Most people hate confrontation. But given that “politics is people”, (and about people agreeing and disagreeing), effective political participation is almost certain to involve some sort of confrontation at some point.
Most people tend to want to “get along”, (or “play nice”, as your mother probably told you), and that’s admirable in pretty much every aspect of life. But if you’re the only one playing nice in politics you won’t be winning very many battles or making any progress on the things you care about.
Fighting over fundamentals
In recent years the level of acrimony in the political process has increased because we are no longer just arguing about the margins, we are increasingly fighting over many of the fundamental, core values that the vast majority of Americans took for granted not very long ago. The type of values that go to the heart of what kind of country we all want to live in.
But you can’t let acrimony make you shy away from what’s important.
In order to be successful in the political arena, we must practice “effective confrontation”. That means not being reactive, but being proactive and taking the offensive with the kind of tenacity that can endure the potentially long political or legislative process that might lie ahead.
And be very, very, very persistent.
It’s not enough just to know what’s right. If you do a bad job advocating a good principle, you probably haven’t made much progress. If you’re too timid or don’t frame your issues the way you want to begin with, expect your opposition to do it for you.
Unfortunately, conservatives tend to take a defensive posture right from the start on most issues, or we quickly allow ourselves to be put on the defensive by our opposition. As a result, we bear some of the blame for our country’s situation.
Sometimes you gotta’ fight
Democracy requires participation, and sometimes that means political confrontation.
Nobody says you have to be ugly about it. But as with most things in life, you don’t make much progress by being a shrinking violet. You must be willing to advocate what you believe with the same passion that you believe it. Just remind yourself that, as a conservative, there are more people who think like you do than your opposition.
The simple fact is that the differing needs and/or values of different people (sometimes VERY different people) are at odds with one another. Somebody wins and somebody loses, or somebody gets more of what they want than someone else.
If you decide to avoid politics and speaking out for what you believe just because you don’t like being confronted with people who disagree with you or who are mean and call you names, you can’t really be surprised by how things turn out on down the road.
And then it will be too late.