Under the Elephant Tent

Mrs Falconers Cabana Boy over at the Pajama Pack has some thoughts worth reading regarding what has happened in the ten days since President Bush’s re-election. Enjoy.

Also, I was lucky enough to be invited to a “W” Victory Dinner this weekend – a group of people gathered together to share a meal and celebrate and blow off some steam, after all of those harrowing weeks leading up to the election. The house was festooned with flags; people brought W memorabilia, signed pictures (someone brought an Ann Coulter doll, which scared me a little…) but an excellent time was had by all, and the host and hostess of the evening, Steve and his very lovely bride, Rosemary were generous with both the helpings and the patriotic music. They had a really wonderful idea and I hope to hear of many such parties going on elsewhere over the coming weeks!

Can I say? It was really refreshing to be around like-minded people, able to simply share their joy (or relief) in the election outcome, without any of us having to worry that the person in the next chair might become indignant, throw a drink, or sneer, or begin to scream and rant and call out, “NAZI!” It has been a long time since I have been in such homogenous company, and for a few hours, it was awfully nice. There were in attendance conservatives of varying stripes, from “very” to “mostly” and that was kind of nice, too. It was a relief to see that (as Rush Limbaugh has always maintained, and despite the stereotype) the GOP is not a monolith; it does, truly, seem to have a tent big-enough to encompass people of differing views.

At this gathering there were both pro-life and pro-choice people, union and non-union people and so on. And I have to add, despite all the paranoid, nasty kvetching by the left that the election turned on the “values” issues of gay marriage and “Jesusland” religious mania, neither subject ever came up. The talk was of W, Fallujah, our troops, taxes, school choice, raising teens and the media. This is excellent. The GOP needs to work hard over the next four years to keep the big tent open – they cannot make the same seemingly fatal mistake the Democrats have made; they cannot demand a lockstep (some might call it a goose-step) mentality of its members. Much of the demise of the Democrats can be traced to their near totalitarian insistence that everyone in the party “fall in line.” There is on the left, no brooking of dissent regarding abortion, education, the environment or social security (to mention a few issues) – you either echo the talking points or you’re out. Many, many of us raised in classically liberal families, raised to believe that a liberal person is a person who respects the views of others and keeps an open mind, have been chased completely out of the Democratic party because of that goose-stepping, and the last ten days of oh-so-superior scolding and condescension by the Democrats (I’m still waiting for the great “leader” of that party to call for an end to the hate rhetoric, btw) have only convinced us that we were correct to leave, and that there is no room for us in that very insulated, select and snobbish club.

There is room for all of us – at least for now – under the Elephant Tent. If our leadership are smart, and I think they are, they will make sure the tent doesn’t collapse under the weight of enforced over-conformity of views. I am heartened to see a genuinely civil discussion taking place among Republicans concerning Arlen Spector’s chairing of the Judicial Committee. I’ve been reading various points of view at National Review Online, Hugh Hewitt, Captain Ed and Andrew Sullivan (among other blogs – it’s a hot issue) and everyone has had the chance to express themselves clearly, everyone has been heard, and no one has been called “disloyal” or “a bad conservative”. No one has been told their views are “idiotic”, “moronic”, “narrow” or “STUPID.” It’s precisely the sort of respectful dialogue one expects from “tolerant”, “liberal-minded” people. Increasingly, in my experience, those people are found in the GOP. That’s very healthy, indeed, and very encouraging for our future. A party that allows its members to think for themselves – without recrimination – will always beat a party that does not. We must remember that. Good thing Elephants don’t forget!

UPDATE: Not a surprise, and very welcome news that Dr. Condoleeza Rice will be the next Sec’y of State. She’s smart, diplomatic, steely, loyal and capable of turning on the charm when she likes. Excellent. Over at Instapundit Professor Reynolds quotes a reader of his, one Brian Crouch:
The media is overlooking something. Not only is Rice the first female black Secretary of State, she’s the first black person to replace another black cabinet official of any gender. And do I need to mention this is the first administration to have two black Secretaries of State? Thank God for the GOP’s affirmative action stance. Namely, “may the best person win.“

As Professor Reynolds would say, indeed.

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