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  • Writer's picturePat Lucas

Whose GOP is it, Anyway?

A tree is known by the fruit that it bears. Luke 6:44

Not long ago, a local GOP precinct member accused a conservative candidate of dividing the GOP and “helping the democrats”. This made me think, “whose GOP is it, anyway?” Ever since Donald Trump announced that he was running as a Republican, a chorus of criticism from Conservative Inc. pundits began almost immediately. They criticized his experience, his divorces and his private life, but the most striking thing was that they criticized his conservatism. President Trump espoused every conservative principle that they had pretended to support. His list of potential judicial nominees was the most conservative we had seen since Reagan. He supported immigration enforcement and national defense. Most memorable was the harsh criticism he received for opposing John McCain. McCain’s involvement in financial scandals and stabbing the Tea Party conservatives in the back was well known. Trump was vindicated later when McCain refused to honor his campaign promise to his constituents to repeal Obamacare.

Our local Laramie County GOP now has the same identity crisis. We have very clear and concise LCGOP and Wyoming State GOP platforms. We have a Republican governor, and a Republican super majority in both chambers. But as we saw in the recent Special Session, our Republican representatives couldn’t even agree on a simple bill to prohibit President Biden’s vaccination “mandates” which have no force of law or constitutional basis. It was almost comical hearing Republican lawmakers echo Democrat lawmakers. They spoke repeatedly of their desire to protect the rights of large corporations, but not the citizens. One Laramie County lawmaker actually called conservatives “secessionists” for not following every presidential decree from Washington DC. Secession was caused by states leaving the union and declaring themselves no longer subject to the Constitution. We are actually following the Constitution, and we only demand that the state and federal government do the same. How a lawmaker can have such a lack of understanding of the law, and yet still attack his constituents as ignorant, is unbelievable. When one conservative law maker pointed out that Colorado and several other states have been ignoring federal drug laws and immigration laws for years, the Speaker almost broke his gavel, and screamed at him that he was not allowed to bring up fact based comparisons to other states.

LCGOP held elections for officer posts earlier this year. Freddy Flores-Salieb ran as a candidate for LCGOP Chair. She gave an impassioned defense of LCGOP platform principles as they applied to her business last year. Her restaurant was arbitrarily ordered to close for dine in and could only serve takeout customers. All restaurants and bars lost significant income and many closed permanently. In the meantime, large retail chains were allowed to remain open for hundreds of customers with no such limitations. She was the only candidate other than the incumbent. One precinct committee member was incredulous that there was an “unapproved” candidate other than the incumbent. He said angrily that “only people who have been showing up here for years” deserve to be considered and represented. I say we should follow his advice! We must start showing up and making our desires heard. By the way, Freddy lost that election. But not by much.

There is nothing in the LCGOP platform or bylaws requiring that only certain people may participate in our self-government. All registered Republican residents of Laramie County are eligible to serve in every position in the party: from Precinct Central Committee Members, to Executive Committee officers and State Committeeman and Woman. We are making our voices heard in LCGOP meetings, school board meetings and city council meetings.

What are these conservative principles? Limited government is an important one. Limited government is not “no government.” Neither is it an end, in and of itself. Most problems are best solved with the lowest level of government intrusion. Our Democrat opposition states we cannot oppose Biden’s vaccine mandate because it will intrude on the rights of billionaire corporations. But government - legitimate government anyway – exists only to protect the rights of citizens. No corporation can refuse employment to anyone on the grounds of race or religion. We already have “anti-mandate” laws prohibiting that. With corporations now threatening to segregate citizens and terminate employees based on their medical history, it is imperative that we the demand that our lawmakers protect our rights. This is not “extremism.” It is consistent with our Wyoming Constitution and our State and County Republican Party platforms.

Which brings me back to my first thought. Who is a “real conservative?" By their fruits you shall know them. A conservative representative does not give liberal talking points, vote against conservative bills or vote for liberal bills, and ally with liberal Democrats. A conservative representative, like a conservative principle, does not bear liberal fruit.


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