“America is freedom,” President Ronald Reagan said. “Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of enterprise.”
For many around the world, America continues to be a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom. Yet, our generation has been told that we will be the first in our nation’s history to be worse off than our parents. We, as Americans, must regain our faith in our future.
Some Americans, particularly the pundits, view the Republican Party as divided, out of touch and even extinct. We disagree.
This moment is an opportunity to humbly reflect and learn from our past to strengthen our party and move forward with a bold vision and solutions-oriented policy that creates a better future for our generation and for our children.
President Reagan’s quote reflects our cornerstone principles that have served us since the days of President Abraham Lincoln. The future of the Republican Party stands with the cause of freedom and the onward pursuit of a more perfect union.
Our American traditions include a commitment to free ideas, discussion and debate. We wish President Joe Biden success — as his success is our country’s success. Yet, as an opposition party we can respect the president, and disagree on important issues of policy. The demagoguery, shaming and identity politics that over the past decade became our debate norms must cease.Both parties must return to an era of civil discourse. This should be viewed as a strength — not weakness — and central to the vision of the Republican Party. Our party must listen, learn and lead.
The issues that confront us cross party lines and require big ideas. To be successful we must offer substantive solutions. Using celebrity, influencers, tweets and slacktivism is not leadership. We should debate ideas on the best way to restore growth and empower Americans with hope and prosperity.
In the near term, the political agenda must focus on ending the pandemic, restoring economic opportunity and placing a check on foreign nations like China, who are intent on undermining the United States and western civilization. While these issues require much discussion, we will let this new administration in these early days establish their finger print and, instead, we will focus on the longer term.
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First, let’s be clear. Racism, misogyny, xenophobia and anti-Semitism have absolutely zero room in the Republican Party. They never have and they never will. We must acknowledge this exists in America, and has been fanned by recent identity politics — but it is the responsibility of every American to work towards a culture of meritocracy, hard work and equality.
As the party of Lincoln, we believe everyone has a claim to human dignity. Everyone, regardless of their background, has the right to a future of freedom. The Republican Party is compassionate, patriotic and believes the American dream is alive and attainable. The Republican Party believe our solutions do not reside in government, rather in the potential of our people when entrusted with responsibility and freedom.
The idea of America is that anyone can win. We do not need the government to select winners and losers. The Republican Party must also stand firm on this belief and put forward solutions to solve the challenges of the 21st Century, including sound policy on education, which are centered around the student; healthcare, which are centered around the patient; environmental stewardship, which conserves our natural resources and empowers entrepreneurs to solve the challenges of climate change.
The agenda of a new generation of Republicans will further the American story. We seek to advance freedom, empower individuals, encourage hard work, defend civil liberties so that every American, regardless of background, has the potential for opportunity and prosperity. It is economic growth that allows people to rise up.
Contrast our vision with the new generation of Socialist Democrats, who see our country as flawed from the start. They seek to abandon the freedoms set out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Striking our past from the history books is believed to make us a better people. Their agenda is to reorganize and redistribute society. They place business and a market-based economy in the crosshairs and want to substitute it with expansive government that turns safety nets into spider webs that trap people into government dependency.
America may have some historical blemishes and certainly is not a perfect society. Yet the honorable pursuit of a more perfect union has led to a continual expansion of freedom and the greatest potential for opportunity of any nation. We remain a beacon of hope and freedom to people around the world, and the Republican Party must embrace those who flee tyranny, seek a better life and value the sacrifices on which our nation was built.
Once again we reach a time for choosing. Our generations destiny has yet to be written. May this year spark a movement of young Republicans around a bold vision and solution-based big ideas that will create the next chapter of America’s exceptional story.
Jeb Bush Jr. is managing partner for Finback Investment Partners, a Merchant bank, investing and managing investments across a number of public and privately held companies. Non Profits include; Barbara Bush Foundation, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, KIPP Miami. MacKay Jimeson is president of Ember Global Advisors, LLC, where he consults with life science and health-tech companies. He also advises the Florida Council of 100. Previously, Jimeson was an executive at Pfizer and was also an aide to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.