I write this piece on the eve of Cameron Smyth returning to the world of public service. To refresh, still in his twenties, Smyth was the youngest City Council member in the young city of Santa Clarita, California when he was elected to the City Hall in 2000. He spent six years in City Hall while taking his turns as mayor of his toddler incorporated city, helping define and maintain Santa Clarita as it experienced exhilarating growth as the fastest growing city in Los Angeles County.
Then when the terms of California Assemblyperson Keith Richman expired, Smyth successfully was elected to the assembly seat. That was ten years ago, and it also marked the year that my first “Sharp View” appeared in the Beacon. It was an op- ed piece that predicted in October of 2006 that Smyth’s serious working style would be extremely successful on a state-wide level.
And so he was extremely successful. In just within a couple of years, he became the second most powerful Republican member of the State Assembly in taking the chair of the Republican caucus. Plus he attained a reputation for using his office not to collect perks and power for him, but to help other people.
So for example his efforts in one year earned him the honor of being named he was named legislator of the year by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. He was even named legislator of the year by the Humane Society for his legislative work to give tax incentives to people who adopt animals from shelters.
Of course, historically this kind of political expression has not really been unusual among serious Republicans who represent our free enterprise culture. These serious Republicans recognize that decency is an intrinsic ingredient of capital success, because traditionally Americans have preferred to do business with good people rather than with any other kinds of people.
But today it looks like that ideal of the Good has been assaulted in the Republican Party. There is a dark new music now adding to the Republican polyphony, and this music is a pure counterpoint to the traditional Republican tune of the Golden Rule, that Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them unto you.
In fact, this new strain in the Republican Party has instead of a Golden Rule been called a wave. Perhaps that is one of the most forbidding features of this movement that it is called a wave; because that kind of wave is known to do nothing better than cause destruction to whatever is in its way.
Also, the people who are constituting this movement – this wave – are a new kind of Republican, Not all of them are Republicans, but have become part of the movement under the old Republican banner.
They are not bad people. They are hard-working and self-sustaining, But like the water in a wave, they are a turbulent people. The turbulence has set in from the irresistible force of their self-drive meeting the immoveable object of an inert American community. They feel they have done all the things they thought they had to do to improve themselves. They have read the Napoleon Hill books. They have done things other people don’t want to do, (as Napoleon Hill has told them), and yet they are still not making headway in their lives as they had been told they would do if they worked hard and lived right.
There were years when if an American worked hard and lived right, the American would be rewarded. But we are not living in those years.
Yet this crowd has helped send Republicans upon Republicans to office to try to free them from the status quo they are in. But nothing has happened. Republican representatives are only human, after all. So now – and this should be understood –this crowd demands something more than just a human to lead them out of what they see as their inhuman inertia.
They would rather have something like a Greek God to lead them out. Some cranky and ruthless God like old Poseidon to change the entire environment by force and free them out of their swamp water. But powerful Greek Gods are not around, so they have settled on something on the way to being a Greek God – an extremely cranky New Yorker who claims to have ten billion dollars in assets and in owning American properties.
And in fact, this particular Greek god surrogate they have chosen is much like the cranky old Poseidon who caused so many self-serving problems in Homer’s The Odyssey. That was the Greek God who owned the ocean and the waves.
Now Cameron Smyth comes back into Republican politics at a time the party has been split into two by this violent wave. The older “kinder and gentler” Republican party that had been championed by the Bushes that has now been divided into two factions. And now the Bush faction isn’t even going to attend the Republican convention – that’s how far the distance has traveled between traditional conservative Republicans and the Trump wave. This looks like it will be the first Republican Convention in history where even the Republican prior presidents are boycotting it.
But as Cameron Smyth re-enters the political area in this political season, there should still be a place under a big Republican tent for the kind of “compassionate conservative” defined by President George W. Bush in a phrase that also defined both President Bushes, and has defined over the years a public servant such as Cameron Smyth.
Because a mature California voter today wants a public servant who respects and protects him or her, and who also will protect and respect other good Americans, like that neighbor who is physically handicapped, or the one who is a cancer survivor, or the people who do not own a private jet that looks like the Hindenburg with wings.
Chris Sharp- Commentary
Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.