Photo Credit: Wired

During the Trump era, Repub­licans have struggled to exhibit com­passion. The GOP touts its prin­ciples, but without com­passion those prin­ciples are worthless.  

Pres­ident Trump ordered 5,000 sol­diers to be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to defend the country from a migrant caravan of women and children. In 1957, Pres­ident Eisen­hower gave similar orders, but he sent the Arkansas National Guard to protect and defend nine African American stu­dents and their rights to attend school with white kids.

A time will come (and it may already be here) when the pop­ulace, regardless of policies and values, will look to public leaders to embody com­passion. The Democrats have mas­tered the game of emo­tions and, whether they are sincere or not, people are drawn to leaders that at least appear to possess the basic human qual­ities of love. People are drawn to leaders that care.

The GOP must pri­or­itize humanity over policy, and if it can’t, Repub­licans risk being voted out. In a number of human­i­tarian issues, Repub­licans hurt themselves.When it comes to gun vio­lence, Repub­licans tend to spend very little time, if any, on the human impact of the tragedy. They imme­di­ately jump to the defense of the Second Amendment instead. With health care policy, Repub­licans allow them­selves to be painted as leaders who don’t care if certain Amer­icans won’t be able to afford treatment because it’s more important to have a smaller gov­ernment. And with immi­gration, Repub­licans show no com­passion for the fam­ilies seeking a better life for their children, reverting instead to the talking point that the immi­grants are illegal aliens and law­breakers.

Repub­licans are on the wrong side of the game. They take the stance that the law is the highest essence of human life, but that’s not a platform that res­onates with the people, and it most cer­tainly is not a quality people will vote for. The GOP has prin­ciples and values, but when the party finds itself on the wrong side of human emo­tions, Repub­licans are playing with no hope of winning.

In the words of Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If Repub­licans want to be suc­cessful; if Repub­licans want to do what they believe is right, they should either redis­cover the teachings of Christ, whom they claim to follow, or stop pre­tending to uphold his teachings. The law of Christ is simple: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When a caravan of people is making the trek of a lifetime to knock on our door and ask for a better life, we might not be able to welcome them in, but we can at least treat them as fellow humans and greet them them with love, not with a throng of sol­diers. The GOP is treating them like animals trying to infest our nation.

Has the GOP for­gotten the words of one of its founders, Abraham Lincoln? “Don’t crit­icize them; they are just what we would be under similar cir­cum­stances,” Lincoln said. Repub­licans used to be the party that put them­selves in the shoes of the mis­treated and despised; Repub­licans used to be the party that freed the slaves and fought for human rights. How can Repub­licans demand respect in their fight for the rights of the unborn if they aren’t willing to show com­passion to grown men, women, and children?  Repub­licans used to send the mil­itary to protect the rights of its cit­izens, now they send the mil­itary to fight those who want nothing more than to have those rights as cit­izens.

Pres­ident Eisen­hower said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, sig­nifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” As our troops prepare to wage war on the caravan of immi­grants, Eisen­hower reminds Amer­icans that by deploying the mil­itary, the Repub­lican Party has already waged war on the hungry, the thirsty, and the strangers.

The Repub­lican Party must reconnect with the spirit in which it was founded, unless it wants to con­tinue on the path that labels them the enemy of the people. Regardless of the political objec­tives Repub­licans think they are accom­plishing, as long as they appear to not care about the common struggles of man, and as long as they dis­regard the human desire for love, Repub­licans will find them­selves on the path of destruction.

Stefan Kleinhenz is a sophomore studying Rhetoric and Public Address.

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    ‘During the Trump era, Repub­licans have struggled to exhibit com­passion.’

    On the con­trary, Pres­ident Trump has exhibited a great deal of com­passion-for the American people. That is who he has been elected to rep­resent, not some eco­nomic refugees from El Sal­vador and Hon­duras. Charity begins at home, and we have plenty of needy people in this nation that need our attention before some illegal immi­grants.

    ‘Pres­ident Trump ordered 5,000 sol­diers to be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border to defend the country from a migrant caravan of women and children.’

    In fact, the vast majority of those in this caravan are working age men and more than a few of them have criminal records and asso­ci­ation with MS13, but nice try with your deflection intended to elicit an emo­tional response. It’s apparent you have only a passing acquain­tance with the facts of this story, try researching a wee bit more before you try your next political drive-by hit.

    • jonny-o3

      But the important question is, if con­ser­v­a­tives don’t care about feeling and the only results and the dems care only about feelings, what about the American voters? Do most of them care about feelings or results? And for those inde­pen­dents who care about feelings more than results how do you propose to win them and their votes if you can make no appeal to feelings?

      • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

        It’s just my opinion, but the majority of voters in this nation are more attuned to their feelings than factual results. Thinking con­ser­v­a­tives are def­i­nitely out­num­bered at the voting booths. Donald Trump was able to energize enough passion in folks who looked at the other side and saw a corrupt old lady who everyone is VERY familiar with-and too many didn’t find her appealing. But gen­erally speaking an appeal towards raw emo­tions out­weighs an appeal towards logic in the American elec­torate.

        The Dems have been very suc­cessful in attracting emotive voters by calling Repub­licans base names. The Dems have no policies, but they have name-calling down to a science. That attracts a lot of lower end of the bell-curve, emotive voters.

        We con­ser­v­a­tives can only hope that the eco­nomic success of the current Admin­is­tration com­bined with the policy failures of majority Dem states and big urban centers will con­vince a small but sig­nif­icant number of dis­parate groups that nor­mally vote largely Democrat to con­sider our alter­native. Cer­tainly cities like Chicago and San Fran­cisco scare thinking people.

        • jonny-o3

          I do agree that more voters are attuned to feelings than results. I also agree that democrats are indeed pro­fi­cient at name calling and emo­tional appeals.

          But I dis­agree with your char­ac­ter­i­zation of con­ser­v­a­tives or the Repub­licans. Yes, there are the “thinking” kind, but there are other kinds of con­ser­v­a­tives as well, the “non-thinking” kind. You portray Dems as if they are respon­sible alone for name-calling, and thus that explains their pop­u­larity, and fail to mention any element of name calling among con­ser­v­a­tives. Trump’s tweets and rally speeches provide AMPLE evi­dence of a rather sophis­ti­cated use of name calling, some­thing that surely is a part of his ability to energize passion. And what is it when he trots out the “Angel” Moms but an appeal to sym­pathy, an argument that you should respect their sadness and grief and feel along with them and then agree with his immi­gration policies? From our pres­ident, we have both appeals to emo­tions and feelings and name-calling.

          Among the con­ser­v­ative elec­torate, these are equally in evi­dence. Perhaps your eyes are too del­icate, but have you ever read what con­ser­v­a­tives on sites like Bre­itbart write in the com­ments? I could easily compile all kinds of names, emo­tional, even hys­terical, appeals, and calls for vio­lence, civil war, the murder of Democrats and anyone they con­sider an “enemy”. That “unthinking” con­ser­v­ative elec­torate is a decent chunk of your party and they love name-calling and emotion. They see Trump’s name-calling as one of his best fea­tures! This is the part of the con­ser­v­a­tives that you ignore as a tactic to make your party sound like the party of perfect reason. You con­ve­niently leave out con­ser­v­a­tives who advocate that Michelle Obama is trans and really a man, or that this or that shooting was a “false flag” designed to curtail gun rights or the crowd who con­stantly com­petes for the best port­manteau of “Obama”. There are con­ser­v­a­tives who simply cry “NPC” or “snowflake” to ignore any oppo­sition argument.

          The con­ser­v­ative party is in turmoil because there are the “thinking” con­ser­v­a­tives like you, but also the “unthinking” con­ser­v­a­tives who are a very important part of your current success. The question is who will dom­inate. Will con­ser­v­a­tives embrace and support the “thinking” or the “unthinking” party? If both are needed to win elec­tions how will they coexist?

          But don’t sit here and pretend that all con­ser­v­a­tives are some philosopher kings with no nod or engagement with ruf­fians who call names. Calling names is now a major feature in your party and your can­di­dates.

  • Camus53

    Far be it for be to judge today how the history books of tom­morrow will record not only donnie’s pres­i­dency but the dis­ap­pearance of true Repub­licans and classic Conservatives…but what the heck…I’ll be gone by then…so let me now write the his­torical entry…saying that this is and will forever be known as a dark trou­bling period in our nation’s political and societal history and the name trump will live on in infamy.

  • William Voegeli

    Mr. Kleinhenz was still in high school when I dis­cussed this question during a visit to Hillsdale.