Securing A Future for American Conservatism Part 4: Moving forward, How Americans can Continue to Thrive
Republicans have prided themselves in being the party that viewed America as the “shining city upon a hill.” This pride was rightly deserved considering America’s unique and exceptional role in human history. That being said, the beauty of America is that we are a nation in constant refinement, looking to create a more perfect union. At some point, Republicans stopped caring about creating a more perfect union, content to look to yesterday for perfection, rather than boldly charting a course for our descendents. Any new party for conservatives must contribute to the market of ideas to create America’s future. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to contribute to America’s refinement, and their roots in conservative principles.
One of the great tasks that Conservatives are suited to tackle is a reinvestment in our social and religious institutions. Much has been written about the increasing atomization of our local communities, and the societal issues caused through this fraying of social fabric. As conservatives, we can champion a refocusing on our local issues and communities. Many Americans can find purpose and fulfillment through their churches, unions, political groups, and social groups. These can include groups as simple as groups of gaming enthusiasts or groups as large as activist movements, and can be religious or secular, so long as they positively contribute to an individual’s life. By encouraging the embracing of these institutions and their use to tackle local and state issues, we can champion greater accountability in government and help give all Americans greater stakes in everyday societal affairs. This will help encourage a sense of individual responsibility, an appreciation and interaction between generations of Americans, a stronger commitment to federalism in government, and a strengthening of bonds between fellow citizens.
Another reform conservatives should absolutely champion is voting reform. Legitimate government derives from the consent of the governed, and no government can be legitimate as long as fellow citizens are deprived of their most basic right of self-determination through the vote. While this push might mean immediate electoral struggles for conservatives, it is incumbent on conservatism to appeal to all voters, especially those participating in democratic processes for the first time. Some policies that could help include championing felons reclaiming their voting rights, helping citizens in our territories and DC gain greater representation either in congress or the electoral college, easing the voter registration process, and having the federal government take the initiative to distribute voter ID’s should voter ID laws be necessary. This work will be pivotal in the creation of a more perfect union in the decades to come.
In addition to new and underrepresented voters, Rural voters need greater access to the economic, educational, and health opportunities afforded to those who live in metroplexes. Investments in rural hospitals, telehealth, online education, internet infrastructure, and physical infrastructures such as roads are essential to make sure that the twenty percent of America that lives in rural communities can still partake in the American dream.
Taking care of our fellow Americans despite our individualistic spirit is one of the great prides of American society. Conservatives have a unique space to fill in making sure that America continues to be the land of opportunity and potential for every American both here and yet to come. By focusing on our ideological strengths to create uniquely helpful policy and governance both in the public and private square, we can make sure that America remains the shining city on a hill for future generations of Americans.
Christian Thrailkill is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, musician, and columnist. He lives in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @Wolvie616