Family unity — working together.
Last Sunday, I spoke at Temple Beth El on the future of the Republican Party. As would be customary for any Jewish parent, my own mother asked me the best question of all: What do you recommend families divided from this election do on Thanksgiving? My answer was simple: Come together and be thankful.
People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. In an election like the one that just took place, there was one winner — but the American people are hurting and that was made clear. Both parties were sent a direct message this election, a message that will require each of them to change if they hope to stay relevant.
Our family units represent a perfect analogy to the current state of our politics and the future of not only the Republican Party, but also politics in general. Like a family, if either party wants to thrive, both individually and collectively, it is the strength of all its members working together that will secure its success.
I am blessed to see how this works firsthand, not just in my various roles within the Republican Party, but every day on both personal and professional levels. I am fortunate to be a third-generation co-owner of my family business, Vesco Oil Company, alongside my sister, Lilly Stotland, and our parents, Marjory and Donald Epstein.
We each have unique qualities that enhance not just our family unit personally, but our company professionally as well as we work together to grow our business. Most importantly, we support one another each day.
For example, as I embarked on a summer of campaigning for the GOP, it was my sister and parents, all liberals and independents, who encouraged and supported me to champion my convictions. I am better — we are better — because of our unwavering support for each other.
Similarly, the Republican Party needs to spend the next four years trying to figure out how to effectively be a productive family. We don’t have to agree with one another all the time, but we need to have open minds and a willingness to support each other despite our disagreements.
President-elect Trump has shown tremendous leadership so far in this concept, committed to assembling a team of rivals to better not just the Republican family, but the American family of which we are all a part as well.
In fact, he met with Gov. Mitt Romney, one of his most vocal critics during the campaign season, and yet was considered for one of the most important positions in the new administration’s cabinet, Secretary of State. The message is undeniable: It’s time to unite.
As younger generations constitute a bigger proportion of voters, the demands of the electorate continue to change and so, too, should both political parties that look to capture their support.
When looking at the exit polling, Trump did better with racial minorities and women than Romney in 2012 — a fact that is often overlooked in the mainstream media. The GOP’s future potential will be subject to Republicans’ willingness to embrace Trump’s populism while at the same time stripping out the baggage of some supporters, conveying that this new movement for change is not just for older white men, but for all Americans, the entire family.
My success, personally and professionally, is founded in the constant love and support I receive from my family. It is often forgotten, not just in the media, but in Washington, too, that the founding principles of our party 162 years ago were first and foremost a powerful stance of love and support for all people — for equality — the party was a champion against the oppressive institution of slavery.
Lincoln’s party, the Republican Party, was not just founded on tolerance, but on the idea of truly embodying, ironically as it may sound to some Clinton supporters, the idea that we as a people, as a country, as a family are “stronger together.” United we stand. *
Lena Epstein was the state co-chair for the Donald Trump presidential campaign in Michigan.