By Jay Kirell
I was scouring around the web this afternoon and came across something interesting. It’s the GOP’s political party platform from 1976. It’s fairly lengthy, but I managed to cull some interesting tidbits from it. Interesting, at least from the standpoint of comparing the party platform of today 37 years ago:
1. Government must assure equal opportunity. And government must be compassionate in caring for those citizens who are unable to care for themselves.
2. Those concerns of a national character—such as air and water pollution that do not respect state boundaries or the national transportation system or efforts to safeguard your civil liberties—must, of course, be handled on the national level.
3. Government must work for the goal of justice and the elimination of unfair practices.
4. The beauty of our land is our legacy to our children. It must be protected by us so that they can pass it on intact to their children.
5. The American economy is traditionally dependent upon fair competition in the marketplace. To assure fair competition, antitrust laws must treat all segments of the economy equally. Vigorous and equitable enforcement of antitrust laws heightens competition and enables consumers to obtain the lowest possible price in the marketplace.
6. We are intensely aware of the need to protect our environment and provide safe working conditions in American industry, while at the same time preventing the loss of jobs and the closing of small businesses through unrealistic or over-rigorous government regulations. We support a balanced approach that considers the requirements of a growing economy and provides jobs for American workers.
7. While we oppose a uniform national primary, we encourage the concept of regional presidential primaries, which would group those states which voluntarily agree to have presidential primaries in a geographical area on a common date.
8. We encourage full participation in our electoral process. We further recognize the sanctity and value of the ballot.
9. Repeal of legislation which permits automatic increases in the salaries of Members of Congress, congressional staffs, and official expense allowances.
10. Elimination of proxy voting which allows Members to record votes in Committee without being present for the actual deliberations or vote on a measure.
11. Full public disclosure of financial interests by Members and divestiture of those interests which present conflicts of interest.
12. Improved lobby disclosure legislation so that the people will know how much money is being spent to influence public officials.
13. Sure and swift justice demands additional judges, United States Attorneys and other court workers.
14. States should recognize that antiquated and overcrowded prisons are not conducive to rehabilitation. A high priority of prison reform should be to help the young first-time offender. There should be adequate separation of young from adult offenders, more relevant prison industries, better counseling community-based alternatives and more help in getting a job for the offender who has served his or her time.
15. The world community should take appropriate action to deal with terrorist organizations.
16. We are alarmed by Washington’s growing collection of information. The number of federal data banks is now estimated at between 800 and 900 and more than 50 agencies are involved. We question the need for all these computers to be storing the records of our lives. Safeguards must protect us against this information being misused or disclosed.
17. Unless steps are taken immediately, soaring prices will restrict a college education to the rich and those poor enough to qualify now for government aid. Federal higher education policy should continue to focus on financial aid for needy individuals, but because the financial ability to go to college is fast slipping out of the grasp of middle income families, more realistic eligibility guidelines for student aid are essential.
18. Diversity in education has great value. Public schools and non-public schools should share in education funds on a constitutionally acceptable basis. Private colleges and universities should be assisted to maintain healthy competition and to enrich diversity. The cost of expanding public campuses can be kept down if existing private institutions are helped to accommodate our student population.
19. Every American should have access to quality health care at an affordable price.
20. The possibility of an extended illness in a family is a frightening prospect, but, if it does happen, a person should at least be protected from having it wipe out lifetime savings. Catastrophic expenses incurred from major illnesses and accidents affect only a small percentage of Americans each year, but for those people, the financial burden can be devastating. We support extension of catastrophic illness protection to all who cannot obtain it. We should utilize our private health insurance system to assure adequate protection for those who do not have it. Such an approach will eliminate the red tape and high bureaucratic costs inevitable in a comprehensive national program.
21. The most effective, efficient and economical method to improve health care and extend its availability to all is to build on the present health delivery and insurance system.
22. We need a comprehensive and equitable approach to the subject of mental health. Such a program should focus on the prevention, treatment and care of mental illness. It should cover all aspects of the interrelationships between emotional illness and other developmental disabilities that seek to remove us from the dark ages in these areas.
23. Every child should have enough to eat. Good nutrition is a prerequisite of a healthy life. We must focus our resources on feeding needy children. Other federal programs should insure that low-income people will be able to purchase a nutritionally adequate food supply.
24. We reiterate the pledges elsewhere in this platform of support for child care assistance, part-time and flexible-time work that enables men and women to combine employment and family responsibilities, estate tax reform, small business assistance for women, rape prevention and elimination of discriminatory housing practices.
25. Hispanic-Americans must not be treated as second-class citizens in schools, employment or any other aspect of life just because English is not their first language.
26. Free collective bargaining remains the best way to insure that American workers receive a fair price for their labors.
27. Among the rights that are the entitlement of every American worker is the right to join a union — large, small or independent.
28. In every society there will be some who cannot work, often through no fault of their own. The measure of a country’s compassion is how it treats the least fortunate.
29. Effectively helping our cities now requires a coordinated National Urban Policy.
30. Research must be continued to find safe, more fuel-efficient automobile engines and airplanes; safer, faster rail service; and more convenient, less expensive urban transportation.
31. We believe that it is a national responsibility to support scientific and technological research and development to identify environmental problems and arrive at solutions.
32. We still have a wealth of resources, but they are not of infinite quantity. We must recognize that our material blessings stem from what we grow in the soil, take from the sea, or extract from the ground. We have a responsibility to future generations to conserve our non-renew-able natural resources. Consistent with our needs, conservation should remain our national policy.
33. The arts and humanities offer an opportunity for every American to become a participant in activities that add fullness, expression, challenge and joy to our daily lives.
34. We favor continued federal assistance to public broadcasting which provides us with 6creative educational and cultural alternatives. consider the preservation of the rich cultural heritages of our various ethnic groups as a priority goal.
35. A strong and effective program of global public diplomacy is a vital component of United States foreign policy.
Now, imagine a 2016 GOP platform having those on them and you can see how far the party has moved to the right in nearly 40 years.