back to Sugi's home page

Why I Quit the Republican Party

by Sugi Sorensen

Introduction: In April of 2000, I finally gave up and quit the Republican Party after being a Republican my entire adult life. This is a letter to my Congressman, the Honorable James E. Rogan, Republican from the 27th District of California explaining my rationale. Oh...and I became a registered Libertarian.

09 April 2000

Dear Congressman Rogan,

It is with great dismay and sadness that I am reporting to you that I cancelled my membership in the Republican Party today. I switched to the Libertarian party. Although I will likely still vote for you and George W. Bush in the November 2000 election given the specter of an Al Gore Presidency and Democratically-controlled Congress, I surmise this will be the last year I vote Republican.

I am relaying to you my reasons for giving up on the Republican Party in the hopes that somehow you and your colleagues can right a sinking ship. I am grateful to you for your representation of me in Congress thus far and wish you the best in the future. I am particularly proud of your integrity and behavior during the impeachment crisis. However, in spite of your stellar representation during that troubling time, I found that over the past few years your voting record continued to diverge from my views to the point that I felt that you and the Republican Party no longer best represented my values and principles. It's not so much that my values and interests changed as it is the GOP abandoned its principles.

I quit the Republican party because:

  1. For the sake of political expediency, you increasingly adopted liberal (i.e. statist) positions on tax reform, education, and increasing federalization, all in clear violation of your constitutional limitations.
  2. You abandoned many of the reforms espoused in 1994. In particular, you have abandoned real tax reform, significant reductions in Federal government spending, and curtailment of unnecessary and wasteful federal bureaucracies such as the Department of Energy and the Department of Education.
  3. The GOP is inconsistent in its ideology. On the one hand, the GOP supports (in general) individual economic freedom, yet at the same time it advocates the intervention of the state in regulating the social behavior of me and other citizens.
  4. Like the Democrats, you support increasing encroachment of the Federal government into matters with which you have no right and in fact are Constitutionally prohibited from entering. In each case, you justify this encroachment by bastardization of the Interstate Commerce Clause and in many cases with no justification at all. This is born out in the continual repeal of many new Federal laws by the courts. As another example, last September you wrote to me and justified your support of proposed further Federal legislation of firearms by stating:

    "I want to stress that I remain a fierce defender of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. No one should mistake me for a 'gun grabber.' However, I also believe that a few non-invasive measures designed to help cops and promote safety are not a threat to law-abiding gun owners."
    Yet the Congress clearly had no Constitutional authority to pass any law on these particular measures -- these were matters for the states to decide. The point was not that "a few non-invasive measures" should be accepted to "promote safety", it was that the Federal government had no business and no right to pass such legislation at all.
  5. You vow to restrain the growth of government yet you continually cave in on politically unpopular issues and increase the expanse of the Federal government year after year. Even given supposed budget surpluses, you support increases in spending for almost every Federal program on the books or proposed for the future. How could the GOP go from supporting reduction of the Department of Education in 1994 to current proposals to expand Federal spending on education by tens of billions of dollars?
  6. You either ignore or intentionally abandon Constitutional limitations at almost every turn. In particular, you have supported legislation that has weakened or ignored the First, Second, Ninth, and Tenth amendments.
  7. You have continually failed to pass legislation lowering taxes. Over the last week, I have analyzed your CBO numbers on the US Tax Burden and plotted them on my website:
    You can see that our tax system has become confiscatory in its levels, and amounts to lawful confiscation of wealth from those who make it, and transfer to those who don't. Frankly, I'm taxed out. I'm sick and tired of working harder, yet having more and more of my wages taxed. The top 5% of American families pay 50% of the individual income taxes. And the bottom half of Americans contribute only 6% of individual income taxes collected. A progressive tax system is one thing. This is tantamount to legal theft. Enough is enough.

While I realize you in particular have fought against many of these actions and in the name of political expediency had to compromise at certain points, I feel you have comprised too much. The party should stand up for its principles and not abandon them. If it feels that it does not have the popular support for a position, then it should stick to its principles and do its damndest to educate the public about the facts of the matter. Abandonment of the fight in the name of political expediency erodes the foundation of those you purport to represent.

If the GOP is ever to regain my allegiance and support, it will have to accept certain principles created by our Founding Fathers:

  • Accept that I as an individual citizen have the right to exercise sole dominion over my own life, as long as it doesn't interfere with the equal rights of others. The founding fathers sacrificed their property and their lives to escape the tyranny of one overreaching state government. They wanted to be left to their own industry and their own pursuit of happiness. They fought a war to win that liberty. And since then we've voluntarily given up many of those hard-fought liberties to the state in the name of protection. I want my liberties back.
  • Trust that I, as an individual citizen, am first and foremost responsible for my own life. Stop trying to protect me from my neighbors, from threats real and imagined. And stop trying to protect me from myself. You are authorized only to protect me from foreign threats. Lastly, stop making it more and more difficult for me to protect myself and my property.
  • Stop taking my money under the premise that you know better how to spend my money than I do. While I accept and am more than willing to pay my share of the cost for the government to carry out its Constitutional obligations, do not take my money and turn around and give it to someone else who is not willing to earn it through the fruits of his labor, or spend it on frivolous, unnecessary programs.
  • Accept that the Government doesn't have the answer to all of life's problems. Accept that there are no solutions to problems, only trade-offs. Present these trade-offs to us honestly and forthrightly. Stop creating false crises that can only be solved by further government intervention. Trust us citizens to solve our own problems. And tell those citizens who complain incessantly to stop whining and try to solve their own problems first.
  • Accept that the Federal Government is one of limited, enumerated powers and that all others are reserved for the state and for us citizens. Read the Tenth Amendment and abide by it. Stop trying to justify further encroachment on my rights under the false justification of regulating interstate commerce or protecting Federal agents or assets.
  • Accept that I possess these rights naturally, you do not grant them to me as you see fit. And also accept that you govern at my consent and the consent of the rest of the citizenry.
Thank you for your time, for your service, and my best to you in the upcoming election.

Sugi Sorensen
La Canada, CA 91011