A Message to Loyal Republicans: Loyalty Should be a Two-way Street

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    (So true! – promoted by lowkell)

    I know that many people in Virginia’s 6th District, where I am running for Congress as a Democrat, consistently vote Republican. It’s a matter of party loyalty. I myself regard loyalty as a great virtue. I am loyal to my friends, and I am faithful to my wife, and I still root for the teams from where I lived as a boy.

    But loyalty, to be appropriate, has to be a two-way relationship. Most of us recognize that there is something wrong when loyalty on one side is repaid by betrayal on the other. I’ve known people who for years felt wronged when the Dodgers left their fiercely loyal fans in Brooklyn a half century ago. Likewise, many were outraged when the Oakland Raiders abandoned their faithful following to move to Los Angeles in search of bigger bucks. The same can be said of the way the Baltimore Colts deserted their devoted fans and moved to Indianapolis.

    The fans were loyal, but the owners of the teams seemed to feel they owed them nothing in return.

    We’ve seen the same one-sided loyalty when auto-makers encouraged us to “Buy American” out of our national loyalty while they outsourced American jobs.

    When loyalty is mutual, it is part of the fabric that binds us together. When loyalty is one-sided, it becomes exploitation.

    That’s how things have degenerated in the relationship between the Republican Party and the decent, loyal, average Americans who have been supporting them.

    How loyal can that party be that makes the President’s failure its top priority at a time when the people are suffering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and when the President’s failure necessarily means increasing and prolonging that suffering?

    How loyal can that party be to average Americans when it insists that the budget deficit be closed only by cutting programs that help the people, and refuses to ask the wealthiest to sacrifice even a penny? And this despite the fact that taxes on the wealthiest have sunk to the lowest they’ve been in 60 years!

    And how loyal can that party be to the people they claim to serve when their members in the House of Representatives vote to destroy Medicare as we know it, shifting the costs of health care for America’s senior citizens more and more onto the elderly themselves? And this in order to fund yet another tax cut for the richest individuals and the most powerful corporations!

    This list of betrayals could be extended.

    And in each of these cases, Bob Goodlatte has gone along with these betrayals of average Americans to serve Big Money.

    Again and again, Congressman Goodlatte has voted to shift wealth toward the richest Americans, even though all the economic gains of the past decade have gone to the top, while average American famiies have been losing ground.

    He has served the interests of the rich and powerful even at a time when average American families are enduring hardship and when their prospects for providing a good future for their children have grown dimmer.

    In view of this cruel betrayal, the average Americans who have supported the Republican Party should not feel bound by any sense of party loyalty. Indeed, their obligation to their children, as well as their affection for our country, requires them to withdraw that support and send the Republican Party a message: “Clean up your act and serve the people who sent you to Washington. Or suffer the consequences of the righteous anger of the American people!”  

    (Please forward this message to all you know for whom it could be appropriate, and to those who may know others for whom it would be appropriate.)

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    Andy Schmookler is running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, challenging the incumbent Congressman, Bob Goodlatte.  An award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, Andy moved with his family to Shenandoah County in 1992.  He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  

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