I watched the major speakers at the Republican National Convention last week and was generally pleased with what I heard. Mitt Romney is my selection as the next United States president.
Over the years, I’ve attended both political conventions as a reporter in New York, Detroit, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, New Orleans, Miami, Houston and Dallas.
I think the most memorable event was Miami with the coronation of Richard Nixon for a second term. I was an alternate delegate for that convention, rather than media. New York was interesting with a dynamic speech from Ted Kennedy, who did not seek the presidency but instead gave a great speech.
As a recent college graduate in 1959, I worked at the Chicago convention as a sergeant at arms for 10 days. Security in 1959 was performed by each political party with few convention guards, nothing like today.
Western Slope Congressional Republican Chairman Chick Casteel of Glenwood Springs selected me for the paid internship at the Chicago convention with President Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon.
Another career highlight was covering Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colorado) when he ran for president at the RNC in San Francisco. I stayed with the delegation in the hotel and followed his career closely until the romantic scandal blew up his candidacy and changed elections forever revealing more personal off-record information about candidates. John F. Kennedy history reveals he received a personal- life media pass, so did Eisenhower and Roosevelt.
I would let Chet Huntley and David Brinkley pass through my security line in Chicago; they were both very tall stately gentlemen. In those days candidates were selected at the conventions and it was a rowdy, robust televised event with roving reporters moving around the floor with their cameras churning as state votes were announced.
I had “fuzzy navel” drinks at the Atlanta home of Martha Ezzard, a well-known state senator from Colorado who changed parties and moved back to her home state of Georgia. I enjoyed a buffet dinner in the George W. Bush home in a Texas suburb with Neil and Sharon Bush, formerly of Denver, who welcomed this Colorado publisher.
Covering both conventions gave me a keen sense of both parties, who belonged and what each party had for a platform.
Sure, Republicans were more the party of wealth, business, agriculture and corporate folks. Most were well dressed in suit and ties, and dresses at evening social events where the media wasn’t invited very often.
Democrats are far more diverse, economically and racially. Union members and leaders were big promoters and spenders, hosting many parties that included the media. There were many federal and state employees, along with most of the nation’s teachers, firefighters and police representatives.
Both parties were very patriotic; I think it would be fair to say that Republicans emphasized free enterprise, military defense, reduced taxation and freedom and patriotism. Democrats favored fair labor practices and pay for workers, strong on Social Security, military defense, and more supportive of governmental programs, child care and pubic education, along with freedom and patriotism.
Where am I going with these parallels? To point out that in the past the two major political parties had their distinct differences, but on some major issues there were no questions about patriotism, defending our country, and a basic belief in American institutions.
I have numerous friends who are Democrats, some Republicans.I don’t ask a person about their religion or their political beliefs, they may tell me eventually and our friendship doesn’t depend upon either, but how we treat each other and enjoy our company, socially and professionally.
Today, I’m concerned about the name-calling and mud slinging by both parties and the lack of almost any bipartisanship toward reaching solutions to some very urgent and critical issues. No. 1, the issue of reducing the national debt and ways to stop borrowing money from China to fund national expenditures, worthy or not. The deficit spending must stop and soon, not 10 years from now, but starting in January 2013. I will pay more taxes if the money goes toward cutting the national debts and not being squandered in questionable government spending programs.
I shudder over the class economic warfare being promoted by the Obama campaign, that he’s going to rebuild America from the middle-class down. What does that mean? It’s so divisive if the two parties are to ever work together to solve these great challenges.
I fear that our president is far into a socialistic point of view about equalizing incomes, taxing the rich to help the poor and spending more borrowed money on government bailout programs. I would also make the argument, in my opinion, that he does not represent all of the Democratic Party with these views; there are many successful Democrats across America in all walks of life and economic levels that believe in free enterprise.
I’ve never seen a socialism type of philosophy tied into racial economic equality at any Democratic function until this administration and that view is becoming louder as we approach the election. The president now says this election is about philosophy, not the individual candidates. He is absolutely right on that statement. I do not believe that many Democrats believe in socialism and economic wealth division in America based upon racial inequities.
I do not believe that we make America strong by economic class warfare and attacking those with higher incomes who have been successful through the free enterprise system and the sweat of their brows –Americans have built their own success stories.
There are many differences and some similarities within our two-party system, and this political system of checks and balances has led to the election of some great leaders in both parties. Americans need to promote free enterprise and opportunity for all as we move forward in this election process and get America back on the right side of the ledger as a debt free nation.
Individual freedom to succeed or fail without major governmental interference is my belief. It is the moral duty of the strong to assist the weak and at all income levels.
Let’s remain a nation of independent hard working people who can pull together to make everyone’s life better through economic freedom to win or lose by our own efforts to succeed or fail.
Our government has been great for many years and we need to follow the Constitution, stay free of socialism and be thankful to God for the freedoms in America.