People begin to change only when the pain of what they are doing becomes more painful than the pain of change.
The election last week was painful -- at least for me, a lifetime conservative.
It was an election that, based on history (bad economy and an incumbent president), conservatives could have won -- should have won.
But conservatives didn't.
It's time to change.
It's time to renovate the Republican Party.
If you have ever gone through a home renovation, you know how dusty, dirty, slow and frustrating it can be. The process is long, arduous and exhausting.
The beginning is envisioning what the remodeled area should look and feel like. To do this properly, one must think about who is going to live in the space and how they are going to use it. A kitchen designed for a retired couple whose children no longer live with them would be different than a kitchen for a young family with three toddlers, or for a bachelor. Is this a kitchen for a cook, or a kitchen for someone who prefers takeout?
We have lived in our home for more than a decade and began thinking about renovating the kitchen even before we moved in. Just this year we began the process in earnest.
During months of clipping photos, visiting showrooms and searching online, our vision for what we wanted in our kitchen became more and more clear.
We wanted to create a family-friendly place for our two children, with plenty of storage for drinks and snacks for them and their friends. We envisioned a space that would include a raised bar for breakfast, a table for family dinners and bright colors for cheer.
We had drawings made, we moved the layout around on paper, and we picked out appliances, cabinets and flooring materials.
Often, we began going down one route (bar the same height as the countertop), only to change later (raised bar).
The process has not been easy (dust everywhere, eating out of a temporary kitchen in the basement), and it's not over, but we have no doubt that, in the end, it will be worth the time, money and effort.
The same is true of the renovation of the Republican Party.
What might a newly renovated Republican Party look like? A group that opens its arms to all Americans and is represented throughout all 50 states by a variety of people. A party that focuses on inclusion rather than outreach, a party that creates a welcoming space.
A party that communicates with feeling as well as facts.
A party that cares about people first and politics second.
We have to spend some time envisioning what should be, what could be.
To become the majority party that it could be, the Republican Party must go through renovation.
The hard part about politics is that it includes people. The best part about politics is that it includes people. It's tempting to focus on the theoretical, policy and intellectual sides of politics, but the integration of ideas and interaction between people is where the real work gets done.
In the end, it's not about political theory; it's about whom we can work with to implement political reality to make our country better.
It's no longer enough to be the party that Americans should agree with. Republicans could be the party Americans want to belong to, to be a part of.
This is going to require major renovation.
The renovation process can be tough. It's dusty, dirty, long and sometimes incredibly frustrating.
But it has to be done.