2 guiding principles

Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President o...

Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Deutsch: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von 1901 bis 1909, Friedensnobelpreisträger des Jahres 1906. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a member of the GOP all my life, but recently I have been catching some flack for not subscribing to current GOP dogma. I have evolved over the years from being a severe conservative to someone approximating a progressive or liberal. I suppose I could describe myself as a Republican in the model of Teddy Roosevelt. The criticism started me thinking about where I rank party loyalty in my life’s goals, and these are my current thoughts on the matter.

The two principal principles in my life are the search for truth and my concern for the welfare of my fellow-man/woman or all humanity. These two items are tied for first place; one does not outrank the other, and neither is able to stand alone. Truth guides my concerns for humanity, and without concern for my fellow-man, truth has little value. If  I were a religious person, I would elevate religion to a third principal principle, equal to the search for truth and my concern for my fellow-man. These two principles are followed by my concern for country and only then my regard for party. Thus my party membership takes a backseat to my other concerns and ranks last among them.

My search for truth is ongoing and never-ending. New information is assimilated and is welcomed, whether it confirms previously held beliefs or challenges them. By humanity, I mean all human life on the planet. I make no distinction by race, color, creed, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic status.

Barack at Osawatomie

English: John Brown Museum in Osawatomie, Kansas

Image via Wikipedia

Osawatomie, Kansas is 50 miles South-South-West of Kansas City, Missouri. It was the site on August 31, 1910, of a speech by Teddy Roosevelt (TR) that laid out his vision of a progressive America. Days before Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver a speech of his version of a progressive America, some conservative bloggers were already denouncing what the President had yet to say. In the days ahead, it will be repeated endlessly that TR lost the 1912 election after delivering what was then and would be now a controversial speech. Conventional wisdom is that TR split the Republican vote, giving the election to Woodrow Wilson, whose first name incidentally was Thomas.

That is one interpretation of the vote totals, but I would like to suggest another. The period between McKinley‘s assassination and the end of WW1 was a progressive era, and as hard as it is to believe even some Republicans were progressives. I am not an expert on the 1912 election, although I am reading biographies of TR and Wilson, I have not reached the 1912 election in either book. The third candidate in the race was Taft who later went on to become Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. I am looking forward with great interest to reading about Taft’s life because he was President when my mother was a child and my father was a teenager.

The vote totals in 1912 in rounded numbers
Wilson   6,300,000  42%
TR         4,100,000  27.5%
Taft        3,500,000  23%
Debs         900,000     6%

Debs was the Socialist candidate, and I am going to add his votes to those of Wilson and TR to get a progressive total of 75+%. TR was a former President and Taft was the sitting President. I am speculating that the voters wanted a progressive candidate and that they wanted a fresh face. Wilson had a sterling record as President of Princeton and Governor of New Jersey. Anyway that is my theory and it does require additional study on my part to either confirm or deny.