February 13, 2008
One of the things that first attracted me to conservative politics was NOT conservative politicians, but rather conservative political theory was more reality based than Utopian theory.
Dealing with differences in politics is different than dealing with differences in Christianity. In Christianity (as opposed to religion), pragmatism to compromise the message is heresy. A good friend of mine used to use the slogan, Relevant When Reaching Out, Reverent When Reaching Up.
I have noticed increasingly since the “silent majority” was mobilized by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson years back, that there has been a increasing tendency to use an orthodoxy test in the political realm.Basically, leaders have used the same tactics they would in a religious denomination to control their political adherents to their policies of political orthodoxy. Actually, it was quite a successful and brilliant sociological observation and application.
As we saw in films like Jesus Camp, many evangelicals have wrapped Jesus, the Cross, the American Flag and the Republican Party into a package deal. While I know many evangelicals who truly do not understand how a Christian could vote for a democrat and still be a Christian, they have allowed their values to be defined by a political party, party leaders and pundits rather than the Bible.; allowing their worldview to be shaped by Dr. Dobson, Pat Robertson and Fox News.
Of course the fall out has not just been in the political realm, but also in the church, which is a movement that is many ways the antithesis to (and rejection of ) the moral majority, and it is varies from Rick Warren to the social gospel to some believing that the government should be the ultimate hope and savior of the poor .
We see another trend in conversions over the last decade where there is a larger scale testing of orthodoxy among the conservative. For example, Catholic converts intolerance of their former protestant brothers and tendency to be more catholic (or less tolerant) than their priest or bishop. And Creedal protestants (reformed) in a continual war on who can carry the reformed banner, with the converts being a brand of mean spirited brethren who is out to win an argument of who is the most orthodox, rather than to allow themselves to be used as the city of the hill. There has been a tendency to litmus test each other to see if we are really _______, or ________ enough. Just fill in the blank to the descriptive.
Good for the Goose
What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. While the need to avoid a pragmatism in faith is obvious, unless one is a humanist whose faith (or god) is the government, political decisions are made in a much more pragmatic fashion.
Conservatives made huge gains for many cycles because of democrats reaching to their base in primaries caused them to by-pass candidates that would have won in the general election. This year, the conservatives are making the same error, demanding to be placated.
What have we done?
We had the same opportunity to field candidates and support them as anyone else did, but didn’t. We had the same chance to get out the vote, but didn’t. We had the same chance to generate enthusiasm for our candidate as anyone else, but haven’t. Why are we whining instead of solving???I look to some of the differences we are crying about and I find some real hypocrisy.
As a conservative I must speak out. We all see how much it cost to run for office and said it was broke, what was our solution? Do nothing. We all see the quality and the difference of choice of candidates (including not having one of our own for how long???) And we did what? Nothing. But somebody tries to do something and we boo it. Where has been our remedy to fix Campaign Finance Laws if we hate it so much? Where is the legislation? Where is the restoration of our lost first amendment rights we are screaming about? It is little more than a whining point until some action occurs.
Why is it a conservative position to have a marriage amendment to the constitution? Is not the conservative position for a smaller, states right government? Then why does the federal government defining marriage by constitutional amendment make any sense? What is in the constitution that makes marriage anything else?
Pro life? Where was George Bush and Jeb Bush with Terry Schiavo? If we want to get beyond abortion in defining pro-life , then there are a whole lot of litmus tests that conservatives are not going to be on the same page on. Oh, and what was Reagan’s position or his families?
On borders. Having been “a foot soldier in the immigration fight” ,firing illegal’s whose had bad social security numbers in Denver , witnessing the federal government notifying employers SSN’s didn’t match, and employers ignored it. The government knew where illegals were and ignored it, citing the positive effect it had in taxes that were received that benefits were not accrued. In other words, the government policy was to not enforce the law, not come down on employers heavily supporting our politicians for hiring illegals and allow the infrastructure of our communities to suffer supporting the impact the illegal labor brought with it in terms of healthcare and assistance.
Our conservative response, say it was out of control and sending them back was a pipe dream. So pragmatically, if that is the executive position, do you complain or do you find another alternative? But when you come up with alternative to just ignoring the problem and not enforcing the law, you are soft on immigration.
Ignore the pundits
While I may not agree with all the solutions that Senator Mc Cain brought to the table, I certainly like them much better than the ones the conservatives did not bring. I will always choose a leader who seeks a solution to a problem and is not afraid to fight the status quo over someone who has a eye on their ACU rating. That reminds me of quarterbacks who are more concerned about their passer ratings than the team winning.
A few questions; how can we expand budgets and cut taxes in a time of war and be fiscally conservative? Is being fiscally irresponsible and expanding the government ever a conservative position? Is overextending the military a conservative position? Is not enforcing the law a conservative position? Is amending the constitution a conservative position? And who gets to define what is conservative?
I have heard many of the pundits say now is the time for the Mc Cain to solidify the base. I disagree. Now is the time to reach out to the general public and start your campaign and compare yourself to others in the race. The base has their choice to make, you have nine months to compare and contrast yourself to the electorate. Be who you are, not who people want you to be. Don’t be a fake for anyone.
Let the voters decide if you are conservative enough, not the pundits.