The Ripon Forum

Volume 46, No. 4

Fall 2012 Issue

In this Edition

By on August 12, 2014 with 0 Comments

One of the challenges of publishing a quarterly journal is that you want to stay relevant to the issues of the moment without chasing the headlines of the day. This latest edition of THE RIPON FORUM is no different. 

The focus of this edition is the November general election and the challenges facing America – and the Republican Party — in the coming year. Just before we were scheduled to publish, 27 individuals were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Among the dead were 20 children. 

On a Friday afternoon when people would otherwise be looking forward to a weekend of holiday shopping, or taking their kids to see Santa, or perhaps waiting for a college-age son or daughter to return home for winter break, the nation was paralyzed by a tragedy that brought the President of the United States – along with just about every other parent in America — to tears. 

Nowhere in the pages of the latest FORUM is there any mention of this tragedy. And nowhere in the essays and interviews included is there any mention of gun control, mental illness, or any of the other issues that will most certainly be explored and discussed in the wake of this event. Still, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this edition that can be applied moving forward. The lesson relates to the message of the election itself. 

As Jon Huntsman explains in our interview with him, Republicans were defeated on November 6th because they failed to present “an alternative vision” to the status quo when it came to “opportunity and growth.” Put another way, the GOP lost the election because the solutions the party offered were perceived as not being relevant to people’s lives. In the coming months, the party will likely be called upon to present another kind of alternative vision – one related to preventing another senseless slaughter from happening in our schools. 

The Republican Party has a long history of unflinching support for the Second Amendment. But if you are one of those parents whose child was shot dead in their classroom 12 days before Christmas, or if you are one of those parents who were moved to tears upon hearing the news, then it is likely becoming more difficult to understand how the party’s rigid interpretation of 27 words written 237 years ago is relevant to the world we live in today. 

The message of the 2012 election is clear – rigidity equals irrelevance in American politics. It is true on issues such as immigration reform and same sex marriage. And it is why in the coming debate over gun control, Republicans will have yet more soul searching to do.

Lou Zickar
The Ripon Forum

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