After only three-and-a-half years, some of our fellow conservatives feel that the country should be completely transformed by now. Santorum’s campaign suspension and the reality of a Romney nomination have exacerbated many of these sentiments. Yesterday I received a few hundred emails and less than half, but still a sizable amount, talked of giving up, taking their ball, and going home.
We speak a lot of the Founding Fathers and their accomplishments but focus little on their fire and most importantly, dedication.
The Revolutionary War took over eight years.
The revolutionary movement which preceded the war began ten years prior.
The shoes of Revolutionary soldiers were worn through, if they had shoes, and their supplies were meager. This was during the winter, when men suffered through illness and freezing temperatures. Many died from the elements. Still, they persevered and eventually won America’s liberty. That wasn’t the end, however; as Thomas Jefferson said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and our resolve to fight for those freedoms was called upon multiple times afterward.
We have people today ready to give up after three-and-a-half years of comfortable protest and one general primary.
We have people today who think that a generation of apathy which led the Republican party to this point can be remedied in a few years’ time. For the past several generations, progressives have been laying the groundwork upon which to execute their current policies. We think we can counter this in four years? We’ve had moderates within the GOP slowly dragging the party to the left for decades, and many excused it because they had Rs by their names. We think we can solve this in one election cycle?
Part of the reason why the primary didn’t go our way is because of us.
If you wait until a primary to fight for inter-party principle you’re too late. If you wait for the general, you’re definitely too late. It’s during those quiet times, the valleys in between the peaks of elections when we should lay groundwork to act upon when we gear up for elections. We believe that we can change out the politicians and this will magically alter the hearts and minds of the populace who elect them. That’s the reason why Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee: people voted for him. Candidates reflect the electorate. It’s because of this that changing the political figurehead does little to change the political DNA of voters. It’s why a conservative Republican can’t get elected in Scott Brown’s MA district, for example. Conservatives campaign all wrong. You have to change the people first and then the politicians will change.
Campaigning for the hearts and minds of voters is legwork, and Republicans aren’t great at it. For too long conservatives have ignored the vehicles through which ideas are shared: arts and entertainment, media, and academia. We’re gaining ground on media, but a&e and academia are grounds that progressives claimed long ago. The impact of this is devastating on conservatism, yet we still have many among our ranks who think these are nonessential elements. Every single day you, or someone in your family, watches television, sees a movie, listens to music, sees a piece of art, is compelled through marketing. Every single day messages are fired at us oftentimes without us consciously noting it, and statistically they’re created by people hostile to our idea of freedom. The greatest mistake that we are making as a movement is to ignore this. We fight the symptom and not the cause. We try to destroy the bullets without taking out the gun that fired them.
I say all of this because these are the hurdles preventing us from the transformation we would like to see in our country. We think we can match the success of entities active longer than us, and we think we can do it by disregarding the greatest forms of information distribution. And then we wonder why liberty evangelism is so hard.
I used to debate back and forth with my late friend and mentor Andrew Breitbart about the future of the Republican party. It’s well known that I’ve been one of the staunchest non-Romneys, to the point where the campaign has blacklisted me and complained about me back channel on more than one occasion. During one such exchange, I let slip that if Romney were the nominee, I was unsure as to whether or not I could vote for him. Andrew was just short of apoplectic. He would have supported the GOP nominee, whoever it was from our selection. His reasoning was what good is it to have a party without a country? The country is what we’re about to lose first.
“You especially need to listen to what I’m going to say,” he told me the day before his CPAC 2012 speech.
“I don’t care who our candidate is. I haven’t since the beginning of this,” he had said before the audience. “I will march behind whoever our candidate is because if we don’t, we lose. There are two paths: one is America, the other one is Occupy.”
“Anyone that is willing to stand next to me to fight the progressive left I will be in that bunker, and if you’re not in that bunker because you’re not satisfied with this candidate, more than shame on you, you’re on the other side.”
It was a startling realization. He was right. I thought of the future and what a non-Obama presidency meant for America: domestic energy reliance to lower the price of oil, the repeal of Obamacare, a Supreme Court nomination made by our side; the end of the Fairness Doctrine, of the green energy loans, of Dodd-Frank, the items on this list are numerous. There is more at stake than some realize.
I’m not willing to risk losing the country and all of the things enumerated above over the loss of one primary. I’ll support the Republican nominee and all efforts to change out Washington DC. Afterward, in the quiet aftermath, I’ll work to change the DNA of the Republican party by focusing on the hearts and minds of those who shape it. I hope you’ll join me. Country first.
Thanks Andrew, for the lesson.