Here's an excerpt from a letter I received the other day from a college professor: "[T]hroughout this election I discussed with students the differences between ideologies. The majority of them are on federal financial aid. They are fine with more taxes as long as they will be taken care of. It is disturbing to hear that they are willing to spend their own money on tattoos and cell phones but cannot buy the book for class until the financial aid comes in."
For those who see social conservatism as an annoyance and argue that Republicans must purge this agenda from their party in order to survive, I say, "Think again."
If Republicans want revival, we need honest focus on what's really wrong in America and what must be done to assure that a great nation will be standing for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
This kind of thinking is different from polls and focus groups and clever schemes to manage media and voter turnout. Leadership is about identifying the truth, believing it and telling it in a way that people can grasp. Then they will respond and follow.
The professor's letter provides a snapshot, a hint, of what America's most basic problem is today. It's a problem of character and values. Having lectured on more than 180 college campuses over the last 20 years, I have seen exactly what the professor is talking about.
Of course government is too big. But how did it get this way? Americans vote every two years. They voted every two years during the whole period over which government grew to its current unwieldy size. With the majority of the country now on one kind of government program or another, does anybody really think we can change this without talking about the human attitudes and values that produced it?
Democrats have a much easier problem than Republicans. They are not trying to change America. The trends and attitudes that got the whole country on welfare, that produced the moral relativism that is destroying our families and character, is the platform of the Democratic Party. Democrat politicians just have one job: deny that the patient is sick.
Republicans, if they are going to be a real opposition party, have a much tougher job. With all the talk about this last election being driven by demographics and turnout, the most basic point is the party and its candidate did not step up as a serious, principled opposition party. We can't save Medicare and Social Security. They are bankrupt. Did we hear this from the Republican candidate? We heard wishy-washy words about reforming these systems so we can save them.
Did we hear anything about how our public schools -- controlled by unions whose agenda is growing their benefits and promoting moral relativism among our youth -- are destroying our children and our future? No.
When Ronald Reagan was first elected in November 1980, 18 percent of our babies were born to unwed mothers. Today, 42 percent are. Anyone who thinks this is not of crisis of the first order can just as easily vote for a Democrat as a Republican.
Americans just re-elected a president who opposed the Supreme Court decision banning partial-birth abortion. The leader of our nation thinks it should be legal in America to kill a live, fully formed infant. What does this say about America today and our future?
There may be Republicans who think that we can ignore the crisis in character and values that underlies our fiscal crisis. There may be Republicans who think that if we have a better tax system it doesn't matter if we have a country of single mothers, sexually ambiguous and confused men, and abortion and euthanasia on demand. But ignoring these things would mean not just the end of the Republican Party, but the end of our country.