I was very different about how I approached politics many years ago. And that manifested itself in two basic desires keep myself informed about the big issues and share that information with others.
Surprisingly, this outlook culminated in about 2005 territory thinking that I was a political failure and almost completely got me out of the game entirely. The fact was that at that time while I was able to keep myself informed, I couldn't get others to even want to engage in political debate with me. Many had grown sick of talking about it. Others didn't want to budge. Other's still didn't care. I started to ask myself what was the point to spending much time keeping up with the news. I mean it wasn't really going to change my vote and it wasn't going to really impact whether or not I chose to volunteer. And apparently all that time spent reading the news wasn't allowing me to have really any impact on my fellow man.
So, one by one I stopped listening to Rush as much, stopped listening to talk radio in general as much, I watched Fox News less and less than before, I read political blogs less than before. I had moved to largely the bare minimum, just enough to keep me informed "enough". I thought I wasn't ever going to return.
A Change In Events
So there I was minding my own business. And like always political conversations get started by others. Most of which, I just kind of downplayed my end of things believing that I wasn't going to have much of an impact on things. But after doing that for a while, I finally "bit into" a few and actually earnestly participated. Something weird happened. One gentlemen in particular that in all intensive purposes was pretty progressive in nature switched sides(all though not completely). He switched to a libertarian(a serious improvement and started saying that he was planning on for the first time voting GOP. "Huh, maybe I shouldn't be completely out of the game, I thought."
Then, I started making a bunch of off the cuff predictions of how particular things were going to play out politically well in advance. Another strange thing happened, practically every single one of those predictions(a lot of which nobody was making) came true. And so I sat down and started thinking.
A Change In Thought
I started thinking maybe, I should be involved in politics, but I was just going about it the wrong way before. Maybe I should sit down and think about what would make me more effective.
A New Operative Is Born
First: I developed a ferocious appetite for the news nobody else is getting. I started scanning blogs, developing strategies for using News aggregators like Google news, started scanning through publications on Townhall.com, started searching and finding speeches of those not so much in the political limelight, and developed a thing for the "latest news from the political grapevine" on Fox. Anywhere and everywhere news that nobody else was getting I wanted it.
Second: I developed a ferocious desire to get the regular news faster, simpler, and more efficient. I wasn't ever going to be left bored listening or reading about something that wasn't, well, new to me. I have developed 3 staples of my efficient news(and always looking for better) Drudge Report, realclearpolitics, and the memeorandum river (http://www.memeorandum.com/river). While I still listen to Rush when I'm in my car for example, I choose instead to use his website and read the transcripts on things I find interesting or would like some opinion on. Anything to get the news faster, better, and more efficient.
Third: I developed an insatiable appetite for details on policy. What works, what doesn't, what moves us in the right direction of freedom. I delved into tax policy, bureaucracy policy(I coined it as the study of how to shrink bureaucracy with the least resistance), Health policy, pensions, social policy, trade policy, even environmental policy(to figure out how to counter this left wing assault). I read books, watched documentaries, and tried to learn from anybody that unique insight on any topic out there. Anything that would stack the knowledge deck against any would be liberal, progressive, or even moderate challenger.
Fourth: I started developing an appetite for reading and doing heavy thinking about the arts of persuasion, framing, discussion, argument, logic, etc. Anything that could make me more effective and better at getting a point across or moving some lefty in the direction I wanted.
Five: I started spending a lot of time thinking and reading about campaign theory, and theory a movements. What are creative ways to get you're message across and how to develop enthusiasm. What are the necessary conditions for which movements can occur.
The result of this change from someone that just got the news and spread the news to someone that learns and talks about ideas, solutions, information, etc. has been huge. When people used to see talking politics with me was an uncomfortable argument they now see it as interesting and stimulating. Instead of before when I always felt like I was beating my head against the wall, I increasingly feel more liberated, calmer, and happier in my political dealings.
Now I don't offer this story to you in any sense to draw attention to me or anything like that. This is a story for those that question whether all the time is worth it; whether they should give up because they aren't making the impact they sought out to make; if they are asking themselves what is the point? If any of those thoughts have entered into your head, I hope this story is an inspiration for you.