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Learning the Rules of the ‘Political Road’…  It is Not a Hard Choice
-by Scott Rohter, January 2012

There are always rules to follow in life, wherever you go or whatever you do.  In every aspect of life there are rules to follow, that determine how you can do something. Rules are supposed to make life better.  Some rules are more important than others, and some rules make a lot more sense than others, but there will always be rules in one form or another, as long as there are people.  They are designed to bring order out of chaos.  There is no getting away from rules.  The most important rule of all is the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  The correct translation of this Bible verse is, “Whatsoever you would that others do unto you, even so you do unto them likewise.”  It comes from the Old Testament exhortation to love God with all your heart and mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no greater rule than this!

But there are other rules that are important too.  Don’t murder!  Don’t steal!  Don’t lie!  These rules quickly come to mind.  Then there are other rules that don’t seem to make very much sense.  They are random and arbitrary, and could just as easily be one way as another.  For instance, there are rules of the road in the United States that tell motorists to drive on the right-hand side of the road.  But that rule could just as easily be reversed, and work just as well the other way instead, and in fact it is, and it does in certain countries.  Then there are still other rules that are designed to perpetuate an undesirable goal that can neither be condoned nor pardoned, and which seek to prolong an evil purpose that cannot be tolerated, such as the rules that sanctioned slavery in the past.  These rules were designed to keep black Americans down.  There were even other rules that kept women from voting!  These kind of rules are designed to perpetuate an unacceptable goal: the advancement of one group or class of people over another, whether it was whites over blacks, or men over women.  They only existed to enforce an unfair advantage that one group had over another.  Mostly what rules do is they provide some order to our world, whether it is on our streets, or in our daily lives.  They provide order out of chaos.  But when they serve to support an existing order which is no longer tolerable, then those rules need to be changed.  For instance, consider this sentence from the Declaration of Independence.  “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”  In other words, to change the rules! Our Founding Fathers knew that governments tend to become corrupt and oppressive over time.

Recently, I have been reminded of the ‘Reagan Rule’.  This is the so-called 11th commandment which says, ‘Don’t speak ill of another Republican’.  I have written an article on my website called, To Tell the Truth - Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up.  There’s a link in that story to another website called  I am not responsible for the content on that other website.  Someone else created that website, and arranged Mitt Romney’s own words there so as to be easily accessible by others.  Beyond that, the person who is actually responsible for all of the content on that other website is the candidate who actually spoke those words, Mitt Romney!  So just for the record, I don’t see how pointing out a candidate’s own words over the years, or arranging them in an easy to follow format for everyone else to read, somehow violates the ‘Reagan Rule’.

Furthermore, there are other rules that are more important than the rule named after our 40th President.  It is said that, “By your words and deeds, you shall be known!”  But how can that ever happen if someone isn’t willing to point them out?  The idea of knowing someone by their words and deeds comes from one of the recurring parables of the New Testament.  The relevant part of that parable is that, “A tree is known by its fruit.”  (See Matt 12.33, Matt 7.15-20.)  But a tree can’t be known by its fruit, if you can’t see the fruit!  John Milton wrote in the 17th century, “Give me the liberty to know and to speak, and to debate freely according to my conscience above all [other] liberties.”  Is there some reason why Republicans can’t shine the light of truth on our own candidates during the Primary, and vet them so that we wind up with the best possible candidates in the general election?  Must we all just shut up and follow like dumb sheep to the slaughter?  What Republicans think that we should just be silent and follow the leader?  Stand up and identify yourselves!  I’d like to know who you are.

If Ronald Reagan were alive today, I’m sure he would be flattered by all of the admiration, and because Republicans still hold him in such high regard, but I’m sure that he would also be the first to admit that the rule named after him should take a back seat to the Bible, and to the words of Our Lord, and if I’m not mistaken, to the writing of John Milton too!

My website,, was attacked by muckity mucks in the Oregon GOP from the moment that I first began to take positions on our Republican candidates in the Primary.  If no one is willing to point out the truth about some of our candidates, then how will other Republicans know who is the best candidate to vote for?  Are we just supposed to all fall into line and do whatever we’re told, or should we take our cues from the liberal press who is more than happy to criticize even our finest candidates?  I’d rather learn the hard truth about some of our less than desirable candidates from a fellow Republican!  Wouldn’t you?  At least then I’d know that there wouldn’t be any ulterior motives.  So on the one hand, there is the ‘Reagan Rule’, which tells us not to speak ill of another Republican.  But on the other hand, there is the only rule necessary for evil to succeed, which is for good men and women to remain silent and do nothing!  All things considered, It is not a hard choice!

"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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