The following is a guest post that originally appeared on the Facebook page of its author, Georgia Young Republicans Chairman Robert Lee, and is reposted here with his permission:
Just some thoughts from someone in the Oregon Trail generation (part millennial, part GenX) about what my party, which I’ve always belonged to as long as I could vote (going on the better part of 17 years now – holy crap!), needs to really face up to if survival is even to be considered.
The diversification of our party and our country isn’t a problematic thing, at least not for those of us under the age of 40. I’ve spent the better part of our last year traveling the State, explaining to everyone that would listen the generational shift is reflective of a larger identify shift in Americans. We’re slowly getting away from looking at America’s ideals through the framework of the American community and more through the framework of the individual American. Doesn’t mean the ideals have changed – individual rights, the innate human dignity we all share – but it certainly does mean the way we internalize those ideals has changed. It’s a subtle change that that will have extremely profound consequences for the way the world works.
This election season has been hard on us for a variety of reasons. Walls are anathema to a wide open world in which we see six billion individual people we haven’t met yet. Talking about American being great again completely ignores everything that makes it great now, and not only for us but for the world at large. Every day, hope and optimism abound inside of us, which is why we pour our hearts and souls into the endeavors that matter to us.
Young conservatives are the eternal optimist and the key to America’s future because of it. We are the ones that will take that founding principles our country was built on and modernize their application for a better world – so long as we’re not constrained by the rules of a bygone era that don’t inherently mean much to us.
To this I’ll say, if the argument is that “You vote Republican because we are always better than Democrats…”, you face a losing proposition with younger conservatives. You just do – that speaks to the framework we were never raised in and, quite honestly, don’t want to go back to.
To my fellow younger conservatives, we need need to exhibit more patience than we have. There’s guidance to be had by folks that are experienced in a world we no longer live in, if nothing else to help us better identify potential pitfalls ahead that we might be too inexperienced to quickly notice.
If you’re simply telling folks to do something out of duty, you’re already losing the argument. If your reason for not learning is impatience, well then you’re going to lose the argument. Our party is in shambles, and has been for the last decade.
It’s time we individually start criticizing ourselves as contributors to the GOP’s demise before we start blaming others, or the system itself, for creating this mess.