Of Conservatism and Doing the Work

AOC at Met Gala (Credit: The Recount)

The pop-metal genre that dominated the 1980s, presently shoved into a corner of SiriusXM, is generally derided in today’s pop culture as the ultimate albeit brief triumph of style over substance. This is as opposed to, say, the profound lyrical and sociological depth of “WAP” by Cardi B. But I digress.

One of the bands often overlooked that came out of pop-metal was Extreme. Best known, if not known solely for, the acoustic ballad “More Than Words,” Extreme at its best was a fiercely creative quartet led by singer Gary Cherone, who later had an ill-fated stint with Van Halen, and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. The band pushed the pop-metal genre into areas it is seldom recognized entering, utilizing rich melodies, innovative song structure, and lyrics going far beyond the crotch rock, pseudo-shock depths commonly plumbed in spandex and Aqua Net land.

An example of this is “Stop the World” from the band’s third album, 1992’s III Sides to Every Story.

Most can relate to the chorus: “Stop the world / I want to get off / Where there is love.” Which is the starting point of this discussion.

One of the great distinguishers between modern conservatism and liberalism is that conservatism relies on performance, whereas liberalism thrives on performance art. “Tax the rich … hey, how did that SALT deductions cap repeal thing get in Biden’s bill?” More examples of the latter abound: the shrieking and ever-increasingly hysterical rants of Joy Reid, the reality-rootless musings of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. While responding to such with equal vitriol is tempting, a measured, fact-based reply is always superior. The point of spreading the conservative evangel isn’t proving we can sound equally unhinged. It’s demonstrating to others with ears to hear why siding with truth, logic, and reason is the only viable action plan.

As James pointed out in his epistle, faith without works is dead. Similarly, conservative words alone are insufficient. It is the propagation of conservative values through action that matters.

An example of the difference between performance and performance art. I’ve worked in both retail and the corporate world, with many a tale to tell about each. Presently I’m in retail, dashing off these modest missives in-between customer service stints. The store where I work is in an open-air mall that includes a Target and a grocery store. Business is strong despite the current administration’s economic strangulation policies.

For whatever reason, the mall has become a hotbed of street musician activity. Depending on what day and time you’re there, you are likely to encounter one of two violinists, an accordionist, or a clarinet player. The latter is quite good; the others … ‘I’ve heard worse’ is as polite as I can be.

One of the violin players accompanies himself with trip-hop backing MP3s, a sign next to his open violin case proclaiming himself a starving student trying to pay his way through college. His usual location is in-between the Target and where I work. Both the Target and my store have large sandwich board signs prominently displaying next to the entrance announcing “we’re hiring,” and at a decent starting salary to boot. Hmm …

Such chuckle-providing moments notwithstanding, it is conservatism that not only does the work as in actual work but also does the work of offering other people, regardless of political ideology, genuine compassion and assistance. Conservatism is not about screaming, “We need FYTERZ!” Conservatism is about doing the work and getting the results. Let the left play peacock, dancing and strutting upon the stage before a worshipful media. No amount of complaining on our part can change this. What we can change is making sure we, each of us, individually and collectively, are doing the right thing. Our time is finite. Let’s spend it wisely.

Remember:

If you’re too busy …

… yes, you are.

So stop it.

Stop trying to save the world and/or someone else. You’re not up to the job.

Instead, do what you can do. Make that call. Send that text. Answer that message. Establish and maintain contact. Everyone benefits when we do these things.

Take nothing, and especially no one, for granted. The only guarantee attached to tomorrow is that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Respond accordingly, not with frenzied panic but rather doing the right thing at every opportunity.

You have no time? Wrong. Having no time means you’re wasting the time you have. Stop. Evaluate. Prioritize. What truly matters? If it’s not people, you’re doing life wrong.

Never let what ought to be said or done lie fallow. Say it. Do it. The day will come when it is no longer possible to do so. The circle will grow smaller. Prepare. Live your life in such a manner that when you can only look behind you, you will have left no regrets.

We cannot stop the world. But we can bring love.