July 30, 2010
What defines a conservative? Asking that question in Oklahoma these days will elicit a multitude of opinions but most conservative or conservative leaning groups do agree it is about preserving the principles the United States was founded upon and individual freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Most of Oklahoma’s religious and political group’s that identify themselves as conservative or share some of the conservative principles differ on where the primary political focus should reside such as in Biblical morality and family values, rights of the individual, limited government, fiscal responsibility, or a strong military just to name a few.
The recent far left-leaning policy push by the Obama Administration and the Democrat controlled Congress along with President Obama’s espoused view of the US Constitution as a “living document” open to change and interpretation has been met with the emergence of the grass roots rallies such as the Tea Parties and protest at townhall meetings across America which has prompted many to dust off the US Constitution and other founding documents for a fresh reread.
In the wake of the current recession, record federal deficit, and unemployment, Oklahomans who participate in the Tea Party rallies across the state talk about individual freedoms being guaranteed by the Constitution that provide the right to oppose big government and restore it to a more constitutional model.
The Oklahoma Tea Party states on its site that its mission is “To conduct premier rallies to call…all Oklahomans and our elected representatives to restore out of control governments…to governments that are operated according to…principles of our Founders and the limits imposed by our Founding Documents.”
Many religious groups such as the American Family Association (AFA) broadcasting conservative talk shows daily on Oklahoma airwaves also hold that to be a true conservative one must adhere to the principles of our Founding Fathers and the founding documents but which they say starts with Biblical morality which leads to most other conservative principles being upheld successfully as well.
According to the AFA website, the AFA “…stands for traditional family values…reflect(ing) Biblical truth on which…(the US) was founded.…a culture based on Biblical truth best serves the well-being of our country as evidenced by the vision of our forefathers as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.”
Bryan Fischer, AFA Director of Issue Analysis and host of the “Focal Point” radio program on AFR Talk, says that the single most important conservative principle is that, “Every human being is created in the image of God, and because of this possesses certain inalienable rights that no man and no government has the moral authority to reject, remove or replace. Rights come from the hand of God, not the benevolence of government.”
The Oklahoma Republican Party has had long standing conservative principles established which they say also coincides directly with the Founding Fathers.
In the last 18 months, the GOP has focused on opposing the Obama Administration’s liberal policies meant to deal with the current US domestic and foreign issues. The GOP have countered with their own conservative leaning answers to these issues both nationally and in states like Oklahoma as the anti-big government sentiment within the majority of the American Public builds toward the November elections.
The Oklahoma Republican Party site states a common belief with the Founding Fathers, “…like our nation’s founders, believes that government must be limited so that it never becomes powerful enough to infringe on the rights of individuals.”
“With what is going on nationally and in (Oklahoma) everyone under the Republican tent believes in a limited less intrusive government as the conservative focus for right now,” said Matt Pinnell, Chairman and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Republican Party.
The Libertarian Party has its focus on being the party of the individual and individual rights.
The Libertarian Party states on their site that their “way is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government’s only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud.”
Angelia O’Dell, Oklahoma Libertarian Party Chair said. “the Libertarian Party does not identify itself as a conservative party.”
“My definition of a conservative would be one who realizes that the US Constitution is a document written to limit the scope and the power of the Federal Government,” said Larry Brittain, past Treasurer of Libertarian Party of Oklahoma and current member.
What defines a conservative? All these principles and much more depending on the individual or group you ask. Most groups do not officially espouse necessarily to be conservatives but do hold views in common with conservative principles.
The answer is as complex as Oklahomans themselves. However, most Oklahomans who call themselves conservatives or lean toward those principles do agree on the need to protect family values, rein in big government, stop deficit spending, protect individual rights, promote the free market, and maintain a strong military which they believe is their right guaranteed by the US Constitution.
Randy Driver – DriverPost