OPINION: Now Is The GOP Paying Attention As New Talks Begin?

Change, especially political change, is never easy.

Nor is it pretty, or fair or even reasonable, when personalities interject themselves into the mix, often over the basics of politics.

Take, for example, the sudden "howling into the wilderness," by five well-known Republicans in Arkansas, who desperately want the Grand Old Party, as they envision it, to turn away from the recently defeated former President's fire and brimstone type of politics into a sterner, yet more law-abiding principles -- such as following the rule of law.

These five, it seems, are not alone. And Arkansas is not immune to this grass-roots formation for change in the GOP.

Who are these upstarts: Arkansas names include state Sen. Jim Hendren of Sulphur Springs, who left the Republican Party in February, and former state Rep. Nate Bell, of Mena, who left the Republican Party back in 2015.

Add to that duo, former GOP Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter, former State Rep. David Meeks of Conway and former State Sen. Bruce Moloch of Magnolia, a very conservative Democrat, who was thrown out of the state Senate by a GOP candidate, who admitted on the campaign trail of his absolute Trump loyalty.

What are these five saying?

Well give it a look for yourself Mr. and Mrs. Voter. This call for American renewal can be found at https://www.acallforamericanrenewal.com/

Why, oh why, you may ask, are these former GOP Party high performers finally tired of the Republican Party?

Ask them and you will hear a very plain and simple reason.

They are simply tired of all the meanness and lies.

And so am I, and I think so are Americans across this nation on both sides of the political aisle.

There are Republican Party members who abhor and fear those who follow former President Donald Trump, still blindly calling out the elections as "rigged" or "stolen."

And there are those who detest the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol.

On the flip side, you have those in the Democratic Party who are tired of the nation's constant battles over issues that cloud the real intent of government and obscure the actions for freedoms afforded all under the Constitution.

Part of the document, signed by these five, simply states:

"We support reforms that make our system more accessible, transparent, and competitive, oppose the disenfranchisement of voters, and reject populism and illiberalism, whether of the right or the left," as stated in the section titled "Democracy."

So, what do these five from Arkansas, in joining others, find as "truth?"

"We recognize truth and reason as essential to a free and just society, and expect our leaders, citizens, and press to seek and promote them. We oppose the employment of fear-mongering, conspiracies, and falsehoods and instead support evidence-based policymaking and honest discourse."

And these five will tell you the biggest change, they hope, is right here at home as well, not just in Washington D.C.

"We want to see positive change in the Republican Party," Hendren said. "Right now, all the pressure is from the extremes."

But the Republican Party of Arkansas Chairwoman Jonelle Fulmer told the state's largest newspaper this past week, "the GOP's focus (in Arkansas) is on the 2022 elections."

She also said in a written statement to the newspaper there are "many voices in the Republican Party, and this is the time to join together to strengthen our Party, not divide ourselves."

Sadly, however, a voice close to home, that of Arkansas Republican National Committeeman Jonathan Barnett, gives me pause.

"There aren't many 'Never Trumpers' in the Natural State," Barnett told the newspaper. "For the most part, the Republican Party's pretty united," he added.

I, for one, felt there was always a little more compromise and an ability to listen and discern another and often opposing view by veteran GOP members in this state.

But maybe I am wrong.

Good luck to these five in turning the political tide of meanness back to reality and the black letter of the law, not lies perpetrated for political power.

--Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at maylon[email protected]. The opinions expressed are those of the author.