It's hard not to look around and feel a great sense of optimism as well as a great sense of dread. These conflicting feelings are born from the line we've reached where we can either regress into government control of our lives or progress into more freedom and prosperity.
But those are the obvious reasons for the duality. There are other things that roll around in the back of my mind as I watch the goings on in the national arena.
For instance, my optimism rings because I see conservative candidates like Ryan Frazier and incumbents like Joe Wilson. But it sours when I think of the "Contract with America" that was born of this same state of flux under the Clinton administration only to have them leave their conservative credentials (mostly) at the door and then finally being "fired" by angry conservatives in 2006 giving the congress back to the Democrats.
I return to feeling like the future is bright when I see 2 million people marching on Washington. But it's tempered by the media coverage who always manage to find that one whacko who thinks that a secret Muslim cabal is running the United States from a base in Antarctica.
I continue to feel down as I watch how our side of the aisle is covered in the media but am mildly comforted by the knowledge that that monopoly is over and more people are watching the "new" media and using the blogosphere.
I hear people around me using their voices for the very first time to express condemnation of this President's policies, but my enthusiasm runs dry when I remember my own failures such as my Conservative Pledge from earlier this year that was pushed to the wayside as the realities of self employment and fatherhood took precedent and my free time was spent being lazy while cheering on my brother and others who took to the streets, as though that was enough to keep my pledge.
I so want to be an activist. Not the left's version of activism which is normally a crowd of people making ridiculous demands and pontificating absurd concepts and ideas.
Activism that leads to real change. I'm at my wits end with our government.
- Our legislators have been led to believe that their job is to legislate every day, so they create as many laws as possible.
- Our Judges have been educated with the understanding that the bench is the birth of policy.
- Our President has grown up with mentors that made him believe it was the role of the President to "spread the wealth".
What will change these people? Is it an opposition party? Sometimes I wonder. Since the Democrats took over the Congress in 2006 and then the Executive as well in 2008, the Republicans have still been weak.
They still are acting as though there should be compromise on these issues. There are many I grant, that are not wavering in their conservatism or at least their Right leaning tendencies. But there are still alot of Rino's out there.
But do these problems mean that an opposition party ISN'T the answer? That our only hope is to just scream in the streets all the time and hope that the politicians will at least do something resembling what we ask so they can stay in office? That we can't hope for lower taxes, only for taxes to not be raised as high as some want? That we can't get rid of global warming alarmists, only hope we can limit the damage they cause to our economy? We can't actually get Schools to not need ever more money every single year but rather just try to get a handful of people to escape via vouchers? We can't actually do what's necessary to fight wars and battle terrorism but instead must settle for the best compromise? Is this the best we can do?
I think not. An opposition party IS the answer, but has to be created, monitored and managed by the people. We of the online conservative community are part of the problem. I know I am. As active as we are, we aren't always active in a way that will produce a party that actually represents it's members. To me it boils down to three things:
- Donations to our candidates AND our bloggers.
- Primaries, national AND local.
- Involvement in local politics.
Donations - The left has just creamed us on this one at least as it relates to the blogosphere. Kos, Aravosis and others on the left are making dough spouting socialism. Hell, Dailykos has paid writers for pete's sake! Conservative blogging isn't built that way. We don't seem to have the network of rich people willing to pony up the dough to finance bloggers so they can create enough buzz to create huge memberships like Kos has. Most of the front page contributors that I see on here are super active, but imagine how active they could be if they were ALL full time? It's up to us to keep these guys afloat. But also our candidates who can only survive with cash. And I'm not talking about incumbents here. We're always throwing money at incumbents, but what about the primaries?
Primaries - Support the conservative in the primaries BEFORE you know if his campaign is going to go anywhere. Maybe we're the reason it's not going anywhere? If there isn't that much information on him, then work with the redstate community to try get a phone interview or do some investigating. These guys conservative credentials have got to be vetted. We can't just keep waiting to find out who our candidate is going to be. We have to pick him and we have to get people who vote in elections but not primaries to pick him too. And incumbents have to know that in the primaries they could lose our support if they don't stand for what they campaigned on anymore.
Local Politics - But this can't just be a national thing. Barrack Obama as we all know was a State Senator first and a lot of national candidates come from the "minors". So let's make sure that the guy who's raising money for his campaign while making contacts as a state representative is somebody we believe in. And we have to stay involved so we find the right people. Organizing activist groups etc.
SO. That's my three point thought process for how to enact change, but it involves something that I started this post admitting I fall short on. Am I un-lazy enough? I guess that remains to be seen. But today I voted in my local primary for a local conservative as my State Representative, I provided financial support to a blogger and I wrote a call to arms blog at my favorite political networking site.
At the risk of sounding arrogant or self-righteous....what did you do?