By John Biver
Because of the incredibly bad state of affairs that currently exists for Illinois Republicans, we’ve been forced to spend a lot of time lately shining light on the root causes of our party’s problems and what specific changes are required.
While we continue with this important work, it’s worth taking a few moments to restate what it is we believe and support. While what follows is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s a good partial review.
Readers should note that except for the subheadings and other minor alterations for the sake of flow, all of the substantive language below is taken from the Illinois Republican Party Platform.
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We believe that the cornerstone of our democracy is: Equality, Freedom, Opportunity, Less Government, Low Taxes and Strong National Security. And that the Republican Party’s commitment should be unwavering in its commitment to these principles.
We honor the Constitution and believe that neither the Executive, Legislative nor Judicial branches of government should detract from the rights enumerated herein. The Founding Fathers then, and our Republican Party today, recognize that democracy is* the best tool for governing a society that had a deep respect for each individual, the family and community.
Leadership and Ethics
We support leadership that acts with honor and distinction.
We believe that trust, pride and respect are the qualities that need to be restored if Illinoisans are to once again view their government and their leaders in a favorable light.
We believe that without integrity, promises and solutions have no value.
Therefore, we will not stand for the slightest compromise in the ethics of our political leaders, regardless of party affiliation. We recognize that a compromise in the ethics of our Party officials or politicians can and will cause damage to the overall Party.
We believe that our Party should be a Party of ethics and integrity regardless of the cost. In order to avoid any hint of ethical compromise, we shall adhere to the following principles, without exception:
- Party officials and politicians must act in such a way as to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
- Party officials and politicians shall place public service ahead of personal gain.
- Government contracts and licenses shall be awarded based entirely upon merit pursuant to an open process.
- Government employees shall not engage in political work on government time nor use government resources for campaign purposes.
- No campaign contribution shall be solicited from government employees.
- Former government officials shall not engage in lobbying for two years after leaving employment of the government agency they plan to lobby.
- We salute President Bush and United States Department of Justice in their efforts to aggressively combat political corruption in Illinois. No previous Administration on the Federal, State or County level has done more to confront political corruption and prosecute it in Illinois than the Bush Administration.**
We believe that winning elections is about motivating voters to choose a better alternative, not blurring the distinctions between candidates in the mushy middle.
We believe that what is necessary to achieve these successes is Leadership. It must be enlightened and inclusive leadership; leadership that is not afraid of bold ideas that appeal to progress in solving problems.
We believe that organization is also key, as well as money; but we also don’t lose sight of the fact that organization and money won’t just come by asking they will come to us when we demonstrate the effective kind of principled leadership and action that makes people want to join our cause.
We believe that a cause it must be; a battle to address our problems to rally a public that is cynical and tired of politics as usual. It must be bold and forward thinking to awaken a public that is busy managing their hectic lives; mere tired platitudes won’t generate the interest or excitement necessary to bring that awakening.
We support the effort to limit and reform government.
We support the effort to reduce the size of government and the number of citizens dependent upon government.
We support the effort to provide a foundation for job creation and business expansion across the State and reduce regulations and taxes that smother the free market.
We support the rollback of the higher taxes and fees which have driven business out of Illinois in recent years and discouraged the growth of businesses that stayed.
We support candidates and office holders who understand that taxing businesses translates into fewer jobs, less investment and higher consumer prices. Therefore, we not only oppose higher general taxes, but will consistently fight the multitude of targeted tax increases which are bleeding Illinois employers and destroying jobs.
We support the fight to protect future generations from being crushed under a burden of debt.
We support candidates and office holders who believe that our children and grandchildren should not be crushed under a burden of debt because leaders today are unwilling to make difficult and responsible choices.
We support candidates and office holders who oppose higher taxes.
We believe out-of-control spending habits guarantee that Illinoisans will pay higher taxes in the future.
We believe the answer to Illinois’ fiscal crisis is not arbitrary fee increases, hidden taxes on business and entrepreneurs, or smoke and mirrors accounting.
We believe that America is an over-taxed nation. In fact, most people spend more money on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and shelter combined. Worse yet, in too many working families, one parent works to put food on the table and shelter overhead, while the other has a job simply to pay for the government bureaucracy. This has to stop.
We believe that now is not the time to add more taxing burdens on America’s job creators. The bottom line is that tax relief works for America and working families.
We support a taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
We believe that working Americans should be given back what is rightfully theirs in the first place – their own hard-earned money through tax relief. The government shouldn’t seize your money before you even touch it. Working Americans earned it, not the government’s bloated bureaucracy. Working Americans deserve it, not government bureaucrats.
We believe that government should learn to live with less, so the rest of America can have more. The surest way to keep government from becoming permanently much larger – with more taxes, more regulations, more spending, and greater interference in citizens’ daily lives – is to hold down taxes now. By controlling the government budget, working Americans can grow their family budget.
We support the restoration of timeless values.
We support the effort to strengthen the families of Illinois.
We support the effort to protect the fundamental right to life and dignity of every human life including the lives of unborn children.
We believe that Government must defend and protect those who by age, disability or other affliction cannot protect themselves. This includes the protection of the unborn child.
We believe Government shall not pick winners or losers, only assure everyone the same and equal rights. We believe fundamental rights are inherent to the individual, not to groups.
We believe the family is society’s central building block. Thus, efforts to strengthen family life are efforts to improve life for everyone. We are committed to serving our children and the families raising them. Our children need secure and nurturing environments. No law should be considered without fully contemplating the effect it would have on families and children.
We believe that our laws should make it easier for families to provide a secure and nurturing environment for their children, not more difficult and more expensive. The most secure and nurturing environment for a child is provided by two parents committed to each other and to the child. Our laws need to recognize this fundamental truth and not ignore it.
We believe that legislation designed to help parents provide for their children is not discriminatory toward non-married individuals, but it is necessary for maintaining a healthy and peaceful society.
We believe that our laws should strongly support and celebrate the loving commitment a man and a woman make to each other in marriage. Our laws should strongly support and celebrate a loving, married couple bringing new life into the world and raising their children in a secure and nurturing environment from conception through adulthood.
We believe that no law should undermine the importance of that union, divide that union, nor unduly burden the efforts of parents to raise a family in a safe and nurturing environment.
We believe that no device, whether by judicial fiat or by the exercise of the powers of office, should be allowed to infringe upon the sanctity of marriage.
We support of traditional ethical and moral family values, including extended families, where persons support one another, and against governmental policies that undercut the health and safety of the family.
We support all efforts to honor marriage and recognize the fundamental importance of this noble institution.
We support the effort to make our public schools among the best in the nation.
We believe that Illinois must continuously strive to do better in educating our children. Children of all socio-economic circumstances should have access to a quality education that puts the interests of the children first. No child should be forced to attend schools that do not educate.
We believe that no child should be left behind in our education system.
We believe that no adult should be allowed to make excuses for schools that chronically fail to teach the children in their care.
We believe that failed administrators should be removed from failing schools. Our children deserve no less.
We believe that our laws should empower parents to make choices for their children’s education. Parents should be empowered to remove their children from substandard schools and enroll them in good schools. This right and power is most acutely needed by lower income families and families living within poorly run school districts where the stakes are highest and presently options are most limited.
We believe that the current ill-advised scheme has only resulted in politicization of education, corruption and abysmal service to our children everywhere it has been tried.
We strongly support the rights of parents to do what is in the best interests of their children.
We should protect our parents and children from being coerced to place their child on medication in order to receive educational services. We should protect that fundamental right of the parent to have the final say in what is best for their child’s well-being.
We believe parents should receive advance notice of any medicine or medical procedure or treatment their child may be offered or may seek.
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* Ironically, the IL GOP 2004 Platform uses the word “was” in this sentence, as in
“The Founding Fathers then, and our Republican Party today, recognize that Democracy was the best tool for governing a society that had a deep respect for each individual, the family and community.”
We think it still is.
** Note that this would not be happening without former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald’s choice of Pat Fitzgerald (no relation) as U.S. Attorney.
***I used quotation marks because while I’ve seen the use of the word “Traditional” Values, or “Family” Values, I hadn’t previously seen “Timeless” Values used as the IL GOP Platform did. Nevertheless, it sounds good to me.