Conservatives are often painted as the out-of-touch meddlers in culture today. We boycott, we ban, we scold, we stand athwart history. We get laughed at by the left, but we fight anyway.
Hip, moderate, urbane folks tell us this is all wrong. Instead of criticizing culture, standing apart from it, and trying to reject its influences, we’re told we need to be in it, engage with it, and stand up for what we believe in from within.
Today’s politicized action by the US Patent and Trademark Office, canceling the trademark of the Washington Redskins, shows that actually, that restraint is what is all wrong. No matter how popular something is, no matter how much the general public at large is fine with it, concerted political activism can and will work.
The public at large was not rejecting the Washington Redskins. They’re a popular and successful NFL team. People buy their merchandise, people watch and go to their games, and people gladly buy video games featuring the team and its trademarks. That the Obama USPTO has taken action against the Redskins trademark anyway was the victory of an extreme left-wing fringe over the middle.
If the radical left can achieve this sort of concrete action against the property, gaining a major victory it’s been fighting for, then certainly conservatives, Christians, and Republicans (three groups with a lot of overlap) don’t have to fear the cultural mainstream while we fight for what we believe in.
I’m not trying to depict an equivalence here. Today’s USPTO decision is a fringe thing. Mainstream conservative and Christian values, like marriage, life, and modesty, are things that a lot more people believe in, than this weird objection to an NFL team name. We should never be cowed from fighting for those.
No more truces. No more being shamed out of standing up for what we believe in. We fight, because we can only win if we fight.
Photo by Keith Allison on flickr.