterville, is the Democratic candidate for Senate District 25 (Albion, Benton, Clinton, Detroit, Pittsfield, Waterville and Winslow). Her opponent is incumbent Sen. Thomas Martin, of Benton.

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