When I was given the honor of speaking at the Republican National Convention, I didn’t want to let the opportunity pass without sending a clear message to my generation and younger voters among millennials and Generation Z. The status quo days of the GOP being defined by what we are against, rather than what we are for, are over. We intend to listen, but we also intend to win the argument.
Make no mistake: In a flawed and imperfect two-party system, the Republican Party represents America’s best hope of saving this nation and preserving republican principles of liberty and limited government. For the past two decades, however, the Republican Party has marginalized principled reformers in its own ranks and let itself be branded as the “party of no.” On things such as healthcare, the environment, and other key issues, our leadership has aggressively attacked ideas from the Left but has failed to force consensus around the best ideas from the Right. It wasn’t always that way. And if we want to be a credible party in the future that can win national elections, that trend cannot continue.
The party of Lincoln has a proud history of leading the charge on the big issues of our times, including issues the modern Left feels like they own. Ronald Reagan signed and George H.W. Bush implemented the Montreal Protocol, which resulted in the most drastic decrease of greenhouse gases achieved by any president. It was Theodore Roosevelt who created the National Park System and safeguarded countless acres of public land for Americans to enjoy. I echo the words of Ronald Reagan when he said, “Preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense.” It’s our duty to be stewards of earth; we must answer that call.
Among younger voters, it’s no surprise independents outnumber both Democrats and Republicans. Both parties are guilty of failing to represent their constituents. I believe that the far-Left Democrats who have seized control of their party represent the very worst that America has to offer, but I truly believe that, in a close second, are many career politicians within the Republican Party. Our party, the Grand Old Party, is no longer very grand. But it is very old. Our leaders have failed us and it’s time we stopped putting up with it.
Throughout the course of my campaign, the scriptural principle that has guided my steps has come from Esther 4:14: “Who knows whether you have come for such a time as this?” My generation of young conservatives has been placed where we are in this period of history, for such a time as this. For such a time as Antifa, for a time such as cancel culture, for such a time as corruption in government, for a time such as unsustainable and crushing debt, for such a time as COVID-19. As I said in my convention speech, young Americans not only founded this country but have stepped up in times of peril and saved America abroad and at home. We held the line, scaled the cliffs, crossed oceans, liberated camps, and cracked codes. This is our time. These are our battles, and we can no longer be silent.
Our party ought not to be ashamed of its heritage nor be afraid of open debate and challenging the “woke” left. On race, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is right and wise to remind conservatives that unjust racial bias is real and persistent. As Scott, who is black, notes, he knows what it’s like to be pulled over to be stopped by security in the Capitol because of the color of his skin. We’ve come a long way, but Scott is right to remind Republicans that we have a long way to go.
Let us rise as a New Republican Party. A party that offers real solutions and attacks ideas rather than individuals. A party that meets voters where they are, and instead of belittling them for what they care about, offers a better way.
For the past few decades, Republicans have ceded the younger generation to the liberal Left and risked the future of this country. That stops now. Nancy Pelosi has been in office longer than I have been alive, and the America she creates will be the one in which I am forced to live. I represent one of many like-minded young men and women who would inherit a Democrat dystopia. I refuse to allow my America to continue down this path.
We are the party of liberty and self-determination, the same self-determination that millions of immigrants possess as they continue to seek our shores and our shining city on a hill. We are the party that defeated imperialism, fascism, and Marxism, both on the battlefield and in the hearts and minds of generations of Americans. We are the party of innovation that helped create a superpower, soar to the moon, cure countless diseases, and will cure yet another deadly disease in the months to come.
We also must be the party of youth that can win the hearts and minds of young patriots with clear, compelling, and common-sense policies that put people first and politics second. This is the New Republican Party. This is the New Town Square. We were created for such a time as this.
Madison Cawthorn is the Republican congressional candidate for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.
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