What has happened to the Republican Party?

Photo: Laharl / Wikimedia Commons The Little White Schoolhouse of Ripon, Wis., the claimed birthplace of the U.S. Republican Party (the site of one of the first meetings of the general “anti-Nebraska” movement of 1854 to use the name “Republican”). Some who were once proud to be called Republicans now feel the party has taken a wrong turn.

Photo: Laharl / Wikimedia Commons
The Little White Schoolhouse of Ripon, Wis., the claimed birthplace of the U.S. Republican Party (the site of one of the first meetings of the general “anti-Nebraska” movement of 1854 to use the name “Republican”). Some who were once proud to be called Republicans now feel the party has taken a wrong turn.

David Moe
Sun City, Calif.

What has happened to the Republican Party? In the 1950s, Dwight D. Eisenhower was our Republican President; I served in the Navy during that time, and I was proud to be a Republican. Of course, the party had oddballs at the time. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was on a “witch hunt” looking for communists, but he was then considered an embarrassment to the party. He even thought that General George Marshall, who originated the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II, was a communist.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was active in the Republican Party and even ran for public office, but the Moral Majority, headed by Jerry Falwell, had taken over the party. They were concerned about only five issues and they were “my way or the highway” people when compromise was a dirty word. They drove out the liberals and moderates who were in the party at the time and were the forerunners of what is now called the Tea Party. Now it seems these “my way or the highway” people have taken over the Republican Party, and the moderates have little or no control.

The oddballs who were an embarrassment to the party in the 1950s now have control of the party and assert that all Muslims are terrorists and should be on our “watch list.” That makes as much sense as saying that all Germans were Fascists in the early 1940s. How crazy is that?

Hopefully, the Republican Party of the future will allow the liberals and moderates back into the party and have some common sense once again. Maybe that is too much to ask, but it would help to sustain the party over a long period of time. If the party continues on its present course, it will become a third party or no party at all. The Moral Majority was neither moral nor the majority. It was simply a movement by a group of fundamentalist preachers to make everything “right,” according to their definition.

David Moe was born in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1964 and received his M.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1975. He spent four years in the Navy and 32 years in the insurance business. He is married to his wife, Thordis, and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. They now live in Sun City, California.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 26, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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