Ronald Reagan once said that Americans spend too much of their time second guessing themselves and their values. Of course he was absolutely right, and a cursory look at the state of our culture underlines that fact.
Most of the “second guessing” and criticism of traditional American values comes courtesy of the modern progressive (read “liberal”) movement, its politicians and its cheerleaders in the mainstream media. But does this give conservatives the right to wallow in negativity and act defeated? And just what exactly does it accomplish when they do?
Whether it’s talk radio, Fox News or online, you don’t have to pay attention for very long to come across conservatives blaming our problems on someone else. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that you come across far more of that than you do anything that would help advance informed action and make a difference.
It’s a conservative persecution complex.
We’re far too focused on what our opponents are doing, rather than on what we’re doing, not doing, or need to do. And we’re not getting mad enough at ourselves for not doing more.
As Solomon put it, “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute.” So, are we bearing rule or under tribute? We don’t have to look any further than the news to figure it out. Trillions in debt, millions of abortions, tax-payer funded abortion, Obamacare mandates, gay marriage, people losing businesses because they refuse to violate their right of religious conscience, etc. The list goes on and on.
These things didn’t come about because conservatives were being diligent.
There are three institutions in our lives – the family, government and the church, and the extent to which we ignore either of them we have problems. As so many conservatives have ignored politics (the management of government), it’s now intruding on the other institutions; trying to replace and redefine the family, and now attacking the free exercise of religion and conscience.
Personnel as they say is policy. But if policy is about personnel, then personnel is about elections – and elections are about who shows up. You can’t elect good people if you don’t show up. You can’t hold those in power accountable if you don’t show up. You can’t influence policy if you don’t show up. And the simple fact is that too many conservatives just don’t show up.
There are far more of “us” than there are of “them”. Every poll bears that out. The Gallup poll continues to show that Americans who self-identify as “conservative” are the largest ideological group in the country, and about twice as large as those claiming to be “liberal”. But those numbers only represent potential, not action or results.
So many conservatives just don’t get involved at all, and many of those who do get involved get mad and upset when they lose and just quit and go home. The result is that losing the next battle becomes a fait accompli, which leads to more of what made us mad to begin with. It’s a vicious cycle.
We have met the enemy, and he is us.
It’s a lot easier to find conservatives with opinions than it is to find those who actually get involved. We’re full of opinions, (again, just listen to talk radio). But opinions without actions are like clouds without rain; they eventually just blow over and nothing happens.
None of this is to say that everyone needs to become a full-time political activist. But everyone does need to do something. In a county with so much freedom and so many opportunities to get involved, half of our people don’t even do the minimum that they can do in order to keep what we have, let alone reclaim what we’ve lost, (read: vote).
As Jefferson put it, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance”. But that’s only half right. We also have to do something. Our Founding Fathers were people with deep convictions and opinions, and they did something about what they believed. They got involved.
Conservatives have to get out of the persecution mentality and into a winning mentality that begins to feed on itself. And that starts with taking action.