It was 1976, and the Republican National Convention had just voted for four more years -- of Gerald Ford.
Surely many conservatives there could foresee that Ford would not beat Jimmy Carter, setting the stage for the latter's one term of misery indexes and malaise. Surely they were disappointed that the GOP had rejected their candidate, Ronald Reagan. And yet as the convention wound to its end, there was Reagan standing next to Ford on the podium, full of optimism and hope knowing that, come what may, in American politics, there is always will be another election.
Fast forward 33 years, and Republicans have lost again. Now they have a chance to react as Reagan did -- patriotically and without compromising their principles. Instead, some in Texas (and elsewhere) are proposing seceding from the union, and some Republicans are expressing sympathy.
I'm sure Reagan would be shocked and saddened to hear this sentiment. I'm not sure what he would say, though I figure he would be as nice as he could. But I'm not Ronald Reagan, and I do have a simple word to describe these people. Traitors.
To those Texans and others who are talking about seceding -- we're not giving you our land. It's for Americans.
To Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Rep. Tom Delay, who have spoken sympathetically of this viewpoint, where do your loyalties lay?
To actor Chuck Norris, who is openly discussing turning his back on a country that has made him a multimillionaire and a household name -- if you continue talking this way, you're a traitor.
To would-be secessionists, I have another word: Go. I want you to be happy, and don't let the door hit you in the backside as you leave.
Pretty much every piece of the world's habitable real estate has been claimed, so although you would like to form your own country, you'll probably have to find an existing one that is more to your liking. May I suggest a relatively short trek across the Texas border into Mexico? Along the way, you'll probably pass a few of the millions of people worldwide who are trying desperately to come to America because of its freedoms and opportunities.
I'm reminded of those liberals who hated George Bush so much that they threatened to leave the United States. because of his election and re- election. Most decided to stay. Some did go, and I'm glad they did. Perhaps they're happier, and I know the United States is a better country because they are gone. It's a win-win.
The president of the United States is Barack Obama. Although not my choice, he was elected democratically, and I do like democracy very much. Instead of threatening to leave if I don't get my way, I'm going to do what Reagan would have done. I'm going to respect the people's will and then stand up for my party's principles: less government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, traditional values, and, last but not least, love of country. If Republicans will do that, before long, we will win again.
Until then, I'm not leaving.
Noelle Nikpour, a Republican strategist and fundraiser, regularly appears on Fox News, The Strategy Room and various political talk shows. Her website is http://www.noelle-nikpour.com/Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times