After writing about the changing landscape of GOP politics yesterday (well, honestly writing it a little more than a day ago, but posting it yesterday), I woke this morning to this piece at npr.com. My post yesterday was about how venomous the GOP has gotten: how treatment of immigrants has lost its compassion, how diplomacy is mocked. It was a pretty negative view of today’s GOP. But the read in NPR shows a much better side of things for my GOP friends.
The article draws a stark contrast between Chris Christie (who has a position on drug addiction that I praised before) and President Reagan, who many see as the perfect model republican.
Christie: “Sixteen-year-old heroin addicted drug girl on the floor of the county lockup — I’m pro-life for her life.”
Reagan: “We will refuse to let drug users blame their behavior on others.”
The article highlights those lines, and includes a clip from a GOP primary debate when this issue came up. The clip from the debate is worth watching. Cruz and Christie are the only candidates featured, but they work hard to shine as the most caring and compassionate on the stage. Cruz tells a very sad story about his sister’s struggle with addiction. He talks about her time in crack houses, her time in jail, and her death by overdose. The conversation turns to border security, and how to keep drugs out of the country, but Christie brings it back to treatment of drug addiction, a redirect that I really appreciate. Other clips show Fiorina talking about the loss of her child to drug addiction. This is sad and powerful stuff, and it’s a big change for the GOP. A change in the right direction (in my view).
The article features a clip of President Bush (George W. Bush) talking about the money flowing from drug users to terrorists, a clip of his father, President George H.W. Bush, talking about the need for “more prisons, more jails, more courts, more prosecutors,” and a clip of President Reagan saying that illegal drug and alcohol use will no longer be tolerated. He talks about the corrosive evil. He does say that “we will offer a helping hand,” but then goes on to say that we will be firm and let them know that they must learn to “just say no.”
The article at NPR.com is worth looking at, and has some additional policy details, and the clips are certainly worth watching. This is a direction where I believe the country has changed for the better, and I think it’s something worth applauding. A change in the GOP that’s much better than the changes I talked about yesterday.