As the next generation of voters comes of age, the question of party preference should focus on core values, historic performance, and future hopes, rather than pop culture memes or alluring yet deceptive cults of personality.
Republican values dictate that government should be as lean, as local, and as limited as practically possible. Republicans believe the function of government is primarily limited to issues like national defense, transportation infrastructure, monetary systems, and a judicial construct. The requirement of a judiciary system highlights what Republicans see as perhaps the most important function of the government - securing the rights and freedoms of the individual citizen.
Elevating of the 'authority of the collective ' over the 'freedom of the individual ' is central to the Democrat Party. Essentially, many Democrats see the government as the primary vehicle for solving issues like social injustice, poverty, corporate irresponsibility, failing schools, and a flagging economy. Because of this core value, they view the Constitution as an elastic device designed to expand the authority of the government. They usurp the rights and freedoms of the individual with the most noble of intentions, but with little in the way of positive results.
Consider how Democrats perceive debt, spending, and taxes compared to Republicans. Since Democrats believe that government is the answer to every ill, they support spending plans that drive debt higher and policies that increase taxes. As believers in the authority of the collective - dressed in the garb of the all-caring, all-knowing government - Democrats think it makes perfect sense to redistribute money earned by one person to the 'downtrodden ' under the guise of legitimate taxation.
The problem is that Democrats have been operating under this paradigm since President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society proposition. The truth is that Johnson's brand of expansive government perpetuates injustice and economic instability. Young voters should ask themselves just how much freedom they're willing to sacrifice in exchange for entitlements and handouts.
Republicans know that government is not the answer, but rather, as President Ronald Reagan said, the problem. Republicans, therefore, seek to lower taxes and restrain spending. They know that, although it reduces government programs, a limited government empowers the individuals, for-profits, nonprofits, churches, and families who are best able to solve the problems facing our community.
With their lives stretching out like blank canvas, young citizens have both a responsibility and an opportunity lying before them. Politicians come and go. Planks of party platforms surge in step with rhetoric heavy on exhortation and light on execution. What remains after the veneer of shiny promises fade are the core fibers, the honest internal values that drive a political paradigm.
Is government the panacea for the country's most significant problems, or are private citizens and their organizations, rich with unbridled freedom, key? How today's young people answer that question will determine our political future.
Nathan Fisk is a business and political consultant. Contact the author via email: nfisk@IdeasForColorado.com.