From the diaries.
It should be no secret to anyone who reads my columns in The American Spectator or my posts here that not only do I strongly believe that America is in crisis but that the values espoused by the conservative movement are being trampled to dust, which is such a gentle term for the reality of what is actually taking place. Why this is happening is open to some debate and there isn’t one cause to be sure. However, it is indisputable that the left has long had better grassroots organization and has approached the pursuit of their damaging statist agenda relentlessly. After all, if you believe that government exists to provide to the masses, then you’re going to encourage its expansion for your own benefit.
Americans need to realize that we are up against a group of agitators that have very well-funded and, consequently, very large platforms for driving the political debate and writing the rules to their liking. Among those involved in a constant fight against conservative values, and often American values are the media, Hollywood, public employee unions, and progressive groups backed by leftist billionaires.
It leads one to wonder, “Where is our full-time army?” Sure tea partiers and the conservative grassroots certainly made their voices heard in the 2010 elections. They took to the streets to not only rally, but to get involved in the process, actively supporting and promoting candidates who advocated systemic change in government.
But unlike the progressive forces, armies for our cause – the foot soldiers for conservativism – did post-2010 what they usually do after a big win. Weary from the fight and gratified by their accomplishments, they disengaged from the day to day fight against statism and left the battlefield to be overrun by their opposition.
We see this trend all around us in the decline of the Republican Party establishment from coast to coast whose aging and dwindling committee members often lack the energy to run vibrant grassroots campaigns at the local level. We see it in the local Rotary Club luncheon where large percentages of active members have long-ago retired or closed up their businesses. We see it in pillars of our American communities like service organizations, business associations and religious groups that today are crumbling along with our bridges, dams and tunnels.
Those institutions are victims of widespread apathy among younger generations who either don’t see the value in them, or can no longer afford to take time to participate in their good work, thus providing openings for pro-government forces to tighten their grip on our nation’s communities.
So charities fail? So what? Government will provide the same services. So religious institutions suffer? So what? Government will run the soup kitchens and be the source of solace for those in need. Who really wants our children to get a parochial education when the taxpayer is paying through the nose to support the teachers’ union? That attitude spells the end of the America we love, and quite frankly, crushes the essence of the American spirit. Government can’t truly minister to the deepest needs of the human being, no more than an educational system focused on benefiting the unions can actually give our children a vibrant future.
When Americans who share our conservative values are content to work hard for an election cycle, then pat themselves on the back and leave the fight to the Washington think tanks and television talking heads, they have in effect surrendered to the advancing left. The conservative movement, if there truly is one, is playing tiddlywinks on the sidelines while the left plays smash mouth football. That’s why despite this being a center right country for decades, over taxation, runaway spending, ballooning debt and the decay of the American family have continued year after year.
We need to learn this lesson now. Often times conservatives think themselves above the fray or too polite to argue, or so convinced they are right that the logic of the argument is apparent to everyone. Conservatives are more likely to agree with the old ridiculous axiom that you never discuss politics and religion. Like the tea party members who got engaged in 2009 and 2010, everyone who appreciates “Americanism” – our core values of freedom, limited government, free enterprise, individual liberty, the “can do” entrepreneurial spirit – have to make sounding the alarm about the need for these principles a part of their daily lives.
This isn’t about Republicanism, or Democratism. It’s about common “sensism.” America needs everyday Americans, who believe in American values to adopt a strategy of continuous engagement on local, state and national issues. It can be as simple as talking to your children, colleagues, friends and neighbors around your dining room table about America, its greatness, and its challenges. It’s about acknowledging the magnificent role America has played and can continue to play in world history. It could be about joining existing political or civic organizations and not being ashamed to let people know where you stand on protecting America.
It’s time to boycott networks that run programming that show disregard for our values and disrespect those who have the courage to speak truth to power. It’s time to boycott companies that support the progressive, statist agenda. It’s time un-American, unabashed leftists and phony Republicans are called on the carpet for their damaging politics. All of those things are a part of making activism part of our lives and keeping America free.
Then comes real engagement in the process by getting involved in the local political committees and campaigns. That’s when real people take back control of the process from the establishment forces, the Ruling Class, that have blurred the lines between the parties and brought Americanism to the brink of the abyss.
The tea party showed us it was possible, but in all struggles, there is no resting on our laurels. We’ve ceded too much ground for too long to hope someone else will save America. It will come down to you and to me. Some say America is in decline and that we must gracefully manage it. Charles Krauthammer once wrote that decline is a choice. Our answer must be this: we choose not to decline; we choose to be great.
Every reality begins with a dream, and so greatness begins with a vision. We must lift up our eyes and see not what is, but what can be: a golden age for America where government is in its proper role, where the entrepreneurial spirit is unleashed again, where we have the greatest freedom within the bounds of ordered liberty. If we’re willing to let time go, put our hands to the plow and relentlessly pursue Americanism, this nation can be renewed and climb to even greater heights of freedom and prosperity in the 21st century.