John Feehery: A brave new GOP

John Feehery: A brave new GOP
© Greg Nash

To build a modern America, we have to modernize the Grand Old Party. 

Events over the last week have put an exclamation point on the past. We must move to bravely embrace the new world. 

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The Civil War is over. Finally. Let’s retire the flag of resistance and work to heal the wounds of past sins.

The Supreme Court has decided that everybody deserves a right to have a family, no matter what their sexual orientation. So be it. Let’s move on. 

America is the last and best hope of Western civilization. We are the bulwark against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the anti-bully to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the counterweight to China in Asia and Africa, Europe’s big brother and Israel’s best friend. We are the ultimate destination for those fleeing oppression, and we are the place that artifacts go to be preserved in safety. 

The Republican Party should stop being afraid of the future. 

We should be the party of the immigrant. Immigrants are the lifeblood of this country. They provide economic growth, new workers, birthrates, new ideas and new energy. America is better because of its immigrants. 

We should be the party of technology and applied science. 

We shouldn’t be the party at war with the scientific community over issues like climate change. We should be the party of environmental protection and environmental innovation. 

We can grow the economy smartly without destroying the world we live in. 

We should apply social science to social problems. 

What works in reducing teenage pregnancy? What works best to stopping violent crime? What compels people to work harder and live healthier lives? What gets people off drugs and ends addiction? Social scientists, with the helps of vast reams of data provided by social media, have answers to these questions. 

We should think creatively about applying science to the work force and to transportation issues. 

Shouldn’t more people work from home more often? Couldn’t that ease the infrastructure crisis in this country? How about drones? If drones can deliver packages to our doorstep, do we really need big trucks clogging up our highways? 

We need to make the American people smarter, too. We should make it a national campaign to raise the collective IQ of the nation by 20 points. 

That doesn’t just take a change in education policy, although having better teachers and smaller classrooms could help. Mostly, we need to understand better how nutrition and other environmental factors affect our brains. If you don’t eat the right things, or if you are exposed to things like lead poisoning, you are already behind the curve. We need to be smarter about making the American people smarter.

We can’t have a functioning democracy if we are a nation of dolts. 

And while we are at it, our political system needs refurbishing. 

Campaign finance reform is essential. We live in an oligarchy — less than 1,000 people really decide election results, based on their huge checkbooks. Unfortunately, the response of most Americans is not anger but ennui. 

This has to change. Democracy run by the few is not democracy.

America must move beyond tribalism. We don’t live in a black/white world anymore. Jim Crow is done. 

So, we have to start acting like it. 

We have to end affirmative action based on race, because racial distinctions are meaningless. There are simply too many variations these days. 

Instead, we should focus exclusively on class. 

If your parents didn’t go to college and you want to, your tuition should be free, no matter what your ethnic makeup. How’s that for an opening bid?

The Census should be simplified to this simple question: Are you an American citizen? 

If the answer is yes, then we want you to vote for the Grand Old Party, no matter what your color, sexual preference, religious beliefs or economic background. 

And if the answer is no, we want you to learn to become an American as soon as possible, so you too can have a chance to pursue happiness and achieve your dreams in the best country in the world. 

A modernized Republican Party can modernize America. And it can win presidential elections, too. 

Feehery is president of QGA Public Affairs and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip, and as speechwriter to former Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).