Out of Step or Ahead of the Curve?

(AP Photo/Rex Curry)

There is a responsibility – and perhaps even a mandate – in a pure democracy to represent the will of the people. With political parties and elected officials, there is a direct tie between the demands of the electoral bosses that, through votes and polling, express the direction which the politicians in power should follow.

Throughout American history, it has been a relief, a joy, and a blessing to know that America is not a pure democracy.

Although those in political power rule with the consent of the people, in our constitutional republic, “…of the people, by the people, for the people…” has a deeper meaning than simply carrying out the impulses of the loudest or most voluminous voices in America. Our system of government through constitutional order is a constant reminder that the rightful governance to protect God-given rights should never be driven by the whims of emotional human beings that advance near-sighted goals through reactionary measures and peer pressure tactics akin to junior high school bullying.

Abraham Lincoln understood this during his toil as a highly divisive president when many White Americans could not understand the continued push to sever America’s bond with its Original Sin. President Dwight Eisenhower understood this as a very popular post-WWII military hero that extolled America’s leadership around the world yet also warned against the hyper-focused push of the “Military Industrial Complex”, especially at a moment when our nation was beginning to come apart at the seams due to racial and cultural strife. Ronald Reagan understood this when he stood mostly alone and boldly told the Christian Right that most in America would not rightfully aid those that “…live in that totalitarian darkness (i.e., the USSR)… an evil empire…”, calling them out for cowardly “…(removing) yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil…” because the nation was mostly pushing for détente with the Soviet Union.

Conservative representation merely parrots the voices of the people. Conservative leadership champions the will of the people – through the honor and traditions of our constitutional past and with a vision for the best of a prosperous future.

Just as each one of those Republican leaders knew distinctly, we must embrace the obligation of leading with vision, not emotion, in these critical days ahead. Our rightful position to limit government spending got us wins in 2010, yet rash governance by those elected officials led to America’s bond rating dropping and sequester a short time later. There are other examples throughout recent American history where opportunities for conservatives were squandered by nearsighted political ploys and tone that was geared more towards winning the crowd than it was winning the day – and winning the future.

Champions of a constitutional tomorrow cannot remain vulnerable to such failures today.

Leaders cannot continue to remain afraid to advance constitutional conservatism that is more visionary than reactionary. We must understand the values that we advance more than the talking points that drive polling numbers. Our pushback against the Biden Administration and our push for policy wins must become a push towards a better future for the emerging new America – the very ones that voted against us in 2020 in many elections and remain primed to do the same in 2022 despite us being on the right side of policies from education to economic development. Yes: Americans love to be entertained, even by their politicians, but the world force for good and economic prosperity chiefly needs to be governed by a principled cohort rooted in republican values, not devolving democratic quibbling trumpeted from Congress and cable news. There is an inherent obligation that we carry to remain ahead of the curve to lead, guide, care, and uplift this generation of Americans as we hand off a better nation to the next generation of Americans, even if we risk being out of step with the current thinking and sentiment like Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Reagan were.

Lincoln offered a sentiment that applied in 1863 that resonates to us within each generation henceforth: “…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth…” Even as his words ring true 150 years into the future, we must make sure that our actions and intentions do the same.