I remember that day in kindergarten when our teacher, Mrs. Helms, passed out the picture for us to color in. The four of us were really excited when she then placed a giant box of crayons in the middle of our table. That box represented unlimited opportunity to me, and I was going to take full advantage of it. The picture to color included a house with a big lawn, trees, a big sky with clouds and a car in the driveway. Her instructions were simply to have fun coloring the picture. I decided that I would make each brick in the house a different color and then I would make the lawn orange and the sky green. After all, she said have fun and I took her at her word. However, I couldn’t help but notice that Billy, the boy sitting next to me, had a very different take on the assignment. He seemed to feel that the world had to look only one way. He seemed to have trouble thinking outside the box despite the fact that there were so many cool colors within the box of crayons. On his picture the sky was blue, the grass and trees were green and the house was red brick. I also noticed that he took great pains to color within the lines and that all of the coloring was even and smooth. I sort of felt that the lines were only a suggestion and some things should look different in depth and consistency. Of course I didn’t use this term back then, but I liked to push the envelope, while Billy allowed himself to think and act only within the narrow confines of the envelope. So it is with the GOP. They are limited by their own narrow bandwidth.
On every issue that impacts our country the GOP refuses to allow for a broader bandwidth of solutions. Instead they are the party that stays within the lines and colors things only the way they have always been. Their vision is limited by their inability to look at the periphery. On immigration they declare, build a wall, refuse a path to citizenship and limit opportunities. On abortion they say, no way, no time, no exceptions. On gun control they state, no limits, no background checks. On climate change they believe that what G-d determines man can’t change. On education they demand local control, local standards, local values. On pay equity they profess that hard work produces rewards regardless of discriminatory policies. On voting rights they declare that those who really want to vote can, regardless of the barriers placed on them. On national security they advocate a policy of assertiveness, bombast, and military action.
The GOP lives in a world consisting of bandwidths that vary only by degree. They are either narrow, narrower or narrowest. They see things in simple blacks and whites and have difficulty dealing with grays. They don’t see the life as an adventure filled with opportunity. Rather, they view life as happy only when it is predictable, filled with consistency and lived within the rules. They have no difficulty with the great disparity between the haves and the have nots. They believe those that have deserve it and those who don’t have not worked hard enough. They tell themselves that they are charitable because they write checks once a year and take their families to serve up Christmas Dinner at the homeless shelter.
While there is no doubt that creativity and adventure requires a stable environment, it also requires an atmosphere of openness and encouragement. Creative solutions are what are required to address the many issues confronting our nation and the world. It requires an ever broadening bandwidth. It requires a willingness to risk and look beyond the safe confines of the familiar and the predictable. The GOP has proven itself to lack the bandwidth, the imagination, the courage and the willingness to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.