TAKE BACK THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

It’s time for the grownups among us to quit indulging the tantrums of the political 2-year-olds hollering “No!” unless they get their way.

One way to accomplish this would be for Democrats, Independents, Greens, Libertarians and moderates of all kinds to join the Republican Party. Take it back from the fanatics who denounce those even slightly left of center as extremists, Marxists or terrorists.

Today’s Tea Party followers are political Puritans – strident, inflexible, judgmental, convinced of their moral superiority and suspicious of anyone who doesn’t see everything as either-or, black or white and right or wrong.

Like children and fundamentalists of all kinds, they’re full of irrational fears, seeing monsters where none exist and unable to see any merit in opposing views.

Good parents don’t attempt to reason with, placate or compromise with toddlers throwing tantrums, for the very good reason that toddlers don’t have the mental capacity or life experience to be reached in those ways. As we’ve seen, giving in to them worsens the misbehavior.

Elections often are swung by a handful of votes. This is why the Tea Party has succeeded in gaining influence despite its small size. It is well organized and very active in getting out votes.

Politicians pay inordinate attention to such groups, knowing that they can provide a winning margin in a close race.

So it really shouldn’t be that hard to swing the pendulum back towards middle ground.

Switch your party registration to Republican. Then find a moderate Republican office holder near you, identify yourself as a Republican voter and tell him or her you support them. Even better, do a little volunteer work on their campaign. In primary elections, vote for anyone who isn’t a hard-right extremist.

None of this will prevent you from voting for the candidates of your choice in general elections, whatever their party might be.

If we don’t help the Republican Party strengthen its moderates, we’ll all be dragged down by kicking, screaming naysayers.

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