Lost in all of the hoopla over the switch in power in the US Senate Tuesday night was the number of historic "firsts" that also resulted from the elections. We have the first African-American elected to the Senate from a "Southern State" in 133-years. He is also the first African-American to ever be elected to both the House and then to the Senate. We have the first Haitian-American ever elected to Congress. The first female combat veteran is heading to the Senate--along with the first Iraq and Afghanistan Wars veteran elected to that chamber. Then there is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress--a 30-year old from upstate New York. And speaking of young, an 18-year old West Virginia college co-ed has become the nation's youngest State lawmaker. A staggering increase in the amount of "diversity" among those who represent us in the halls of power.
And did I mention all of those lawmakers are Republicans?
I'll give you a minute to let that sink in. I know that the narrative put forth by the Obama Administration, MSNBC talking heads, and websites like Salon.com and the Huffington Post is that the GOP is nothing but a bunch of angry, old, white, racist, misogynist, sexist, homophobic, Bible-quoting rich men with their uneducated, Stepford Wives--mixed in with some rednecks and gun-toting lunatics. I seem to remember after the 2008 Presidential election that more than a few "experts" called that night a harbinger of the death of the Republican Party--as their members would all just die off in the next few years--leaving behind nothing but "enlightened" liberals to control the country in a single-party state.
So what happened? How could those dire predictions have been so wrong?
Well for starters, John McCain excited absolutely no one in the Republican Party--whether you were white, black, Latino, man or woman. Mitt Romney in 2012 wasn't any more exiting to New Conservatives either--although having Paul Ryan on the ticket did give many hope. But as the Obama Administration plodded along, we began to see that opposition to crushing national debt and increased expansion of government control and intrusion into our lives knows no gender, race or age boundaries.
"Diversity" in the US doesn't just apply to skin color and religious beliefs--but to thought about what our country should be like. There will always be women who refuse to be prioritized strictly by their reproductive organs. There will be African-Americans who realize the promise of welfare special consideration for the past fifty years has not improved their community's standing one bit. There will be Latinos who support the rule of law when it comes to legal entry into this country. And there will be young adults who don't feel that everything--including health care and higher education--should be handed to them for free.
And so long as we have diversity in thought in this country, there will always be hope for the Republican Party.