Let’s face it, the past few generations of political conservatives have been politically lazy. While the small numbers of conservatives that have been politically active can be lauded for their efforts, relatively few of them have been effective. If you think those two statements are mean, tell me — where are the signs of that energy? Where are the fruits of all that effectiveness?
Scattered policy victories here or there? I’m not impressed. It’s possible to draw out examples for all the big issues — and one of the easiest is “school reform.” Having worked full time in that arena for a couple of years I speak as a veteran. Reformers continue to fall for every single distraction put forward by the enemies of genuine education. The list is too long to cite — here is just a small list of examples: Class size. School size. Uniforms. Teacher tenure. Goals 2000. No Child Left Behind. Common Core.
The only issue that has ever existed — and it should have been the focus since the “A Nation At Risk” report was issued in 1983 — is educational liberty. Give Americans back their liberty and all of the distractions and problems are matters that can be solved without the permission of the education blob.
Why do Americans find themselves still telling pollsters that they are unimpressed with the public schools? Because those same Americans haven’t done anything about it for decades.
You can apply the same answer to every other issue. Examples: Why don’t congressional Republicans do what the people elected them to do? Why have public employee pension systems promised the sun, moon and stars to retired government workers? How in the world can Obama win the White House not only once but twice?
Because conservatives think that political action is the job of others. Feed them a truth serum and you’ll get what amounts to a variation on this theme: “That ‘we the people’ thing doesn’t men me.”
If you’re one of those conservatives who actually accomplish productive political work, I applaud you. Now I need your help in shaming those who are active in wasting their time and donors’ money — as well as shaming those who sit way up in the bleachers treating politics as a spectator sport.
Up high in the cheap seats you hear the crowd say things like, “those #%&* Republicans!” You’ll notice that many of them watch the right cable news station, listen to the right talk radio shows, and read the right news and commentary on the Web. And you’ll also notice that they’ve brought to the stadium their own seat cushion so their backsides stay comfy.
The despair experienced by many conservatives is understandable. They’re completely unimpressed with the Republican Party and its elected officials and they haven’t seen a credible plan put forward outlining a path to recovery. What they do see is a dominant media lying, a K-college education system propagandizing, a pop culture rotten to the core, powerful public sector unions on the march, and a well-funded liberal non-profit sector that understands the goal is to win over public opinion.
They don’t see a conservative counter force to match any of it. Most of the guys and gals elected by conservatives are invisible.
Conservatives own talk radio and have built an impressive arsenal of think tanks that have solutions for every single policy mess produced by liberalism.
But conservatives are not in the information war to any serious degree.
Last time I quoted Lincoln:
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
We must rise. We must think anew. We must act anew. That’s easy enough to understand.
What’s this “disenthrall” thing? Here’s Merriam Webster using it in a sentence similar to Abe’s:
<we must disenthrall ourselves from time-honored ways of doing things, or we will never progress as a society>
We can’t wait for our elected leaders — even the good ones — to get the job done.
We can’t wait for the Republican Party to pay attention to its platform.
We can’t wait for the menagerie of right-of-center political organizations to finally enter the information war as if life depended upon it.
We must act ourselves.
Let’s answer in brief now and start expanding on it tomorrow.
1. We must get all conservatives to understand that they must give time to the political arena.
2. We must construct a place for those conservatives to engage.
3. We must get about recruiting candidates for all offices, recruit volunteers and donors to get them elected, and an army to help bring information to the uninformed and misinformed.
Isn’t that the job of the Republican Party? Yes, but it’s also yours.
Next up: The GOP ick factor and other realities.
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