Why Ray is a Republican
When I was a child, my entire Irish-American family was Democrat. It was unconscionable to even consider anything else. After all, I was born and raised in working class Boston, Mass.
I became a Republican in adulthood and found that it actually can make a difference. Being active rather than passive, I learned, works much better.
After my dad was killed in WW II, my mom took some of the insurance benefit and bought a house in the first town south of Boston, moving us all from the rough city to a small, sedate town reported to once claim never to “allow” Catholics and Jews to live within its borders.
We weren’t the first to break the supposed barrier, but in a school yard I can recall still hearing a neighbor child showing “The Great American Destroyer” as President Roosevelt’s image on a dime. Our Democratic family ideals certainly were not popular.
But I never thought too much about politics, nor do I think my mom and her peers did. There were more important things to do like working hard (I was 10 when I first went to work delivering newspapers), walking to school a mile away and being a kid.
Later, after working to pay my way to the Boston Jesuit High School, graduating, thence to college (the first in my family) and grad school, I happened on a college event where former President Truman was addressing the students.
Then, by the way, my school costs were partly met by the GI Bill (I never thought of it as an entitlement).
The main thing I learned from Truman’s talk, and that’s what it seemed like – not a speech, was that we all vote, either in the ballot box, or by not being there.
He further advised us that, if we were either thrilled by or dissatisfied with a political party, the only way we could hope to make it better was not just by voting, but by working on the inside to help affect positive change. “Doesn’t matter which party,” he said. “Don’t opt out by claiming to be independent, that’s an excuse for the lazy.”
My family history and the fact that I was about to embark on my productive life, helped me make my decision. I decided the Republican Party met more of my ideals about governing than any other and I knew that President Roosevelt had been a great leader, as were Truman and certainly, Eisenhower.
Cut forward a few years, still a grad student, but married with a few children and living in a small town further south of Boston. I joined the local JayCees and learned our Colonial-based populist Town Government needed improvement to meet the needs of a growing community.
We actually did a town survey and found out what the people wanted; it wasn’t what they had!
Working for new, young Republican office candidates to replace “old school” Republican candidates became our mission.
Our little, organized group of 35 young JayCees helped replace the majority of the “Selectmen” (like Supervisors in PA) in one election with young candidates from our membership. We brought about major, modern changes in a Town of about 14,000 by actively campaigning, button-holing super voters and talking to everyone who would listen!
I really learned President Truman’s lesson in more ways than one. All the JayCees did and both we and the town were better for it.
Since then, whenever I have been able to make time, I have been active in a civic activity or political organization and/or professional society, working to help make a difference, but nothing quite as dramatic as that achieved at that time, when my children were young.
The challenges I see presently in Northampton are eerily familiar to my previous experience, except the majority of our Board of Supervisors are not Republicans. I am not sure what they are, but they label themselves as “Democrats”.
They certainly do not remind me of President Truman!
The Republican Party has been my party of choice since I first voted because they still espouse core beliefs closest to my own. Republicans are by no means perfect, but like Lexus claims the “passionate pursuit for perfection” as a working philosophy; I think we need to do the same.
You go not hear much of that kind of talk in politics, but I believe most Republicans fundamentally think that way. Leave negativity, decisiveness and put-downs to the other side; they reveal their basic character when they do!
We need to not only be civil and fair, and most of all, rational!
In my view, Republicans need to come together a lot better, like my JayCee group did, with a common agenda to defeat the opposition. Now is not too soon!
So, what are those core Republican beliefs that I like?
Here’s a few:
- Work is a noble activity, resulting in multiple rewards;
- We are entitled to keep most, if not all, of the rewards from our work;
- Citizenship has responsibilities as well as benefits;
- Individuals are responsible for themselves and their own pursuits of happiness and perfection;
- Government is a result of the majority’s consent;
- Justice is tempered with compassion and equity; and,
- Citizens are free to do as they wish as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others or those rights that the majority authorizes government to exercise.
I know there are other valued beliefs that others hold . Perhaps a few can share their favorites. I’d certainly like to hear what the rest of our members believe.
Thank you for reading.
G Raymond (Ray) Peacock
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