Your liberal friends aren’t as liberal as they think they are. Most–not all–actually share what you believe about freedom, responsibility, and limited government. They just will not bring themselves to acknowledge their values openly, or vote for them. But they put those same conservative values into practice every day, whether they admit it or not.
I have friends and relatives, for example, who are in unions. A high school buddy of mine is in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), one of the top Democratic donors, and has spent the last several months arguing passionately for Obama on his Facebook page.
Now that the election is over, he’s back to posting a variety of stuff, including this article by a school principal in an Australian newspaper, offering advice to teenagers (“This goes for some Adults who act like teens, they need to grow up too!”):
Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you’ve finished, read a book. Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun.
The world does not owe you a living….In other words grow up, stop being a cry baby, get our of your dream world and develop a backbone not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person.
This from a person who supported Obama.
I have another union friend on Facebook, a retired teacher from my high school days who spars with me frequently when I post links to conservative-minded articles. He is a partisan Democrat and a former union leader–yet after securing his generous pension from the state of Illinois, he moved to Florida, where he pays no income taxes, voting for conservatism with his feet.
It is clear that the founding principles of our nation are now a minority creed–at least in political terms. Yet they persist, quietly, in deep-blue America. Harvard’s Ruth Wisse once said of urbane, left-wing Israelis that they “practiced hypocrisy in reverse–abiding by principles that they would not profess….They may have turned Zionism–tsiyonut–into a byword for cant, for empty and tiresome phraseology, but they continued to live out, and often to live out passionately, the Zionist reality they would not preach.”
So, too, with Americanism and many of our blue-state friends. The voters of California raised taxes on the rich, but voted down labeling of the genetically modified foods they themselves buy. The voters of Michigan went for Obama in the end, but also turned down a constitutional amendment that would have tightened the grip of the state’s unions. And, of course, the country as a whole kept Republicans in control of the House.
For the past two decades, the founding ideas of our Republic have been the principles we Americans would not profess. The left has tried to twist the meaning of those ideas. The Critical Race Theory school of thought teaches that the founding principles were irredeemably racist. The “living Constitution” school has stretched the Framers’ words to include policies they would not have approved and rights they could not have imagined.
Despite appearances, that has left many of our liberal friends feeling empty, at odds with themselves. They flocked to Obama to fill the void, but Obama had to fill it with hatred of Republicans to get them to vote again.
It is well past time for conservatives–especially those of us in blue states and cities–to start professing the founding values, to “get in their faces,” as Obama said, and make the political personal. It’s the only way back.