Politics: I Don’t Want to Do It Either

I’ve been told that an engineer approaches the design process by first asking a simple question: what problem needs to be solved?

Obviously the political application of that is clear: not enough Americans are receiving the right information about what’s amiss in public policy and how best to solve the many problems facing us. This is the case when it comes to nearly every issue at the local, state, and national level.

Looking at the national scene for just a minute, as I wrote last time — Republican majorities in Congress and even a Republican president won’t be enough. The extra that is needed is for more conservatives to stop pretending they can delegate their responsibility as citizens. It’s time for a troop surge of activism (yes, activism) on the political right.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to have to do it either. I hate the words activist and grassroots. Hate ’em. Yet I’ve served as an appointed precinct captain for campaigns in Cook County, Illinois. I was elected two terms as a precinct committeeman in Kane County, Illinois (I didn’t run for reelection only because I moved). I’ve walked precincts, made phone calls, sent letters, hung bags of information on door knobs, attended local fundraisers for candidates, attended countless local political meetings of all types…and I’d prefer to never do any of it ever again.

But that’s just too bad. I can’t call for more troops while abandoning the field.

Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I don’t like doing. I never did like writing that property tax check…or mortgage check…or covering so many of the other bills I was obligated to pay. I’m not a big fan of clothes shopping. I don’t particularly like those must-attend events hosted by extended family. I won’t bore you with more of my un-favorite things — you get the point.

My liking or disliking is irrelevant. So is my lack of free time. Life has obligations — and conservatives (me included) have to stop treating street level politics like it’s optional. It’s not optional if we’re going to save the country.

It’s a lousy way to start the new year by writing about the fact that there is no other way. If you think our elected Republicans will get the job done without being forced to — you’re crazy. If you think the k-college schools will reform itself — you’re nuts. If you think the dominant media will stop advancing a left-wing agenda — you’re off your rocker. If you think Hollywood will start trumpeting the merits of limited government, free market capitalism and traditional values — well, you’ve lost your marbles.

All that’s left is We the People. We — includes you. And, unfortunately, me too. Hate it and complain about it all you want (as I do) — but then do it anyway.

How many of our co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family members truly understand how we got into this mess and what is the best way out of it? The abundance of “low information voters” is the problem that needs to be solved. We can’t solve that problem until we solve the problem of “low energy conservatives.” They sit on their backsides and watch the right cable news channel, listen to the right radio talk shows, and visit the right websites. While Rome burns.

It’s time to get off your duff. Find or invent a way to plug in politically. Do it even if, like me, you hate the very thought of it.