Op-ed: Here's what being Republican means

'There's room for everyone in our tent'
Op-ed: Here's what being Republican means
Posted at 10:00 AM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 10:00:39-05

Josh Burton is chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Young Republicans.

I am 27 years old, a black man, one of five children, a son of two pastors and a Republican. During the 2016 election I was called by Democrats a “coon,” “Uncle Tom,” and told that “my black card” had been revoked. Are they the standard bearers for their party? I do not believe so. The same goes for Republicans. It’s about the individual.

What bothers me the most is there are those who have continued to paint Republicans as hateful, bigots, racists, misogynists and whatever other word they can use to detract from having an actual political dialogue. Lumping people into one pile is a tired and lazy argument. We deserve better.

Josh Burton

I have quite a different perspective from many of my friends and family members who consider themselves Democrats. I was taught by my high school teacher that I represent a “cross-cutting cleavage.” Meaning only 1 in 10 blacks vote Republican. I was also taught what being Republican is through my time working in politics.

In Robert Rack's op-ed, “A letter to my Republican friends,” he says our party has turned mean and selfish. Mr. Rack is dead wrong. It is the individual who is hateful and mean, not a monolithic group. Just like those same people who called me “coon.” Are all Democrats, by your standards, mean?

Here’s what we believe:

Being Republican is more than the standard mantra of “lower taxes and less government.” Being Republican is an approach to how we govern our fantastic country. It is an appreciation of hard work and respecting the rule of law.

We believe in the Constitution as a guide to governing. Being Republican is recognizing that our rights come from our creator and not man. Being Republican is about respecting life.

But above all else, being a Republican means that there are many other Republicans like me, and even more Republicans who are very different than me. They look different from me, they speak differently, and a great many of them hold different views than I do, religiously, spiritually or otherwise.

As Republicans, we do not apologize for success and we work to provide opportunity for our brothers and sisters in need. Not equal outcomes.

Our party believes in the basic tenets of lifting people up and not disparaging those who are in the most need. We do not look toward government for that response. Being Republican focuses on the individual to provide to the least of these and create economic prosperity. To grant the accessibility for all Americans to live free without the intrusion of its government.

We look to enable individuals to build a better future for their families and provide hope for their communities. We believe in a future America that’s a better America, and we don’t have to go back to the 1950’s to do it.

Our party is a big tent. There are blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, Muslims and many more who believe in our party. We will not all agree 100 percent with each other and that is OK.

But what is amazing is we welcome anyone in our party, because it’s not just about the party, it is about our country. Our party is more than just one person. It is bigger than me. It is greater than President Trump.

We know that change happens when we debate policy constructively and not the merits of who is more conservative, racist or bigoted. It’s then we can continue to perfect our union and appeal to the better angels of our nature and say no to those who hijack our party to drive a wedge between people, Republican or Democrat. There is room for everyone in our tent.

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