Principles matter

Submitted by Jim Vetter
Posted 4/13/23

Dear editor:

Recent debate on what it means to be a  Republican immediately called to mind a line from an Aaron Tippen’s country-western song: “you’ve got to stand for …

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Principles matter


Dear editor:

Recent debate on what it means to be a  Republican immediately called to mind a line from an Aaron Tippen’s country-western song: “you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”.  

Being a Republican (or Democrat or Libertarian) has distinct meaning. Every political party has a party platform. For the GOP, the party platform defines, the core essence of what it means to be Republican. You can find the Wyoming Republican Party Platform at this link:

This platform is not determined by a small group of people. The party platform (and resolutions) are determined using a representative process the same as we have for electing state and federal officials, however it is even more participative. Every two years, Park County Republicans vote for committeemen and committeewomen who serve two year terms on behalf of Republicans in their local precincts. Those elected committee persons are automatically delegates to a county GOP convention held every other year in March. Any resident can attend the proceedings to observe. At the county convention, resolutions are debated and adopted, and delegates are elected to go to the state convention held every two years.  

The 2022 Wyoming State Convention was attended by 351 of our elected friends and neighbors from  all 23 counties across Wyoming. For comparison, the U.S. House of Representatives has 435 members for the entire country! Visitors are allowed to attend and watch the proceedings. At the multi-day state convention, resolutions and platform issues are again publicly debated and adopted. A good, healthy, transparent, representative American process. So the GOP platform represents the wishes of Republican voters through an open electoral process with input and debate.

The platform embodies the principles and values of the Wyoming Republican party. Is there 100% agreement amongst members? No, based on the varied views and debate. But it in the end that is what the party stands for that two year period.  

So at what point does a person’s lack of support for the party platform undermine the very values it holds and render it weak or even meaningless. For hyberbole’s sake, if someone supported 0% of the platform in statements and in their voting record, are they a Republican? Well, they may self-identify as such but they certainly aren’t a Republican in practice or by objective measurement. If a Republican state representative votes with the Democrats 87% of the time, are they Republican or functionally a Democrat? How would we answer if we applied the same thing to something like the Ten Commandments or tenants in other value systems or associations?

This tension is not just something unique to Wyoming and Park County. It is being played out across the nation: the battle for the soul of the Republican Party. For decades, we voted for largely establishment candidates putting blind faith and trust in them. The establishment functioned as self-serving oligarchy that used the system too often to drive an agenda and benefit themselves, their donors and their clique of insiders. This has been a constant human struggle through history between the oligarch elites (our supposed “betters”) and the every-day people, populists: The Golden Age of Greece, Rome during the time of Julius Caesar and today in America. Now that people are wise to what has been going on and the negative impacts it has had throughout our country, they have become more involved in the political process at all levels: political parties, school boards, state and national. And the establishment that has wielded power and influence for so long, doesn’t like being challenged or being out of power. So they push back. One of the many ways they do that is challenging basic principles and processes within our institutions to accommodate themselves and their interests.

Yes, there are Republicans in Name Only (RINOS). Just look at voting records that bear it out year after year at the state and national level with so many legislators. Yes, there is an Uni-Party where at times Democrats and many Republicans (especially leadership) align around unconscionable spending and levels of debt for instance and scratch each other’s back in return. Denying that this exists is just defense of it.

Fortunately for Park County and across America, the average person isn’t falling for anything anymore.

Jim Vetter