The election of 2010 is behind us, and we have much to be thankful for by its results — but thousands of words written here and elsewhere show that the 2010 battle is but the start of a long campaign to restore our country.
The next battles are in ‘off year’ elections in the various states, mostly for local offices. These races are important and serve as the on-ramp to the next significant battle in the campaign, the 2012 election cycle. There are a number of things that we can all do in 2011 to accomplish two goals: continue the momentum and prepare for even greater success in 2012.
Studying the whole range of local, state and federal issues in depth will prepare us to be better voters, advocates and volunteers for the campaigns of our choice. Getting beyond the MSM treatment of topics, going deeper than Politifact and studying the sources of history, politics and economics is essential.
After learning the deeper facts, express yourself! I’ve learned a lot from ColdWarrior, LaborUnionReport, Vladimir, Moe Lane and all the other ‘usual suspects’ at RedState — and I’ve spread that knowledge through email links and informal discussions.
Like it or not, politics takes money. Start saving up now so that when candidates come along that make you resonate about issues, like Nikki Haley or Marco Rubio, you can actually do something to help. Set some money aside to enable you to make a road trip to a rally — as I’m sure there will be several chances for those in the coming 2 years. Set a budget and target the money so that it goes where you think is best. The sooner you start saving, the more likely you’ll be successful.
Cold Warrior has made this point relentlessly and effectively. Just do it. Get involved at the local level and help steer the Republicans toward the conservative, Constitutional viewpoint and away from ‘bi-partisan’ solutions that grow government and increase spending.
“Politics is war by other means” according to Clauswitz. If this is a fight, then the troops need to be fit for combat. Walking neighborhoods for candidates, attending rallies, going to town hall meetings and working late takes energy. Being fit means being able to participate with energy and enthusiasm, which are critical to winning over skeptics and undecided voters.
Being in shape is critical, but being rested so that you can occasionally push the limits during voter drives, local rallies and other ‘surge’ sorts of activities. Resting up also keeps your mind sharp, and you tend to be able to show grace and humor in the face of conflict with the humorless, dour lefties.
Take the time to go to a Tea Party rally or a Republican event at the state or regional level. Drive to the next Red State gathering. Drive up to your Representative or Senator’s local office and pay them a cordial viist — but let them know where you stand on the issues that are important to you.
Talk to your co-workers, neighbors, friends and family — engage them in the fight. We need numbers! There’s obviously a limit here, and you have to be discerning – no family gathering is worth ruining because your second cousin is an Obama supporter and won’t listen to ‘reason.’ Ditto at work — you can’t become ‘that person’ who gets avoided because of your relentless and strident discussions. Talking up means doing a fair amount of listening as well — and using facts wherever possible to spoil the arguments that may arise.
When you see a candidate for office, approach them and be respectful; they need to be engaged and they are looking for an opportunity to convey their message to you; here’s your chance to briefly have a shot at giving them yours. Look what Joe the Plumber did for all of us by being reasonable and candid. This goes for your local office holders as well. I once found my Representative at a flight gate waiting to return home and found him to be responsive and polite — and he seemed to appreciate the positive feedback (he was doing well, and I let him know).
When issues arise either locally, at the state or federal level, don’t be shy about calling the office holder’s office. The Tea Party efforts to ‘melt the switchboards’ at the Capitol have an effect. During the throes of the campaign, go ahead and volunteer for phone bank duty (although personally, I really find this annoying, there are some that are convinced through personal contact).
When the opposition calls, kindly tell the caller that you are not in favor of whatever they’re calling about and politely hang up. The volunteer can’t or shouldn’t get in a debate with you, and doing so wastes time for both of you. Better to politely end the call and reduce your stress level. Save your energy for actual discussions with others that can have an effect.