"Come to Jesus" at CPAC 2010

It happened this weekend at CPAC.  It was the first time I’d ever attended a conservative convention and all the way up to 6:00 pm on Saturday, I thought that I had figured out what this convention would mean to me and how it would affect my outlook on the 2010 elections, the Republican Party, Libertarians and so on.  I could not have been more short-sighted in my original estimations.

The hour or so that Glenn Beck was speaking was nothing short of inspirational and could very well have been life-changing for me.  This had less to do with Mr. Beck himself although his oratory skills and presentation abilities were impressive.  (For the Fox News challenged, watch via this special interweb link.  Go. Watch. I’ll wait.

Back? Awesome.

It was the subject matter of his speech that was so compelling.  It made me wonder, “How had I gone this long without understanding what being an American meant?”  The obvious shortcomings of the educational system aside, I should know better. I’m a conservative. My dad was a pastor.  I’m a Christian. I’m a top 5% income earner. I’m self-employed. I have children.  And above all else, my brother is Caleb Howe.  Shouldn’t these things have been enough for me to get it?

Right about now, you may be asking “Get what?” Well first of all, had you followed my instructions and watched the video, the answer is obvious. Secondly, what I didn’t get was how important America is to the world. Ronald Reagan famously said that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  My grasp on history was so lacking, that I guess I just sort of assumed that was a saying and that the extinction of freedom had forever been banished from the realm of possibility.

Obama’s election and the moves by the left woke me up to the notion that freedom is still under attack; but we’ve been through so many campaign cycles and fought off the Democrats so many times, that it still just felt like the cyclical nature of our lives.  A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, wrongly sums it up this way: “Yeah, we’re probably looking at a good 20 yrs of moving to socialism followed by 20 yrs of moving back to the right.”

Only through the lens of history do you see how untrue that is.  The progressives have never stopped. Their relentless pursuit of the Utopian dream (or nightmare depending on how you look at it) has, over the long haul, been successful!  Look at how much closer we are to the Progressive ideal.  Look at how far their efforts have gotten them. They’ve infiltrated every aspect of our political system, our media, special interest groups, corporate culture, pop culture. They’re everywhere, and more importantly, they’re now in charge.  We sat on our thumbs and look what happened.  The progressives are back in the Presidency and they are poised to strike the killing blow to liberty.

As the speech continued, I could not help but look at my own life and my own decisions when listening to Beck talk about overcoming his adversities and trials.  As I did, I came to a chilling realization: I had allowed my life to get out of control.

In spite of the fact that I had known prosperity and profit, I managed to put myself in a terrible position of mountainous debt and very little in terms of a plan on how to deal with it. Rather than deal with it, I pushed it.  Pushed the debt further and further. As I pushed it it became larger, yet my income had not grown, in fact it had shrunk.  Now there was an ocean of debt and my only option had become to make more money!  Problem: I had no plan on how to do this.  I know you’re waiting for me to say that this isn’t true and it’s simply a metaphor, but everything I just typed is exactly what my situation is and it’s the same for many others. America is in the situation she is because her people are.  The progressives are ready to pounce on that fact and cause her final collapse so they can rebuild her in their image.

The situation is every bit as dire as your worst conspiracy theories.  My come to Jesus moment was the realization that if my house is not in order, I will be of little use to the defense of liberty.  I must end the excuses.  I must stop pushing my problems off into some distant, uncertain and shaded future while assuming that I’ll figure something out between now and then.  The Republican party MUST come to this same realization.  They are the same as me in many ways.  They’ve got the right idea but they’ve got stop making excuses and get their house in order. No more good enough politics. As Beck said, “not sucking as much as the other guy” isn’t going to cut it.  Accept your missteps as I have, start working towards the solution, but don’t wait until you’re done fixing yourself to start making a difference.

America is the last beacon of hope in a world who has known tyranny and oppression for far longer than it has known liberty.  I can no longer wait for my financial situation to have improved to begin rebuilding.  I can no longer wait to be an activist, to be a voice of my movement, to be a leader in my town.

It is not dusk. It is before the dawn if only we want it to be so.  Our morning in America is around the corner.