Really the calls for and against a circular firing squad or lynch mob as it may be have got me to thinking. We really should stop our witch hunt and get down to the brass tacks of what we have left, and how we can better utilize our shrinking power. As conservatives we always say that we never depend on Washington, well, here is our chance!
The first step to solving the problems is to recognize that we have a problem. First and foremost, we got complacent in the Bush years. Instead of fighting back against the bomb throwers on the left, we just assumed that the Republican controlled government would be our protector. We lost the ideological combat of this last election because we stopped fighting for what was right.
We need to suffer a bit in the wilderness, but we also need to know that conservatism is not a viceral think like liberalism. We have to teach our philosophy, and unfortunately, the public schools and colleges don’t honor those traditions any more. That makes it harder for us to make our case. These kids are being taught to see America as a fallen nation. The kids are being taught all of our faults as a nation and none of its greatness. We need to buttress this by re-teaching a generation about the nation they are going to inherit.We are all to blame for the defeat because we neglected the belief that ideological combat, like the fight between good and evil is never won. Even though we poured our hearts and souls into the re-election campaign in 2004, we had our spirits dashed by Shiavo and Katrina and building casualties in Iraq. We were told that we had lost. Kids were told that the Bush administration and the Republican Congress were conservatism. We sat by and hoped that they would just pull out one more election, so we could make them mind. We argued that we were the lesser of two evils. They beat us becuase they were offering a “new brand” of politics.
First, we should have known that otherwise good people can become corrupted by the Washington behemouth. We should have known that basic conservatism is at odds with the power elite in the nation’s capital. Republicans are just as attracted by the media/industrial complex as Democrats. People want to be liked. The problem is that too many of our own chose to be liked by the insiders than the Americans whom they represent.
Second, we had no program to run on. John McCain, a man I respect highly, really ran as the non-Obama. When one candidate is offering a positive program, and the other is offering one that says the positve program is too risky, the former almost always wins. What positive could John McCain run on? That question may seem difficult, but at least he could have highlighted his support for the surge, that is making victory in Iraq possible.
Third, we need to get back to teaching the core values of America. Liberals, even when in power, still live in a world of despair and decline. They tell people that they cannot solve their problems. That they cannot afford healthcare, so they need a government run solution. They say that America has progressed to the point where ordinary men and women cannot be expected to pay their bills, lest they have less money. They encourage immoral behavior at all levels and then are shocked to see the results. We as conservatives need to use the few state governments we have left to illustrate competent governance. We also need to provide the moral grounding necessary to lead our nation back out of the doldrums.
Fourth, conservatives need to understand, as I do, that the main reason for conservatism is the understanding that main purpose of government is to restrain evil. The liberal thinks that all people are equally good. The conservative knows that all people, especially children, are equally capable of ill. The willingness to constrain that evil is the mark of the true conservative in all settings.
Fifth, as long as we continue to target our own, we will never fully recover from our defeats. The Democrats and liberals will give us ammo, but we have to have the leaders in place to fire the gun. That is why I don’t think it wise to alienate anyone, even those who led us down the present path. We have to be capable of forgiveness, not just for them, but for ourselves. Conservatives need to remind themselves just why they ran for office in the first place. Then, we need to encourage our current lawmakers to hold the line. Let us work with conservatives in whatever area they may be conservative. Rudy may not be with me on abortion or guns, but on the GWOT and crime, I love and respect him.
Remember we need each other. So let’s unite behind a platform and work for it.