In her speech at the GOP convention, within the context of her life story about fulfilling the American dream and standing up to preserve the promise of America for the next generation (see previous post), New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez told the story about her conversion from Democrat to Republican. Before she ran for district attorney, a couple of Republicans had invited her to lunch. She knew they had a party switch in mind, so her plan was to enjoy the free meal with her husband and then politely go on their way. But during that lunch, her hosts didn’t use the words “Democrat” or “Republican”, “liberal” or “conservative”. They talked about the issues. For example, they talked about welfare, whether it should be a hand up or a way of life; and they talked about the size of government, about how much it should tax families and small businesses. When Susana left, she had a startling realization. She turned to her husband and said, “I’ll be damned – we’re Republicans.”
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, been totally in sync with them in your discussion of values and issues, and then found out that they are a Democrat? You wonder how this could be possible, knowing that their values are far removed from those of the other party. As you probe a little deeper, you find that their parents or even grandparents were Democrats; and much like religion, they follow in the footsteps of their elders. They don’t realize that the Democrat Party has moved further and further to the left, and further away from their own conservative values. Ronald Reagan was a Democrat before he became the standard bearer for the conservatives. He once said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the party left me.” This seems to be true for many people.
We don’t join a political party like we join a church or country club, and we shouldn’t cling to a party like a sports fan that remains loyal to his favorite team. Rather, we should vote for the candidate whose positions best reflect our values. Most of us have been taught that good manners preclude talking to others about religion and politics because those topics can be so contentious. But with so much at stake in this November election, with the future of America hanging in the balance, we need to be bold in talking to those in our circles of influence. As we engage in meaningful conversations with others, we must help them to see where their values align and encourage them to vote accordingly.
New Mexico’s governor, Susana Martinez, the first female Hispanic governor in the United States, added her story to the theme running through the Republican Convention of fulfilling the American dream, that in America everything is possible.
Growing up in a border town, her parents taught her to never give up and to believe that her future could be whatever she wanted it to be. Success, they taught her, is “built on a foundation of courage, hard work, and individual responsibility.” Despite what some would have us believe, “Success is not built on resentment and fear.”
Her father had been in the marines and a sheriff, her mother an office assistant, and they decided to start their own security business. They didn’t have much money, but they believed in the American dream!
Governor Martinez got quite a reaction from the crowd when she told about her involvement in the business when, at 18, she guarded the parking lot at the church bingos with a Smith & Wesson 357 magnum. Her parents built their business to 125 employees in three states. There was help along the way, but they were the ones who took the risk, and “they built it!”
Her parents also taught her to have the courage to stand for something. She became a prosecutor and stood up for the victims of child abuse. She stood up against the district attorney when called to testify against him, and was fired; then ran against him and defeated him by a landslide. The governor expressed her fear that some of our leaders lack the courage to stand up; that today we have politicians who have no real plans and who only stand up when they want to blame someone else. She said that she wasn’t saying that because there is a Democrat in the White House, and in fact, she used to be a Democrat herself (see “I’ll Be Damned – We’re Republicans”).
With so many people out of work, and our debt out of control, this election needs to be about those issues, she contends. She contrasted her tenure as the governor of New Mexico with Obama’s presidency. She had inherited the largest structural deficit in state history and turned that deficit into a surplus (without raising taxes) – with a legislature controlled by Democrats! In contrast, Obama promised to bring us together, cut unemployment, pass immigration reform in the first year, and cut the deficit in half in his first term. He hasn’t even come close, and there hasn’t been a budget passed in three years.
She concludes with her endorsement of Mitt Romney. They had different starts in life, different paths to leadership, and different cultures, but they both have shared in the promise of America. Success is the American dream and not something to be ashamed of or demonized.
“There is one candidate in this election who will protect that dream, one leader who will fight hard to keep the promise of America for the next generation. And that’s why we must stand up and make Mitt Romney the next President of The United States!”