By Lina Bryce
During Donald Trump’s address given at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, he said four words that either gives you hope or strikes fear into your heart. He said, “I am your voice.”
What was lacking in his message was the call for freedom — a message quelled by members of the party who see no hope. So much so, that they quickly sacrificed their principles for a false sense of security that comes with building a wall.
Alas, faith may be restored for those who are still waiting to raise their glass to freedom. The Republican party isn’t quite ‘dead’, necessarily. At least, not in the way you might think. There is a great unifier and it’s what has always brought people together. It’s just not going to be the plutocrat with a strong taste for a big police state who will do it.
It’s freedom. And beneath the authoritarian specter that was the RNC, there was a glimmer of hope for those of us who cherish freedom. It was seen for a moment when Trump reached out the LGBTQ community.
Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBT community. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. To protect us from terrorism, we need to focus on three things.
It might have been the first time that any Republican presidential nominee verbalized a position advocating for the LGBT community. This is a step in the right direction and softens the orange-tinted, tough veneer that is presumed to be Trump’s character.
That glimmer shone again when Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and tech billionaire, addressed the convention. Thiel was the first openly gay Republican convention speaker in the party’s history. Although Thiel may represent the gay community, he also represents a significant amount of people in the party who, like him, disagree with the much of the party’s social platforms.
This has been a year of firsts with regard to the Republican Primary election season, but it also signifies a pivotal moment in the party. While many are asking themselves, should I stay or should I go? Others may just stick around to see if this positive shift will ultimately lead to the political party’s transformation – a party that is more inclusive of minorities by heralding a more principled, civil liberty-centered platform.
“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union,” Thiel said. “And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?,” he concluded.
Can you hear the voices of freedom now?
It’s freedom. Economic freedom, to be specific.
Peter Thiel’s approach will more likely help to reign in a younger, more socially progressive demographic. A demographic that is, like Bernie Sanders’ supporters, fed up with the current system, only more fiscally conservative.
“I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform, but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline,” Thiel said.
The fake culture wars Thiel refers to is riddled with venomous, outspoken individuals on social media, bringing out unsavory characters who highlight some of the worst of Trump’s supporters. The ‘PC Police’ have given rise to a rowdy bunch of anti-establishment folks with a low tolerance for main stream media spin. Yet, in spite of this, there is some good that has come of it. It has resulted in a calling of arms to restore our First Amendment right.
Perhaps the years of divisive, social-leaning platforms that often cost general elections are a thing of the past and people will begin to understand what the actual role of the federal government is, while respecting the powers of individual states. This may be accomplished as long as Thiel and others like him continue to push the boundaries of the status quo and stand up for individual liberty. If this gains momentum, not only will it do more to unite the party under the Republican banner, it will breathe new life into a crippled, dying, good ol’ boys club.