Real leaders don’t fear activism, they inspire it. The reason this state continues to suffer through Democratic Party domination is due to the abject failure of Republican leaders here to do what’s necessary to win support and muster a political army. Ditto when it comes to the national level, where the Bush-Hastert years were squandered because of gross incompetence.
On Monday I mentioned the twelve year old GOPAC “Citizen Activist Guide” which outlines the basics that too many Republicans seem to have forgotten. Our GOP leaders in party and public office haven’t exactly led any charges, so a natural atrophy has taken place.
Back when GOPAC mailed me the book they sent an email suggesting methods of citizen activism that I could make use of before it arrived. Nothing profound – yet still worth reciting – the list outlined the elementary things like getting informed, talking with friends and family, starting a discussion group, writing letters to newspapers and public officials, volunteering, and making financial contributions.
Oh, and voting. Truth be told, the reason a lot of conservative leaning people don’t bother to go to the polls is because pulling the lever for “the lesser of two weasels” doesn’t exactly inspire them. And in recent years, for a lot of folks it hasn’t exactly been easy to discern just who is the “lesser” in those terms.
The activism we’re seeing today hasn’t been inspired by our GOP leaders who are instead playing the role of followers. What we’re all witnessing with the TEA Party goers and town hall participants serves as a good reminder of what political activism on behalf of the cause of limiting government looks like.
Genuine leadership understands the gravity and has the capacity to animate – quicken – and incite constructive political participation. Fortunately we are seeing authentic leadership – it’s just not coming from our party or public officials.
Under the heading “Erosion of Basic Freedoms” the book includes a paragraph and four quotes from guys you may have heard of:
“Democracy is hard work. Preserving freedom is hard work. There have been threats to the American system since the Republic began. Fortunately for us, every individual who has tried to rob us of our basic rights and freedoms, there has been another individual willing to lay down his or her life to protect them. While some threats come in the form of war or aggression, others are far more subtle.
Throughout history, our greatest leaders have feared the gradual erosion of our basic rights and freedoms.”
“I believe there are more instances of abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations…”
“We the People are the right masters of both Congress and the Courts-not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
“The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government-lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”
Under the heading “Are You an Activist?” the GOPAC includes this:
“Our society, from its political to social institutions, is in urgent need of renewal…the time has come for Americans to take a stand… Whether we make progress towards renewing America depends largely on whether individuals, in sufficient numbers, decide to correct the course.”