GOP 101: Personnel Makes All the Difference

The notion that you have to have good people in politics — including party politics — is yet another simple and obvious thing that conservatives in America seem slow to grasp.

Why do I say they are slow to grasp this? Of those who are well aware of our leadership deficit, very few of them step onto the political playing field to fill the void.

Conservatives are great at writing op eds decrying the failures of the Republican Party and their elected officials. They fill the talk radio airwaves non-stop. Ah, but then there is a little thing called civic duty. As I’ve said, you can’t delegate the responsibilities of citizenship.

Last month the Associated Press ran an article “5 things about Americans’ slipping sense of civic duty” — a title and a subject that should surprise no one, especially Republicans and conservatives.

The sense of civic duty among conservatives has been slipping for decades. That is the reason we have so many problems in government at all levels, and it is the reason elected Republicans fail to do much more than tinker at the edges of reform – when they even try at all.

From the article:

An Associated Press-GfK poll found that the sense of duty has slipped since a similar survey three decades earlier. Civic virtues such as staying informed or serving on a jury don’t seem as important as they once did — especially among the younger generation.

Young people are feeling less dutiful, or maybe just showing their libertarian streak.

In every category except volunteering, adults under 30 were less likely than their elders to see any obligation, and also felt less obliged than young people of the past.

Obviously that’s not bad news in the short run. Let’s face it, the Obama-supporting millennials have a lot to learn, so the fact that most will stay out of the way for a while means that grown-up conservatives have a chance to get in and start to clean house. (Note the key words: “get in and start…”)

Here’s another excerpt for the AP story:

Americans don’t feel much pressure to keep up with news and public issues anymore. Only 37 percent think that’s very important, down from a majority — 56 percent — in 1984. In fact, a fifth say there’s no obligation at all to stay fully informed.

The young are even less likely to feel citizens ought to know what’s going on, despite having unprecedented amounts of information at their fingertips.

That tells us what we already know — the problem is too many low information voters. To lower the number, we’ll need more conservatives doing actual work to help get better information to their neighbors. Yes, it will be tough to both recruit people into the fight — and the fight itself won’t be easy.

But what isn’t tough? Family life can be rough. The business world can be brutal. Competition can be stiff in most arenas where people care about the rewards. Ask parents if it’s easy to raise kids. Ask entrepreneurs if it’s a slam dunk to create and/or expand a business. Ask a medical doctor if all patients do what they’re supposed to do or whether all diseased bodies respond to proven treatments.

Can we agree that life is no picnic and move on? Don’t tell me what’s not possible in politics or any other area of life when I’ve seen good people succeed and great things get accomplished.

Let’s continue on this topic of personnel next time.

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