For those of you not at the RedState Gathering this past weekend, I'd like to announce that I have been promoted to the front page here as a Contributing Editor. It is a blessing that I can join the great men and women (including fellow new front pager Breeanne Howe of the notorious Howe family) who post here. It's been almost six years since I joined--October of 2006 is when I created my account--and this site has been a large part of my political life ever since. It's hard for me to believe that, back when I stumbled upon this post in January of that year, it would eventually lead to me getting all the way up here. I wrote more about my journey to RedState here.
At the end of the 2011 RedState Gathering, I told myself that, by the time the 2012 Gathering rolled around, I'd be on the front page. It's taken a lot of hard work on my part and help from my friends (especially people like Aaron, Neil, Brian Simpson, and Erick), but I managed to make that little promise come true.
Again, it is a blessing to be here.
Just to give you a little background on who I am, I am currently a 23 year old graduate student and assistant at Georgia Southern University's Department of History. My particular field that I am specializing in, since I have to pick one (it's hard!), is American Indian history, particularly their service in the military. It's that interest in history that has fueled my interest in politics, because the decisions we make today will become a part of our history, and it can be so instructive to learn from the mistakes and successes of the past. I think there's no better way to sum my reasons for being involved here and elsewhere than to quote Ronald Reagan:
I will not stand by and watch this great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose. We have come together here because the American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust our nation's highest offices, and we stand united in our resolve to do something about it.
Every now and then, I find myself listening to that speech and thinking about just how relevant it is today. It's part of what motivates me to stay in the fight when my spirits get down, and it reminds me that there's always the chance things will get better.
I've never been a fast reader--I take too much time trying to read every single word--but I nevertheless enjoy reading. The bookshelf near my bed in my apartment contains works by Russell Kirk, Milton Friedman, Friedrich von Hayek, Barry Goldwater, Jean-Francois Revel (I'd add Frederic Bastiat, but I left my copy of The Law at my parents' house), and others. It would be nice to say that I've read all of those books, but school intervenes (along with a nice assist by my own laziness). Of late, I've been reading about Canada's 7th Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, a member of the Liberal party from back when liberals stood for liberty. He is an incredible orator, and his speeches articulate the case for individual liberty and federalism in such an impressive way. This is one of my favorite quotes from him:
I am a friend to liberty, but with me liberty does not mean license. A free people is not one without laws or checks; a free people is one among whom all the attributes, all the rights of the members of the State are clearly defined and determined and among whom there is no encroachment of one power upon another. That is the true liberty.
People like him, and in our country people like Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, are proof that you can make a career out of standing for the right things and be successful. Laurier was Prime Minister for 15 consecutive years--the longest unbroken term as PM in Canadian history--and his 45 years in Parliament are a record for longevity that stands to this day.
My own philosophical approach is something I may get into at another time, but I'd like to note that I call myself a conservative. Plain and simple. No modifiers like "social", "fiscal", or "Libertarian". The only thing I'd put first is "Christian", because my faith in God is the most important thing to me. I also reject attempts by those who want to water down or redefine conservatism in the name of bringing it "up to date" or something similar. To quote Barry Goldwater in his Foreword to The Conscience of a Conservative:
The ancient and tested truths that guided our Republic through its early days will do equally well for us. The challenge to Conservatives today is quite simply to demonstrate the bearing of a proven philosophy on the problems of our own time.
Before I conclude this, I'd like to give a little advice to the people out there who want to be contributors or prominent diarists (or good bloggers in general): I said it before in this post, but it took a lot of hard work . I think there's a real evolution in my writing abilities and the maturation of my thinking that can be observed just by seeing some of my blog posts from the beginning up until now. For a while, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to post as much as I have lately, but then I was told that it doesn't have to be a term paper. It just has to get the word out and get the facts right. It's been a bit of a shift having to go from academic mode to blogger mode and then back when necessary, but it's something I'm learning to make.
Additionally, it took a commitment to post. I wasn't always sure if I'd find something to say, so I went looking through places like Drudge, the National Review, my friends on Twitter, various media outlets, and other major conservative blogs. After a while, my "story sense" became more and more honed in on the things that might make a good post. When I found a story, I'd write up a quick post on it explaining, for example, why it got a detail wrong or what the broader implications for it were, and I'd make sure I had it ready to post in a timely manner. Nothing too long usually. Generally, I try to keep my "news" posts around 500 words, and no more than 750 if at all possible.
Of course, I wouldn't have gotten here without the advice given to me by my friends here. Going to the RedState Gatherings was indispensable in that respect. Through those Gatherings, I met people like Erick, Neil, Aaron, Caleb, Brian Simpson, Jeff Emanuel, Bill S, Moe, and so many others. Twitter has allowed me to keep in touch with them, as well, and it's because of my experiences at the first Gathering that I returned to Twitter. Along they way, they have helped advise on how to become a better blogger. They have been indispensable to my success here.
I'd like to thank God for the blessings He has given me. I'd like to thank the Contributors who run this site for allowing me the chance to post on the front page. I hope you enjoy my posts as much as I enjoy having the opportunity to post here.
Thank you for your time, and may God bless all of you.
P.S. On a lighter note, it looks like Neil and I will be the resident anime fans here. Fortunately, it looks like I won't be so alone when it comes to talking about football--my other big nonserious pastime.