America is wonderful from the aspect that it offers the opportunity for anyone to personally profit from their endeavors. In America a person can dream-up a design for a new widget and build and market the widgets and become the next millionaire if that is his/her goal. Otherwise we are free to work at the widget inventor’s factory and achieve the American dream of being a home owner. These freedoms and opportunities are available to all Americans, liberal, conservative, Christian and atheist alike. But the story for America could have been different.
Consider that America would have never come into being if it were based upon liberalism/socialism ideals. Liberalism/socialism would have said, “Dear King, please continue to take care of us, you may tax us into the ground, tell us what to do, regulate and supervise the heck out of us and we will be happy as long as you provide us with food and shelter.”
But our Founding Fathers shook off the perceived safety of being ruled and cared for, for self-rule and independence. Risking everything and willing to fight for their individual freedom and liberty, they practiced conservatism sacrificially and for our benefit. I say this because our Founding Fathers intended for many Americans to be entrepreneurs in this new nation they were creating. Their vision for America was a land of personal independence, personal responsibility and opportunity for everyone. When they carved out the Constitution for this new Republic, they applied a gamut of conservative principles to define forever how this innovative experiment would work. They clearly established “the people” as the sovereign and the government as the servant to the people. A lot has changed since then, we’ve been heading down the wrong track for many years.
America and American idealism has not been immune from various ailments. The fact is there are viruses working to infect every organization, every movement, every government and every business. Our conservative movement is no exception. This 240 year old conservative experiment in government does indeed suffer from several tumors. If America and conservative ideology is to have any chance against the plague of socialism, we must cut out these malignancies and we do not have a day to waste.
If we will focus on getting our conservative movement to a healthier place, we will be far more effective at purging America of the plague of socialism that is eating away at everything that made America great. Here is my diagnosis of our own inner ills.
- Pride of the elected – Out of all the problems I have seen with our conservative political system, this is what I encounter the most. A puffed-up prideful conservative (certainly lib’s have this too) is one who is enjoying the title but forgotten that the people have given the elected not only the title but also gloves and a shovel with the expectation that the real work will get done. Personal pride ruins every good work, there is no place for it in our movement.
- Apathy of the electors – Albert Einstein said; the world is a dangerous place to live, not because of people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it.” Einstein’s words are further elaborated in the age old saying, “all that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing.” Conservative apathy is eroding our citizen base, we must motivate our people with clear messages and pure motives. Our work is to get them involved and once again passionate. We must convey an urgency that is not unlike the days when we broke away from the rule of a king. Today, everything is on the line, over the next few years, America either comes back or falls completely.
- Lack of unity – Frankly we are a divided and splintered group. The conservative movement has always been made up of type A, lion type personalities. Lions want to lead and be in charge and rarely follow. Even if we do not fully agree, we must begin to support and champion one another to save our overall cause or there will be nothing left of our movement to save. Let us pledge to dialog and support one another for the greater good.
- Green gelatin trading – Politicians in all flavors have succumbed to trading what I describe as green gelatin (Green Jello) otherwise known as “political capital.” Instead of working for the interests of the American people, they spend much of their time focused on the political machine, ie serving the interests of the political parties or the lobbyists of the powerful people, industries, companies and special interest organizations. Read the ingredients in a box of gelatin package, it is made up of sugar, gelatin and artificial ingredients. Gelatin has little nutritional benefit. Political capital trading takes the focus off the serious issues that need addressed and puts the emphasis on something that should not even be in the picture. If we want our conservative movement to be healthy, we must provide food much more beneficial than gelatin.
- Corrupted Motives – obviously the most universal cancers are “money and power.” These can corrupt every worthwhile conservative work. We must focus everything we do for the right reasons, which means working sacrificially. There is no longer room for selfish motives.
- Clicks, unions, associations, secret societies and cults – The scriptures make it clear that God is no respecter of persons, that in God’s eyes we are all equal. However, it seems politicians spend 99% of their effort working to provide one advantage or another to their personal support base. As a result, the overall good and integrity of our system is being destroyed from within. When any other motive supplants the honorable aspects of conservative Constitutional causes, America loses. I’ve seen one politician after another usurp a core value action for something else.
- Poor strategy by some – America is so for from our Constitutional model that our government seems unrecognizable to the Constitution that created it. However, too many conservatives think they can just pick up the train and put it back on the right track and they rail about doing this. This is a failing strategy. What we have to do first but quickly, is to slow the hijacked train down and get it to stop. Once it is stopped, we can put it in reverse, back it up and then redirect it over onto the track that takes us to the proper destination of Constitutional conformity. We need to work strategically towards what is actually possible to accomplish, not what is impossible to accomplish.
I hope you agree that in this moment of self-review, we must focus in getting our own ship back in shape as we work to overcome the tsunami of liberalistic socialism pressing upon us. Jesus taught something very similar (Matt 5:13) to his disciples regarding the need to be effective “salt.” This commentary will mean nothing unless we each personally examine ourselves and make the required adjustments to cut out any trace of these cancers. With congressional approval ratings hovering around 15%, citizens are desperately looking for principled conservative leaders who have not lost the flavor of our salt.
In this 7-part series of articles, my goal is to stimulate our thoughts and to provide clarity for what being conservative might really mean and more importantly how we can be a better example of it. The take away should inspire all of us to be better at being a true conservative. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Part 4 is “The Power In Somebody Doing Something.”
Bob Bingham is Founder of North West Property Owners Alliance (www.nwpoa.org) and current candidate for Kootenai County Commissioner (www.bob4idaho.com)