1976 Republican Platform: The American Family

Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation.

Families -- not government programs -- are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages are perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved.

If families fail in these vitally important tasks, there is little the government, no matter how well-intentioned, can do to remedy the results. Schools cannot educate children adequately if families are not supportive of the learning process. Law enforcement authorities are nearly helpless to curb juvenile delinquency without family cooperation in teaching young people respect for property and laws. Neither medicine nor school feeding programs can replace the family's ability to provide the basis for good health. Isolation from meaningful family contact makes it virtually impossible for the elderly to avoid loneliness or dependence. The values of hard work and responsibility start with the family.

As modern life brings changes in our society, it also puts stresses on families trying to adjust to new realities while maintaining cherished values. Economic uncertainty, unemployment, housing difficulties, women's and men's concerns with their changing and often conflicting roles, high divorce rates, threatened neighborhoods and schools, and public scandal all create a hostile atmosphere that erodes family structures and family values. Thus it is imperative that our government's programs, actions, officials and social welfare institutions never be allowed to jeopardize the family. We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them.

Because of our concern for family values, we affirm our beliefs, stated elsewhere in this Platform, in many elements that will make our country a more hospitable environment for family life -- neighborhood schools; educational systems that include and are responsive to parents' concerns; estate tax changes to establish more realistic exemptions which will minimize disruption of already bereaved families; a position on abortion that values human life; a welfare policy to encourage rather than discourage families to stay together and seek economic independence; a tax system that assists rather than penalizes families with elderly members, children in day care or children in college; economic and employment policies that stop the shrinkage of our dollars and stimulate the creation of jobs so that families can plan for their economic security.

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