Until conservatives practice a “compassionate” form of their ideology, they will continue to be painted as racists that hate gays, immigrants, and the poor. This is far from the truth, but the media will not stop its attack on conservatives until we show more compassion. I personally have been labeled as a racist for my views on entitlements and diversity policies. This is not fair, but it is a reality. For instance, Rand Paul’s civil rights comments are a prime example of information being misconstrued by the media to paint conservatives, libertarians, and tea party members as evil racists.
Social issues include gay rights, immigration reform, abortion, and capital punishment to name a few. These social issues are, in my opinion, the easiest to compromise on and to show more compassion for opposing viewpoints. The only way to handle social issues, based on the Constitutions’ tenth amendment, is to have each individual state decide on the laws for abortion, gay rights, immigration reform, capital punishment, and so forth. Sure, I have an opinion on social issues, but this does not mean they should be solved at the federal level. Most conservatives claim to be constitutionalists, but at the same time most would love to have the Supreme Court rule against abortion and gay marriage even though they have absolutely no standing to do so. This is hypocrisy because most conservatives acknowledge the Supreme Court overstepped its authority when it ruled on Roe v Wade. The best way to compromise on these polarizing issues is to have each state designate their own set of laws. Some states will adapt conservative views on social issues while others will adapt liberal views. This gives American citizens the option to live in states that adapt laws that fit their ideology. Thus, conservatives should focus more on fiscal responsibility issues and smaller government than social issues. This is the easiest way to give others the impression that conservatives have some compassion over issues such as gay marriage. This would also help to lure independent voters and even minorities towards the GOP.
Most social issues should be private. I personally do not know the circumstances of women who are having an abortion. So who am I to say that a woman should not have an abortion if she was raped or may die giving birth? Rape and medical reasons may occur in less than 3% of all abortions, but the possibility exists. Yes, I think abortions are wrong, but it is easy to have some empathy and compassion for a woman that has been rapped.
Personally, there are many social issues I could support if individuals would only protest for their cause in a respectful manner. Proponents of gay marriage, for instance, would make more headway if they did not demonize adversaries as being evil (remember Carrie Prejean) and protest in a disrespectful way such as disrupting church services. The Constitution says that everyone is equal, thus I see no reason why two men or two women cannot be married. We should follow the golden rule to treat others the way we expect to be treated. I simply wish they would defend their cause in a respectful manner. I see the gay rights movement as being analogous to the women’s suffrage movement.
Compassionate conservatism does not ask people to change their social or moral views. It only asks that they pursue them as a state issue instead of as a national issue. It also asks that people try to empathize with the opposing viewpoint. What if for example, one of your children was gay or daughter was impregnated by a rapist? Would you still push for bans on abortion and gay marriage? Maybe your views would not change, but under these circumstances it is easier to have more compassion towards these views. That is by definition what compassion is: It is to put yourself in shoes of your adversaries.
Yes, in my opinion 97% of all abortions should be outlawed, but I am willing to compromise and let the individual states decide these issues. I do not understand homosexual behavior, but this is a private issue and since all Americans are equal everyone deserves the same freedoms including marriage. I have a conservative viewpoint when it comes to most social issues, but would like to think I have compassion for others that may be on the other side of the fence. Besides, fiscal issues such as entitlement budgets, health care, unemployment, and cap and trade should take priority over social views. After all, if America is in debt and going bankrupt, what good are gay marriage and abortion benefits if American citizens are struggling to survive?
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)