Happy New Year everyone! I trust you had a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! I am going to begin the year with a challenge as we launch the 2015 legislative session!
If conservative values are to win this year, a miracle has to take place within the conservative movement, and it has to happen quickly.
We have to stop wounding our own.
You’ve seen the policy carnage. It happens in the Right to Life movement. It happens in the Tea Party movement. It happens in the pro-family movement. It even happens in the church.
Usually it begins by a “self-appointed” conservative yard stick who believes that his/her conservative beliefs are pure, right, and the only way to win. Usually this “yard stick” is a political purist; an all or nothing kind of person. If you don’t add up to their bar (no matter your reason or strategy) you then are ostracized and re labeled a liberal, and a movement or cause is divided.
I’ve seen it a hundred times. I’ve been on both sides of the measuring stick. I sadly will admit I’ve been on the “all or nothing, take them all out” bandwagon and truly thought I was doing the cause good. Instead, I lost allies, that if I had seen their side or strategy, we could have taken the cause by storm and won… we were left holding the bag at the funeral of a cause we could have won. I’ve also been the receiving end of a letter with the words RINO and liberal contained in it! (for those of you who know me, I’ll allow you a few seconds to pick yourself up off the floor before continuing!)
I am not a political purist. I believe in the process of pushing the conversation to the right where I proudly stand and plant my flag. I believe every step we take to the right is a win. We didn’t lose the battle overnight, and we are not going to win it back overnight. There are many who believe the “all or nothing” strategy is the only thing that makes them a conservative. The first resort after a bad vote is to take the politician out. I don’t believe that.
I believe in the process.
I believe there is a time for everything. There is a time to be at the table working on policy (even when we don’t agree 100% with that politician). There is a time for standing behind a microphone to speak on a bill that needs defeated or passed. I believe there is a time for phone calls and protests. Let me be real clear here… I also believe there is a time to remove an office holder and I’m not afraid to do it (I’ve done it twice successfully).
There are those who believe the only way to a successful activism career is outside holding signs and protesting, and removing the politician. This is why we lose. There is no such thing as a perfect politician. If this is our strategy instead of pushing policy to the right, then we will be exhausted and ready to give up. (see my article sprint vs. marathon) It’s easy to remove a politician, its HARD work pushing policy. It’s hard work sitting at a table endless hours working on the cause that seems to be stuck in the mud. It’s hard work building a grassroots movement that is willing to be apart of the marathon.
Political purity does not scare any politician. Purists are like that annoying kindergarten kid who raises his hand to tattle every time someone looks at him. Eventually the teacher overlooks him as the boy who cried wolf.
What scares a politician is common sense conservatives who use the election process strategically as the last resort for those who refuse to listen. I’ve seen purists come to the strategy table with NO plan on how to kill a bad ordinance or bill, but they do carry the next un-election plan.
My plan…the harder plan would be to defeat the bill/ordinance FIRST.
It’s a process.
I believe if a lawmaker is with me 80% of the time he/she is my friend and I have something to work with. It saddens me to see one conservative group go after the throat of another conservative group just because they are not an “all or nothing” political purist person.
Take the right to life movement for example. You have the abolitionists, who will not accept any right to life policy that is not complete abolition vs. the pro-life lobbyists who year after year push the conversation to the right with more abortion regulation…. push push push. The tension between the two groups…those of us who are abolitionists at heart, but will stand arm in arm with the pro lifers pushing policy make our head spin.
The competition between pro family groups and even churches is the same. My way is better than your way, and in the end, we divide, and the battle is lost.
But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.~Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4th, 1801
There is a place for everyone at the table. There is a place for those to stand outside and holler with signs and protests. There is a place for those who labor at home on their knees praying for the cause, and there is a place for those who are sitting at the table with a lawmaker pushing the conversation to the right.
There is a place!
The movement goes south when suddenly we put our “King Tut” hats on and say our way is the only way, and we go after each other instead of our common enemy. There is a problem when we eat our own for lunch, and push our own definition of conservative down the throats of every volunteer or willing servant at the table. “Your good enough if…. you’re conservative enough if…” There is a problem when pride and ego divides a movement.
We have a problem if the first thing we run to when dealing with an elected official is, “You are outta here!” We lose credibility. Do we hold them accountable? Of course we do. We still feel the ripple effect of what happened in District 18 and 22 this year!
I will never compromise on the issues. Moral purity is not in the same league as political purity. There are things I will not compromise on. For example. I will NEVER vote for someone who believes it is ok to decapitate an unborn child. I will always continue to educate those around me on where I stand on the issues (even with my friends who are elected officials). You will soon see many times this upcoming session where I will challenge even those I admire. I will continue to push conservative values until the day I draw my last breath!
But to everything there is a season.
I leave you with a challenge as we begin this new legislative session. We just tuned another page of the calendar today. It is my heart’s prayer that we get it together and work together. Every man/woman taking their own place at the wall we are building for conservative values. Every man and woman working together to push our conservative principles to the right. The alternative is another field of policy carcasses that we have given to the left. For kicks, do some research on how the left wins their battles. You will be amazed! (comment below after you have done this research)
Pro life, religious freedom, pro family issues, tea party issues… give it your all this year. Work together for the cause. Your results will be amazing. Never fear… there is always a campaign that will need attending to. There will always be a politician to hold accountable. Just don’t forget the issues.
It’s time to get to work!