By Nikki Martinez
The Republican Party needs new blood, fresh ideas and a more progressive approach to its constituents, said Meghan McCain, daughter of presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, on Wednesday in Hoag Hall.
McCain, who admitted to voting for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, said she fell in love with the Republican Party as she campaigned for her father’s presidency in 2007 and 2008, where she was given “the ultimate crash course” in Republican politics.
McCain’s speech, which lasted 28 minutes and cost $10,000 in student fees, began as she discussed the idea of civility in politics and the lack there of. Civility is the art of being civil and courteous, she said.
“Every day, there is another example of rallies across this country filled with vitriolic feeling that walk a fine line on the feeling of hate,” McCain said.
Incivility can be found in everyday life, she said, and it has saturated the arena of politics.
“Republicans and Democrats seem to be less capable of compromising not to mention treating each other with tolerance and respect.”
This incivility is directly linked to the tactic of fear-based politics in both parties, she said.
“Time magazine asked this question, ‘Is fear politics bad for America?’ Well, excuse my French, but hell yes fear-based politics is bad for America,” McCain said.
The Wisconsin union protests are a great example of the “barbaric” way Americans are becoming because of fear-based politics, she said, and she has seen “a cultural shift” in the past decade.
These barbaric ways are also being fueled by the media, McCain said.
“What we are seeing on television in the past few years is the amping up of anger and frustration that is, more often times than not, created by the media,” she said.
She has come to think these forms of incivility are ruining America, McCain said.
“By bringing civility back into politics, we’ll be bringing back respect, tolerance and good will,” McCain said. “We will be able to break out of the tight spaces that cramp our liberties, our passions and our dreams. We will be freer to be ourselves.”
McCain has become a target of the media, by both the right wing and left wing portion of America because she is a self-proclaimed “progressive Republican.” Among the more progressive ideas she has are her beliefs in climate change, marriage equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, she said.
Though McCain won’t abandon the core values of the Republican Party, which are limitless freedom, the notion of self reliance and individualism, she said she would like the GOP to become more open-minded about what it takes to be a Republican.
“We must evolve or we die,” McCain said. “I am asking the Republican Party to stop being so stubborn and close-minded. I am asking Republican leaders and the rest of the party to stop being so stubborn to those of us who look different, live different and sway to the more extreme sides of the party.”
If these steps were taken, the Republican Party could rise to prominence once again, she said.
“It could rise like it did in the 1980s, infused with new blood and new creative approaches.”