On September 11, 2011, I attended a Call to Prayer on the stairs of our state capitol. At the event, people of many different religious backgrounds and ethnicities joined together, prayed, and remembered the tragic loss suffered by our nation ten years before. The moment served as a powerful reminder that we, as Americans, share a single destiny.
The United States of America showed incredible resilience in the months after 9/11. In New York, Washington and across the country, countless people, many of whom had never met each other, came together to grieve, heal and rebuild. Skin color and socioeconomic status were immaterial in the aftermath of that tragedy. All that mattered was the need of our neighbors. The ability to come together in a time of crisis demonstrated our nation’s character.
The unity we felt in the wake of 9/11 is worth remembering as we transition into a new primary season. Our party’s first principles “limited government, fiscal discipline, and respect for all life” are timeless. They are cherished by many different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds and, as a result, illustrate the immutable bond between the members of our community. The goal of our party should be to create a safe place for all who share those principles. The electoral change we seek next November can only be obtained by expanding our tent, not excluding potential members.
In light of that fact, it is incumbent that we resist campaign rhetoric that alienates our neighbors and divides our house. Gone are the days when we can afford to energize one contingent of our party at the expense of the party’s future. Talking points that marginalize and demonize are not only unproductive; they are un-Republican. If we are truly committed to prevailing at the ballot box and reversing the disastrous economic policies of liberal Democrats, then we must work together.
If our party maintains an inclusive message based on its first principles, November of 2012 will deliver the genuine, meaningful change that we seek in Washington. Further still, if we are able to promote unity instead of division, we will have done more than construct an electoral majority. We will have affirmed, through our deeds, Abraham Lincoln’s famous characterization of this nation as the last best hope of Earth.