I feel compelled to apologize. But before I do, I should explain.
I’m from Abilene. I was born here, raised here, and in all likelihood, I’m going to die here. This thought obviously produces some mixed feelings, but in some ways, it’s a relief.
Abilene forms the southern base of the Texas 19th, otherwise known as the most conservative congressional district in the United States, which makes growing up in this area we call the “Big Country” a unique experience. It was here that I was taught at a young age the most valuable principle my father has (and perhaps will) ever taught me: “Matthew” he said, “don’t let anyone else determine your destiny.”
This notion would be echoed again in high school when I discovered my ideological hero, Ronald Reagan, who demanded of each citizen one thing in his First Inaugural Address: “Dream heroic dreams.”
This brings me to today. The Grand Old Party put up a spectacular fight recently, which gives me hope, yet I remain unsatisfied. Four years ago, I witnessed the rise of the Tea Party, and with it, the splintering of my party, the Republican Party. These candidates promised a return to normalcy through a revival of “common-sense” conservatism, all the while misquoting and misinterpreting statements by the Republican deity known as President Reagan.
It is extremely disappointing to see candidates win Republican primaries simply by comparing themselves to Ronald Reagan the loudest. To put this in ACU terms, it would be like watching two church ministers fight over who was the most Christ-like with the winner getting to be the new preacher. The rhetoric of these candidates alienates moderate Republicans, and those of my own generation reading this, as well.
This, in turn, constricts the GOP’s ability to be the best party it can be, thus weakening the two-party system. For this I apologize. However, I’m reminded of something I once read: “A man is a man no matter what his blood.”
It is through this idea, this simplistic and inescapable thought, that everyone in this great nation of ours has the potential to pick themselves up from current circumstances and be something great. This is, in essence, the American Dream. This, despite the opinions of some, is the platform of the GOP.
If you voted Republican, I want to thank you. If you voted period, God bless you for exercising a right we so often take for granted.
Matthew Cooksey is a senior business management major from Abilene and the president of ACU College Republicans.