The United States, from Day One, was a project about principles and ideals.
The superpower that emerged and grew from the handful of colonists that began settling here was not the product of where those colonists happened to land, but of the ideals and principles in their heads and hearts, applied in how they lived their lives.
The Republican Party was founded in 1854 to address one great blot on the nation's founding legacy: the existence of slavery in a nation founded under the ideal of freedom under God.
Runaway slave and self-educated abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass said, "I am a Republican, a black, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress."
Douglass called Abraham Lincoln, America's first Republican president, "emphatically the black man's president."
When some 30 years ago I told the welfare officer not to bother showing up again at my home -- when I decided that my own future would be based on the values of Scripture, work and personal responsibility -- there was no doubt in my mind what party would become my political home.
The party of "freedom and progress," the party of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
But, as longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed, "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."
It 's no mystery why the Republican Party is having a hard time today. No matter how hard you squint and try to discern the values of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, or any values for that matter, in those now wielding the money and power at the top of the party, they've disappeared.
These establishment Republican leaders and operatives are not about ideals and values but business -- their own business.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office is that unemployment will "remain above 7.5 percent through next year. That would make 2014 the sixth consecutive year with a jobless rate that high, the longest stretch of such elevated unemployment in 70 years."
Yet the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 could not defeat the current occupant of the White House.
In the party that is supposed to be about freedom and personal responsibility, party operatives want to blame everyone else for their own failures.
Worse, they want to pin it on candidates who actually take seriously the traditional values of their party.
Karl Rove would like to weed out candidates like former Missouri congressman Todd Akin.
Akin, defeated by Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill in the Senate race in Missouri, was a six-term Republican congressman with a flawless conservative record.
For most of 2012, he was ahead of McCaskill in the polls. Then, in August, he expressed himself poorly in an interview about abortion. Despite his apologies and efforts to clarify himself, his own party abandoned him.
McCaskill ran ads, over and over, showing the Republican's own candidate Mitt Romney questioning Akin's qualifications. This race could have been saved. But the party elite wasted not a second to dump Akin because they were not comfortable with his conservative values to begin with.
We're living in a deeply troubled country today. Americans are looking for answers, not a political class feathering its own nest.
There are tens of millions of conservative American patriots who seek an opposition party to represent their conviction that America will not get back on the path to strength and prosperity without restoration of freedom, limited government, free markets and traditional values.
Today's big question is whether the Republican Party is going to be that opposition party. If not, it is not conservative values and convictions that will be abandoned. It will be the Republican Party.
(Star Parker is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education.)