Violating the 11th Commandment, or Upholding Its Intent?

President Reagan giving Campaign speech in Austin, Texas, 1984.

As the lights begin to come up and expose the cockroach RINOs of the GOP who like carrying the name “Republican” but don’t like doing the work of one, there has been a lot of scurrying for cover from the aforementioned critters.

Once again, those who are committed to upholding the values, principles and platform of the Republican Party have been portrayed as the bad guys while being forced to endure the bleatings about how embracing liberal goals in a party founded on conservative ideas is just “a difference of opinion,” or a “different view” or “someone else’s definition” and similar blather.

But such subjective attempts to deflect culpability for advancing the enemy’s agenda just doesn’t cut the mustard when we examine the hard facts.  You can go to any one of about 314,000 places on the internet to find out what Republican values and principles are; we know what “Republican” is…and what it isn’t, don’t we?  We also know what being a Republican stands for here at home and across our great nation, don’t we?  It isn’t hard to figure out, and it isn’t a matter of great and varied legitimate opinion either.  Again, the evidence is right there in black and white for all to see.

It’s clear that promotion of big government isn’t a Republican value.

It’s clear that promotion of socialized health care isn’t a Republican value.

It’s clear that promoting lawlessness and hindering efforts to maintain law and order are not Republican values.

It’s clear that interfering with efforts to maintain our national sovereignty and control our borders aren’t Republican values.

It’s clear that ignoring our nation’s immigration laws isn’t a Republican value.

It’s clear that blaming America for defending herself is not a Republican value.

It’s clear that undermining military readiness and the strength of our armed forces are not Republican values.

It’s clear that undermining marriage and the family are not Republican values.

It’s clear that refusal to protect innocent human life is not a Republican value.

It’s clear that blocking efforts to ensure fiscal responsibility and personal accountability are not Republican values.

It’s clear that undermining property rights is not a Republican value.

It’s clear that pandering to environmental extremists with associated regulations, taxes and penalties is not a Republican value.

If someone is trying to sell you on the idea that any or all of these things are Republican values, the next thing you know, they’ll probably be trying to sell you some oceanfront property in Arizona (and they might just throw in the Golden Gate for free).

When the fallacies of such claims are exposed for what they are and the excuses start to run dry, it’s becoming more and more common to hear wandering Republicans and RINOs appeal to what is known as Ronald Reagan’s “Eleventh Commandment”:

Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican

As someone who grew up in a Democrat family and was converted to the Republican Party by Reagan, and as someone who considered themselves a Republican long before I could cast my first vote, I have tried to live by that commandment. In fact, I still do.  There are any number of criticisms I might make of many of my fellow Republicans, but most of these criticisms are relatively minor in nature and thus do not warrant ignoring the wisdom of Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

But there can and unfortunately has come a time when fellow Republicans support something so egregiously in violation of Republican principles that one has the responsibility to speak out against it.  And when such support for positions contrary to Republican values becomes commonplace and rampant, committed Republicans then definitely have a responsibility to speak out.

My friend Shad Olson of the Shad Olson Show apparently believes similarly, for he has written an article on his website which closely represents my own sentiments.  Here is an excerpt.

For the life of me, I cannot imagine Ronald Reagan standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a pro-gun control, pro-abortion, weak defense, America-Apologizing, big government liberal and withholding criticism or debate for the sake of a tiny ‘R’ on their left shoulder. There are plenty of modern ‘Republicans,’ matching that description discharging their daily duty in ways that would have made Tip O’Neill, or Uncle Teddy Kennedy, right proud. Some of them sit on furniture with known Socialists. Some invent fancy explanations for why state-run healthcare was a good idea for an individual state. Mitt and Newt, meet Tip and Ted. May your similarities define you.

He’s right. Some principles are too important to overlook their being stepped on. And repeat offenses–especially when arrogantly defended–demand exposure and address.  Make sure you read Shad’s entire article.

Some say the Republican Party is a “big tent” party, and to a great extent, I agree.  If you’re a person who’s still a little ideologically inconsistent but you agree with Republicans on most issues or one major issues, come on in!  Let’s work together were we agree.

But don’t take a liberal dump in the middle of my tent.  That’s highly inconsiderate to come into another person’s place and start criticizing their decor–or worse yet, start painting their walls or tearing down their drapes.  Such contempt will cool the hospitality real quick.  If you don’t like the curtains or the furnishings, then keep quiet about them…or if you can’t live with them, leave.  In fact, if you insist on spitting on the rug and criticizing the occupants taste, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to leave. A little respect and consideration (if not consistency) shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Why did Reagan issue the 11th Commandment in the first place?  It was to protect the integrity and public reputation of the Republican Party. If we appear to be a bunch of back-biting snipers who can’t get along, the public will lose confidence in the party’s ability to accomplish its agenda.

But if we sell out our principles and behave like a pale imitation of the party we oppose, have we not blown our reputation and public confidence even more? We most certainly have!  If you don’t like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi probably isn’t going to please you.  And you definitely won’t be happy if you buy a can of Mountain Dew and find Mr. Pibb inside.

No, sometimes we have to speak ill of fellow Republicans, especially when our fellow Republicans are betraying the values, principles and platform of our party.

Would you expect the police department to close ranks and protect a dirty cop…or would you expect other police officers to publicly point out that the dirty cop does not reflect their values or standards?

If a salesman at a store was passing off fake goods and cheap imitations as actual quality name brand items, would you expect his co-workers to not speak ill of him…or make it clear to the public that they do not approve of passing off one thing as if it were another?

When some within our party cast votes and pursue agendas that are contrary to the stated values of our party, we dilute the strength of our party in the public’s eyes, often leading people to think, “Oh, both parties are the same. They’re both worthless.”  This is doubly true when leaders within the party are the perpetrators; if you can’t trust a leader to be faithful to the core values of the organization they represent, who can you trust?

When we who genuinely believe in the values of our party fail to step up and criticize those who carry the name of our party for violating those values, we send the message to the public: “None of us care for the stated principles of our party. We’re just in it for the power; the heck with principle. Our word means nothing. What we tell you we stand for is worthless. Even if there are those of us who still believe in our party’s goals, we aren’t concerned enough to do anything about it.”

With a message like that, do you expect such a party to win many elections, once word gets around and people realize what you’re really about?  If so, you can keep on looking in the Arizona classifieds for some of that oceanfront property.

One Response to “Violating the 11th Commandment, or Upholding Its Intent?”

  1. Well said, spot on.