MY View – GOP: Neither obstructionists nor loyal opposition, Dissent still patriotic under Obama

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     Well, I woke up on Sunday and read a letter to the editor in the Standard-Times, our SouthCoast daily newspaper, that well ticked me off even more than most.  There was one particular line, the closing remark, that just sort of rubbed me the wrong way.  Therefore, while getting ready for work that morning – yes, working on Sunday is a peril of retail – and indeed even before downing my morning cup of coffee, I typed out the rough draft of what became this lengthy opinion piece in today’s edition of the same paper.

    In print the title is “Dissent still patriotic under Obama” while the online edition titled it “GOP: Neither obstructionists nor loyal opposition.”  Either way, I was surprised that I only submitted it around 7:15 am yesterday morning and it made print in today’s paper.

    You may agree, you may disagree, but here’s my 2 cents.…    

YOUR VIEW: GOP: Neither obstructionists nor loyal opposition


Brock N. Cordeiro lives in Dartmouth.

February 18, 2009 6:00 AM

A recent letter to the editor stated, “It’s time for the right to be the patriots that they claim to be and just be quiet and join in the cause to help fix our nation. We need unity, not division, right now” (“Conservatives vs. Obama,” Feb. 15). Unity is a wonderful goal, but it is simply unattainable this side of eternity. If there are any doubts then, I suggest a careful rereading of Federalist essay No. 10 by James Madison concerning faction. In 1787, the future president wrote, “Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.”

Furthermore, how many times have I heard from my liberal Democrat brethren that “dissent is patriotic.” As a substitute teacher, I frequently have seen buttons and bumper stickers decorating classrooms with this very slogan. However, that was during the Bush administration. Did Jan. 20 suddenly require that conservatives be muzzled? Are we now prohibited from patriotic dissent when it was previously encouraged by our friends as an expression of the First Amendment?

We are indeed unified with Democrats, and unenrolled independent voters, in the great cause of helping to fix our nation, but we will not do so out of either blind or naive submission. Rather, we conservative Republicans engage in a healthy dialectic debate and dialogue with President Barack Obama and the liberal Democrat-dominated Congress. Muzzled? No! Much like Massachusetts abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, we shall adhere to the truth and we “shall be heard!”

President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton (former first lady and former United States senator), stated on April 28, 2003, “I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We need to stand up and say we’re Americans, and we have the right to debate and disagree with any administration.”

I am proud that a virtually unanimous (what was that about unity?) Republican Party stood up athwart history and screamed, “Stop!” in reaction to the bloated, pork-laden federal stimulus package. Even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office stated that the status quo would be a better economic solution than the over $1 trillion – including interest – Democratic stimulus plan.

Be careful what you wish for, as now you have it, and the current course of treatment may be as painful and perhaps even as deadly as the disease it was intended to cure. I prefer to be an optimist, yet stagflation may very well be on the doorstep, the national debt is soaring, and our posterity will be left with a bill that they simply cannot afford to pay! The Republican Party demands fiscal responsibility and economic sanity in pursuit of personal and national prosperity!

Has the Grand Old Party been guilty of overspending in the recent past? Yes. Too many Republicans embraced free spending. We went native. We were wrong! Recently we have rediscovered the proper path of limited government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Although the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln has just passed, we as conservative Republicans are not looking back toward the glory days. While deeply cherished, gone are Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and the Republican Revolution of 1994. In the past is the administration of George W. Bush. While we build upon the foundation of history, we are not looking towards the past. We are not simply here to play the role of either the obstructionists or the loyal opposition. Rather, the Republican Party is here to lead our fellow Americans to a new era of peace and prosperity. The GOP fights once again to ensure that America remains that shining city upon a hill (sorry, but that doesn’t refer to either Beacon or Capitol)!

I suggest that we all remember the sage words from political philosopher Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” The conservative movement and Republican Party are full of good men and women who refuse to sit quietly and do nothing. We embrace the challenge and promise of the future!…

About Brock N. Cordeiro