Being #NeverTrump Gave Me Super Powers!

IMG_2268Yes, you read the title right. Since I became #NeverTrump, I have the strength of three men! … Well, I actually have the voting power of three voters. Still not too shabby, but I guess I won’t be donning a mask and cape to fight crime; just to go to the odd comic book convention. See, it occurred to me that there is a funny little side effect to one of the major arguments that gets leveled against me by the Pro-Trump crowd. The argument is this:

“If you don’t support Donald Trump, that’s the same as voting for Hillary!”

This is a bad argument, of course. It’s false, dishonest and manipulative, but, for the moment, let’s give it more consideration than it actually deserves. I recently received a response to my writing on this subject in our local paper where I was told that my refusal to support either Trump nor Hillary was the same as me voting for Trump (obviously a Hillary supporter). We’ve all seen the meme:

IMG_2267

But I got to thinking about this. Trump supporters see that first statement as valid and true. But, if you employ logic when examining it, there is exactly the same amount of evidence and substance (namely, none) for that second claim as there is for the first, so let’s take a look at what that actually means:

First, every American who is eligible to vote for president (those who registered to vote, are not felons without restored voting rights, are 18 or older and are not dead…sorry about the last one, Democrats) has exactly one vote to cast. Are we agreed on that? Ok, good. (I’m assuming we all agree on that.)

Now, if not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary, then it is equally true that not voting for Hillary is a vote for Trump. That means that, by not voting for either, I’m actually voting for both. That means I actually have the power to cast TWO VOTES; twice that of a normal voter!

Stay with me, people! We have one more leap to make here.

So, what happens if I vote for someone other than the “Big Two”? Let’s say I decide to vote for Gary Johnson or Darrell Castle or even write in Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio…or vote for Pikachu. (I know…he wasn’t born in America, so he’s not eligible, but everybody’s looking for him across America right now, so there’s that…) Now, I STILL haven’t voted for Trump or Hillary, so that’s the equivalent of voting for both, so I have effectively cast two votes…but I also cast a vote for someone else. In effect, I have cast THREE VOTES in one election! I have effectively become more powerful than any voter who votes for either Trump or Hillary. I have the power of three voters…and I didn’t have to get bit by a radioactive poll worker!

I figure by this point I should have some #NeverTrump people at least grinning…and I hope laughing. It’s true that this is all silliness, but there’s also a point here. You see, I figure any Trump supporter reading this has gotten really irritated and has maybe even started to change color a little. A least, I can hope they are. “This is ridiculous and unrealistic,” I imagine them grumbling…and they’d be right. It is ridiculous and unrealistic, but the importance is where it’s all ridiculous.

What I’ve used here is actually a debating technique called “Reductio ad absurdum”; latin for “reduction to absurdity”. The idea is simply to take a concept to its ultimate, and usually absurd, conclusion. But the truth is that it’s not the final extreme conclusion that my vote actually counts as three that’s absurd. That’s actually just a logical conclusion based on the original premise. This argument that not voting for ‘X’ is the same as voting for ‘Y’ is dishonest. Your vote is something of value to be spent, much like money, where you decide it should go. Have you ever told someone that, if they don’t spend their money to buy a Bible, that’s the same as spending their money to buy porn? Of course you don’t, because it’d be absurd…and so, is this statement about voting. However you choose to use your vote, it’d doesn’t have a list of side-effects connected to it likes Cialis commercial.

So, if it’s such a bad argument, why do the Trump people keep going back to it like a touchstone? Do they not realize that it’s a flawed argument? Many don’t. For them, it was used to manipulate them and now they embrace it as gospel and use it against others. But there are those who know it’s dishonest and don’t care. For them, if it gets people to go along with their agenda, then the truth be damned.

Of course, if that isn’t quite enough to get people in line, they’ll amp it up a little and, when you continue to refuse to support Trump, they’ll just accuse you of actually being a Hillary supporter or even a closeted liberal. Sound familiar? It’s the same thing the left has been doing for decades, except their accusation of choice is to call us racists, but the purpose is exactly the same in both cases; to force people to do what they want them to regardless of their convictions or principles or even any concept of right and wrong.

This actually comes from Saul Alinski’s 12th Rule for Radicals: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Basically, embarrass, vilify and shame those who stand in your way…until they don’t stand in your way anymore. Yes, I’m saying that there are those who call themselves conservatives who are acting in accordance with the teachings of Alinski. The practices of the left are virulent and, when we play with them, we run a huge risk of getting infected with something we REALLY don’t want.

But that’s a subject for another day. I only bring it up to reinforce the point that this argument that not voting for Trump is the same as a vote for Hillary comes from a very dark, dishonorable, dishonest place. It has no validity and it’s only purpose is to bully you into doing something, no matter what your heart is telling you is right.

The next time someone tries to bully you this way, consider trying this: Do your best Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi voice (Sir Alec Guinness…he was way cooler), smile and say, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” These people won’t get the humor in it; they have no sense of humor when it comes to their spray-tanned messiah. I can also pretty well guarantee they won’t get the pop culture reference and it’s always fun to watch people like that flounder trying to make sense out of such a nerdy reference!

Defend Your Principles And Values; Don’t Compromise Them

There’s a cancer in the conservative movement and the Republican Party. The carcinogen that kick-started it into high gear is Donald Trump. This cancer leads to the abandonment of conservative principles and values. When Trump first announced he was running for president, I figured his days were numbered once people started seeing through his facade of respectability. The problem is, he never actually bothered putting up a facade. He remained openly the same deplorable person he’s always been and, even worse, his supporters eagerly dismissed his incredibly liberal past, some of it only a few years old, and embraced his bad behavior. I could easily write an almost unending series of columns on why Trump is a horrendous choice for any office, but I’m concerned today about how contagious his attitude and behavior has become.

The first time I heard Trump mention a name in a speech and someone in the audience just shouted out, “Loser!” and Trump smiled like a proud papa, I feared this would only get worse. I wish I’d been wrong. Trump verbally abuses others; his supporters do the same. He objectifies, belittles and devalues women, even going so far to blame one for the bruises she received from a larger man; they do the same and go further, including calling and threatening her life. He encourages physical violence; they comply, punching people and threatening to do worse, including murder. There are more stories almost every day about Trump supporters making death threats to those who hold positions in the GOP and even to delegates if they stand in the way of a Trump victory. Let me say this again to impress the seriousness of the situation: There are people affiliated with the Republican Party through Donald Trump who are threatening to kill people if they don’t get their way! This is not what the GOP and conservatism has EVER been about. It’s what we’re supposed to be standing against as it comes from the left! But it’s ok since Trump said he’ll pay their legal fees, right?

All this would normally be enough for us to condemn a candidate without hesitation. After all, if it was Hillary acting this way, we’d all be calling her a monster…and we’d be right! However, many refuse to judge Trump by our normal standards. Conservatives who usually promote principles and integrity and the truth now turn a blind eye and gleefully jump on that Trump-wagon. National personalities like Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter sing his praises and run interference for him. Even a local radio personality in my hometown, Kelly O’Connell, seems to have fallen under the Trump spell and is inclined to ignore the ugly truth and repeat the liturgical talking points of the Trump campaign.

I understand that people are angry and frustrated. I am, too. We conservatives have been lied to, used and betrayed by much of the GOP leadership, both nationally and often on local levels. God knows, the Republican leadership in my state is no prize but, when you start viewing the world through the lens of frustration and anger, you start making bad decisions. You start believing that any action, no matter how vile or even illegal, is acceptable as long as it benefits your idea of the ‘greater good’. We see this in the most vocal elements of support for Donald Trump. They overlook his bad behavior and poor treatment of others while also excusing their own bad behavior and poor treatment of others by dismissing the means in favor of their ends: supposedly to “Make America Great Again”. The thing is, justifying our means in pursuit of any goal is not how we achieve any degree of greatness. This is the kind of path that leads to us losing our way, our values and, ultimately, our souls.

I really don’t want Hillary as president but I also have to honestly say that, at least with her, it’d be clear who and what she is. We already know that, if she becomes President, she’ll do everything in her power to add to the damage already inflicted on our nation by Barack Obama, but at least she can’t hide her allegiances or her affiliations. She can be easily identified as an agent of the left, as a voice of the Democrat Party, making it much easier to motivate people on the right, in office and out, to oppose her.
Trump, on the other hand, has cloaked himself in the guise of conservatism and, although it’s a poorly put together cloak, many have enthusiastically accepted it, both his supporters who claim to be conservatives and the mainstream media who are more than happy to equate all conservatives with Donald Trump. Meanwhile, there are those within the Republican Party and the conservative movement who are spreading the lie that we have no choice but to support the GOP candidate, no matter who that is. (It’s ironic because many of these people are decrying perceived disenfranchisement of voters…conveniently only in primaries that Trump loses…and accusing those who oppose Trump publicly of trying to tell them who to vote for while spreading this narrative designed to bully conservatives into voting a certain way.) The problem is that, when we buy into that lie and give our vote out of some sense of party loyalty, or even out of fear of Hillary Clinton assuming the presidency, we give credence to claims that Trump and his hardcore supporters are typical of what conservatives are. For decades, we have constantly fought against accusations from the left that we are racists, sexists, homophobes and rich old white men who don’t care about anyone or anything beyond the bottom line. By lending our support, no matter how grudgingly or marginally, then, fair or not, we place ourselves under the same umbrella of elitism, bigotry, misogyny that fits Trump so well. Every accusation thrown at us will suddenly stick better than ever because of our guilt by association with a GOP headed in many ways by Donald Trump and guilt by complicity for actively choosing to give him our votes to help place him there.

And don’t delude yourself into believing he will magically become “presidential” upon winning the White House. He has spent his entire life indulging in his base nature and he’s a little too old and set in his ways to change just because he’s sitting in the Oval Office instead of some building with his name emblazoned on it. Those of us who either give in to pressure or allow ourselves to be conned by this snake oil salesman and support Trump in any way will find ourselves measured and judged based on his behaviors. It may not sound fair, but that’s the way it works. We are all defined by what we do and who we associate with much more than we are by our words alone.

I don’t care so much these days who the candidate is or what letter he puts by his name as much as I care about what kind of person he his and what he places value on, because we must stand firm on our principles and values more so today than ever. That’s what creates the solid foundation of integrity and consistency upon which we build our character and identity as individuals and conservatives. Make no mistake, the only way for a true conservative to actively support Trump is to ignore, devalue and abandon conservative principles and values. In doing so, our foundation weakens and cracks and ends up being more like dirt than rock…and you know what happens when you build your house on shifting sand.

Our foundation as a nation has already been eroded badly over time by both the overt efforts of the left and the lukewarm response of some on the right, especially the Republican Establishment and many Republicans holding elected office. Can that foundation be repaired? I certainly hope so but, either way, it’s more important than ever for us to protect and strengthen our foundations as individuals and to encourage the same in others who we can positively influence. Think about this in terms of your children, as they are the people you have the largest amount of influence over. If you’re planning on supporting Trump, think carefully first and ask yourself: What would you tell your children if they ask at some point if you supported him? Can you honestly tell them that he valued the things you value or that he acted in a way that you want your children to act? If not, then do you want to tell them that winning is more important than what you normally claim to value and what you’ve tried to instill in your kids? Be aware: You won’t have to say it at that point. Your actions will have shown what’s in your heart and, like a smoker who lectures their kids about not smoking and then is horrified when they catch them lighting up, your surprise, should they embrace bullying, launching verbal attacks on others, winning no matter who they hurt and an attitude accepting of thuggish, violent behavior, will be way too little, way too late.

We all need to toughen up when it comes to free speech

Last month, the Pew Research Group released a study showing 40% of millennials polled believe government should be able to censor speech considered offensive to minorities. In the Las Cruces Sun News paper, a commenter in the Sound-Off section asked “why conservatives manage to make ‘politically correct’ and ‘compromise’ dirty words”. It also that claimed political correctness is the embodiment of “common decency” and those who oppose it are mean-spirited, slanderous and prejudicial. A Sun News contributor and publisher of a New Mexico political site, Heath Hausamen, wrote on his site recently calling for polite online discourse and condemning speech he implied leads to violence (“Online discourse should encourage understanding, not violence”). The implication here, while much of the media and the left are simply saying it outright, points directly to the killer in Colorado who recently went on a rampage in a block of buildings, including a Planned Parenthood. While it’s not clear if Hausamen is trying make this claim or not, the claim has generally been that the fact that those who oppose groups like Planned Parenthood inspired this murderer by exercising their speech rights and talking about the heinous acts that Planned Parenthood are engaging in. He, and others like him, are calling for speech to be regulated in order to do away with offensive and hateful speech. 
It sounds enlightened on the surface, but it’s really a disturbing trend pointing away from the principles that made America great. It’s disturbing because so many young people are ok with allowing the government power over the second right mentioned for protection from that same government in our Bill of Rights. They’ve bought into a seductive narrative that truth is relative and opposition to what they believe is hate. The thing is, polite and popular speech wasn’t the reason for the First Amendment. It’s for the revolutionary, incendiary, offensive speech that makes people uncomfortable and spurs them to think and take action. Free speech is more than an individual right. It’s essential to human progress. 
The men who enumerated this right in our Constitution are the ones who’d just finished fighting a bloody war for independence that had been precipitated by speech that was offensive to a great many and absolutely lead to violence. The revolutionaries who wrote and spoke backed up their words by taking up arms. The words of men like Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams were offensive and condemned by many as encouraging resistance and violent rebellion against the government. They were, of course. Thank God that they were. Even Thomas Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence, sadly, are still considered offensive by many today. After all, Jefferson talks about rights endowed upon us by God, not by any laws; absolute rights like Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Life, especially, is a right that most pro-choice people hate being discussed as an absolute and the idea of God being cited in a government document is horrific to many progressives today. Isn’t it sad to think of our founders being targeted to have their speech limited today?
Throughout our history, revolutionary speakers and writers like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. have changed our nation for the better. Their words were inflammatory and created discomfort. Imagine if those words had been silenced because they made people feel bad when that’s what made them so powerful. But that’s what many want today. 
I figure I’ll be accused once again of wanting to get rid of all laws regarding speech, but that’s just not the case. We do need laws prohibiting speech that solicits violence or creates panic, but we don’t need to be broadening those limits. For example, progressives are jumping on the bandwagon claiming that those who talk about the practices of groups like Planned Parenthood (the wholesale killing of babies, the selling of their corpses with all the dispassion of a n auto junkyard) are encouraging the sort of violence we saw recently in Colorado. This couldn’t be further from the truth but, for the left, it seems like we’re now living in a cable TV show: “Truth Is The New Hate Speech”. 
We’re citizens of a nation founded on confrontational revolutionary discourse. We don’t shy from that or cry foul because we don’t like what is said. We combat speech that we find offensive or wrong with our own speech, which us equally protected. It’s the way things change. It’s the way those who are wrong or dangerous are ferreted out and identified. Speech is one of the main weapons that our founders left us with in order to defend and promote what is good and defeat and call out what is evil. But, to use that weapon properly, we have to allow for others to wield the same weapon and we can’t cry foul or run for a ‘safe place’ when we hear things we don’t want to hear. Let’s thicken our skins a bit and embrace the benefits of a society where speech is protected and countered with more speech. 

A Call To Fight For Revolution In The GOP

We’ve had a rocky year politically. At the federal level, we’re seeing the results of two presidential terms of “Hope and Change” that’s left so many Americans feeling hopeless and facing changes that have definitely not been for the better. Our society has been under near constant attack by progressive agendas that treat our Constitution like a nuisance to overcome or weasel around in order to limit speech whenever they decide that speech is inappropriate, trivialize and silence people of faith and attack our right to defend ourselves and others. Progressives push a false environmental narrative that does nothing but spend money with no discernible results. They downplay the importance of laws and securing our borders while painting those who break our laws as the victims. They promote the government taking more and more in taxes, spending more on their pet projects than it brings in and calling it all “charity” and “assistance”. 

Most conservatives, be they Republicans, Libertarians, Independents or even Democrats understand that progressive agendas are wrong-headed and destructive. (And, yes, Virginia, there are conservative Democrats. There’s really only one organization that has the numbers, funding and political clout to effectively oppose it all. It’s effectively stood for liberty, equality and the value of life since its founding, usually in the face of staunch opposition from Democrats. It’s the Republican Party. While modern Democrats today push a false narrative of a “Party Switch” in order to distance themselves from their own party’s past and label Republicans as racist, elitist, homophobic women-haters, the real damage caused in the GOP comes within the party itself. 
Leadership and many in office have become a disappointment more often than not. It seems we’ve gotten very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We create the image of being ineffective and unprincipled by talking big, then capitulating; giving in and backing away from initiatives like defunding Planned Parenthood and our leaders sign off on Obama’s wish lists like this latest Omnibus bill. Add corruption to the mix like Diana Duran’s gambling fiasco and Susanna Martinez’s attempt to misuse her authority…not an isolated incident for her, either…and we create an image of corruption that the left delights in hanging on all Republicans. 
Because of this, so many conservatives shy away from the GOP and members decide to leave. I do understand their feelings. The problem is, there’s really nowhere else to go. There’s currently no other party that has the potential to embrace conservatism so fully and the ability to stand against the Democrat Party effectively. 
The GOP is still the best party for conservatives to unite, but things have to change soon. The majority of Republicans are good people, but who need to actively oppose those who embody terms like “RINO” and “Establishment Republicans” and have been steering the GOP in the wrong direction for way too long. We still have many good officials and leaders and they’re easy to recognize. For the most part, look for the people who make enemies out of the Republican establishment as well as the left. We just need more of them and I know they’re out there. There was an awakening in the GOP with Ronald Reagan and the seeds of revolution were planted with the TEA Party movement. That was a great start, but now’s the time for conservatives to harvest those seeds and either reclaim the Party and restore the principles and integrity it once represented clearly or abandon it to fade into oblivion and create some new unifying force for conservatism elsewhere. For me, I’m not ready to give up. I believe the GOP’s worth saving, but it’ll require conservatives to stand together: conservative Republicans standing up to leadership to force them to do what’s right and other conservatives to step into the Party and add their voices. This is still the party of Lincoln deep down and most members know and embrace that, but we’re long overdue for revolution and reclaiming our Party is a vital step in reclaiming our nation.
Most conservatives, be they Republicans, Libertarians, Independents or even Democrats (Yes, Virginia, there are conservative Democrats…although they tend to be devalued and bullied into silence.) understand that the progressive agenda is wrong-headed and incredibly destructive to our society. There’s one organization that, above and beyond all others, has the numbers, funding and political clout to effectively stand against all this: the Republican Party. The GOP has effectively stood for liberty, equality, personal responsibility and the value of all life since its founding in 1854,usually facing staunch opposition from Democrats. While Democrats today try to push a narrative of a “Party Switch” that is both untrue and fairly incomprehensible to follow in order to distance themselves from their own party’s past actions and try to paint Republicans as racist, elitist, homophobic women-haters, the truth is that the real damage caused in the GOP is committed within the party itself. 

Unfortunately, GOP leadership and many Republicans in office have become a disappointment more often than not. It seems that the Republican Party has gotten very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They talk big, then capitulate; giving Democrats whatever they want, from backing away from efforts to defund Planned Parenthood of federal money to simply signing off on Obama’s wish list with the latest Omnibus bill. They create their own image of being ineffective and unprincipled. Add cases of corruption to the mix that, while pale against the corruption of those on the left, still cause damage to the GOP. Here in New Mexico, we had Diana Duran’s gambling fiasco and Susanna Martinez’s attempt to misuse her authority to punish people she saw as making her life difficult…not an isolated incident for her, either. Their actions are deplorable and do need to be condemned. They create their own image of corruption that the left delights in painting all Republicans as equally corrupt. 
It’s because of all this that so many good conservatives shy away from joining the GOP or decide to leave if they’ve been members…and I do understand their reasoning. The problem is, there’s really nowhere else to go. The Libertarian Party only embraces some conservative principles and many that are clearly liberal. As such, they will probably never be able to gain the numbers necessary to stand against the Democrats. The same numbers problem exists for other smaller parties, like the Constitution Party and the Conservative Party. And those who become Independents are simply throwing away any chance they had for presenting any kind of unified conservative voice. 
The Republican Party is still the best place for conservatives to unite to affect positive change. The majority of Republicans are good people who are truly conservative and who need to become active and oppose those in the Party who’ve created the need for terms like RINO and Establishment Republicans and have been steering the GOP in the wrong direction. It’s not too late to repair the Party. After all, we have many good Republican officials and leaders and they’re easy to recognize. For the most part, look for the people who make enemies out of the Republican establishment as well as the left. There was an awakening in the GOP with Ronald Reagan and the seeds of revolution within the Party were planted with the TEA Party movement. That was a great start, but it seems that now is the time for conservatives to harvest those seeds and either reclaim and reform the Republican Party and restore the principles and integrity that it once represented so clearly or abandon the Party completely to let it fade into oblivion to join the Whigs and start something new to become a unifying force for conservatives to stand proudly together again. For me, and I’m not nearly ready to give up on the GOP. I believe there plenty that’s worth saving there, but it’s going to require conservatives to stand together. Conservative Republicans need to stand up to leadership when it’s wrong and force them to do what’s right. Conservatives who aren’t Republicans need to step back into the Party and stand with their brothers and sisters to make their voices stronger and louder. The Republican Party is still the party of Lincoln deep down, but in order to bring that greatness out again, we need to once again stand united on the principles that the party was founded on and that we still believe in. America was built with a system in place to allow for constant revolution without the need for resorting to violence in the process and we’re long overdue for revolution…first within the Republican Party, then within the nation. 

Thoughts on Thanksgiving…From 227 Years Ago

Two-hundred and twenty-seven years ago, on October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation designating the 26th of November as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. While Thanksgiving itself was actually established by Abraham Lincoln and then passed into law by Congress in 1941, it was Washington who created the foundation and set the tone for what Thanksgiving was to be.

This is what Washington wrote:

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington
This is a far cry from the proclamations of future presidents, especially those of Barack Obama, who has tended to spout historical inaccuracies about the history of Thanksgiving and encourage us to have discussions about health care on this day or, this year, discussions about gun control. It’s obvious that the original purposes of Thanksgiving have been lost to most of us, so let me take a minute to break down the major points of Washington’s original proclamation:

1) It’s the duty of all of us to acknowledge God’s power and position, to obey Him, show gratitude for what he has given us and pray for his protection and favor.

2) Thanksgiving was to be devoted to the service of God so that all Americans could be united in that service, gratitude and time of prayer.

3) We were to ask forgiveness for sins committed against God, both as a nation and as individuals.

4) Our government was supposed to be a blessing to the people by being built upon “wise, just, and constitutional laws”. (I doubt Washington would even recognize out country today, based on what he had envisioned.)

5) We were to pray for the other nations and leaders around the world to be blessed.

6) We were to pray for knowledge in the practice of religion, in being virtuous and in increasing our scientific knowledge, as well. These were aspects of life that were never meant to be at odds with each other, as they have become in many cases.

7) Our successes and prosperity ultimately come from the hand of God and we are to pray for, and be thankful for, such prosperity.

One final point: This is the sort of writing from a sitting president that has those today who desperately want to redefine Freedom of Religion as freedom FROM religion pulling out their hair in frustration. Like it or not, America was founded and built upon a strong belief and dependency in a very Judeo-Christian concept of God. But look at the other writings and prayers of George Washington in comparison. In spite of this insane effort to label Washington as a deist by taking a few statements severely out of context, it’s very clear in his writings that he was a devote Christian who, not only prayed to God, but who also constantly invoked the name and authority of Jesus. That level of specifics is missing from this proclamation for a very clear reason. This is the freedom of religion that is spelled out in our Bill of Rights. The concept of us living under the grace and authority of God was meant to be accepted as true by all of us, no matter what our sectarian concept of God was. Even atheists were meant to accept the concept of us being created equal and that our rights came from some constant and immutable source and definitely not from a document or lawmakers or government. Even without a belief in God, it was expected that we would all understand that there were aspects of our existence that didn’t exist solely at the whim of people in charge. They exist because of a higher authority and a creative force that precedes any man made law or institution.

So, with all that said, let me conclude by saying Happy Thanksgiving. No matter what your beliefs are, may God bless and protect you and yours today and throughout the coming year.

Now, what are you doing sit here reading my ramblings on Thanksgiving of all days?! Go spend time with those who you value in your life and let them know that you value them. And take a few minutes to reflect on all that you have to be truly thankful for. I suspect that it’s a lot more than you normally realize. It always is for me.

I’m going to miss B.B. King

bb_kingEveryone’s doing it right now. Normally, that’s reason enough for me to let something be and focus elsewhere. Today, though, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and talk about B..B King, partly because writing is cheaper than therapy. So, for the next few paragraphs, you, the reader, gets to be my therapist.

My heart is broken. My whole life, I’ve been into music that had others my age rolling their eyes at me. I love all kinds of music, but I tend to gravitate toward sounds that just further labelled me as a weird outsider to many. I was into 70s Rock at the end of the Disco craze. I held onto Punk Rock when New Wave was pushing it out way too soon. I listened to Alternative bands long before they became chic. Through it all though, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for blues. I love the sound of Bobby Bland, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker and so many others. I mourned the death of Koko Taylor in 2009…with only a few other friends who even knew who she was. But, last night, we lost someone who’s name is known by everyone. The King of the Blues, B.B. King has died.

Just looking at that sentence, I want to delete it, somehow take it back and make it not true. I’m not stupid. I know we all die, but something about B.B. felt immortal to me. In spite of his health problems, in spite of his age, when I got a new alert late last night about his death, I couldn’t even process it. I got out of bed and just sat in the living room in the dark for a while before pulling up his music on my iPod and just losing myself in it for a while. The funny thing was, like so many other times in my life, listening to that music made me feel better, more at peace.

I know. It sounds strange, but listening to blues raises my spirits and B.B. King’s music is a great example for why that is. Blues is not just about crying, “Poor me!” Like so many other performers, many of whom were profoundly influenced by him, King’s music was about embracing the pain in life, but doing it with humor and sarcasm and a huge amount of joy. If you don’t believe that, just pull up some videos of him performing. When he was sitting on stage playing Lucille, there was boundless joy shining in his eyes. The message I got from B.B. King’s music: Life can be hard, but it doesn’t have to beat you down. Of course he’d sing about giving up on life to go shopping  for a tombstone instead (All Over Again), but he’d also sing about a woman doing him wrong while making fun of her in the song (How Blue Can You Get). Then he’d sing about a woman with big feet and a big hard head (“Caldonia”) or he’d record a cover album of Louis Jordan classics like “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”.

In later years, he had plenty of health problems including diabetes. The last time he came out to the Blues Festival in southern New Mexico, he slowly shuffled out onstage and sat after performing only one song while standing, but even though he was clearly no longer even close to being the young man he once was, he never stopped performing for as long as he could physically show up and play and he was always wonderfully friendly, gracious and giving of his time to others, especially the younger musicians who came up idolize get him. He played the role of mentor so comfortably to the likes of Eric Clapton and, of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Plus, he could rock the house like no one else!bb_king2

B.B. King was a man who, like we all will, finally succumbed to the frailties and failings of his mortal body. As a man, his life left us with an example of how to live our lives with joy in the good times and bad and how to treat others with humbleness, compassion and respect. As a musician, he remains a giant, a legend, whose music will never fade or lose its impact and whose influence will help mold countless generations of musicians yet to come.

For those of you who took the time to read this, thank you for witnessing me trying to temper my grief with all the positives that a man I greatly admired without ever getting to meet left as his legacy. Tonight, I’m going to listen to B.B.’s music. I’ll grieve his absence from our world and immerse myself in the treasure he left behind. Tomorrow, I’ll get up and try to live according to a very simple sentiment:

Better not look down

If you want to keep on flying

Put the hammer down
Keep it full speed ahead
Better not look back
Or you might just wind up crying
You can keep it moving
If you don’t look down”


Rest in peace, B.B. King

Conservatives Are In Danger Of Committing Suicide

An image posted on a conservative page during this past general election. It's evidence of the fear some conservative elements are succumbing to; their willingness to abandon principle for hollow victory.

An image posted on a conservative page during this past general election. It’s evidence of the fear some conservative elements are succumbing to; their willingness to abandon principle for hollow victory.

This is a transcript from The Midnight Ride podcast (April 2015):

“How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” — Abraham Lincoln, Lyceum Address, 1838

His words prove true every day. We’ve seen it. Those outside our nation can declare war on us, bomb one of our naval bases in Hawaii, threaten to bury us on the floor of the U.N., they can bomb our people and fly planes into our buildings, but they don’t have the power to destroy us. The only power they really have is to hurt us and then they harvest the consequences of attacking America.

The real threat that we face comes from ourselves. Many of us see it and recognize it for what it is: Suicidal acts that, instead of ending us in one quick action, just weaken our nation and nudge us closer to the proverbial grave. We accept small doses of socialism and, as we build up something of a tolerance, we accept more and more. We devalue human life a little at a time until we look in a mirror one day and see monsters staring back with blood on our hands and a reluctance to speak out about the wholesale killing of the unborn. We spend ourselves into oblivion and dive head first into enormous amounts of debt. We voluntarily put on the chains of entitlement and government dependency, we surrender our power and liberties in exchange for greater government control, we trade education for indoctrination, we trade knowledge and information for political agendas and voluntary misinformation from our media. This is nothing new and I won’t stop speaking out against this sort of thing, but it’s something that most conservatives are able to see clearly on their own. When I’m speaking along these lines to other conservatives, I’m basically preaching to the choir. Most of us see it and understand it. We get that the worst damage that’s been done to America has come at the hands of Americans, not from external enemies.

But we, as conservatives and especially as Republicans, have another problem, and it’s one that so many of us don’t seem capable of seeing. It’s one that’s becoming more out of control with every year; every election. The concept of demise by suicide that Lincoln addressed is a universal concept and it’s relevant, not only to our country, but also to smaller groups inside America, like the Republican Party. The GOP used to be the home for conservatives; those who believed in conserving our liberties, in keeping the encroachment of government in our lives to a minimum, in living by the principles laid out in our founding documents. These days? Not so much. The GOP has fractured badly. So many people have run to other so-called third parties, have just become independents or have given up on altogether.

Our nation has turned into a place where people, at best, vote for the lesser of two evils in most elections. Our Party has turned into something where, for the most part, we’re more about compromise and trying not to alienate voters; about getting elected and staying in office instead of standing on principles and being true to our convictions. When we have some like Ted Cruz or Mike Lee or Trey Gowdy or Sarah Palin or even Rand Paul step up and stand on principles instead of taking the stereotypical position of the Republican Party to not rock the boat; to not risk upsetting people, the Party then turns on them, attacks them; tries to ruin their reputations or turn them into scapegoats.

But as bad as it is at those higher levels of government and in the GOP, the worst of it is what we as individuals buy into as well. We trade conviction for ‘compromise’. We trade principles for the chance to win an election. We squeeze our eyes shut and sing the praises of candidates who don’t embody what’s important to us, who don’t offer to strive to be any better than any other career politician that we’re already fed up with. We’re nauseated by business as usual in the political arena, but we then willingly…actively…throw our support to more of the same…people whose only claim to our vote is that they filled out a voter registration form at some point and wrote in the letter ‘R’, yet come Election Day, nothing changes. We continue to throw our votes at the same people who are setting off our gag reflexes.

I believed for a long time that the worst Republican is better than the best Democrat and, for the most part, that still tends to be true. But it also begs the question: Why are we so willing to support the worst Republicans…and do it while publicly expressing absolutely no reservations about them? It’s supposed to be the Democrats that glorify and sing the praises of the untarnished virtues of their candidates, no matter how crooked or corrupt they actually are. Look at Hillary Clinton, Wendy Davis, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid. No matter how many lies, underhanded dealings or even outright corruption they get tangled up in, liberals just stick their fingers in their ears and act like none of it ever happens. The thing that’s disappointing me, is that conservatives are starting to do that more and more, too.

Do we seriously believe that it’s a good idea to be silent on the negatives of the candidates we support? Like their opponents aren’t capable of digging up that kind of information and using it like a weapon against them? All that ends up happening is that we look like hypocrites…small wonder when that’s actually the way we’re behaving.


To give you an idea what I’m talking about, let me share an experience I had this past year. Shortly before the first Republican candidate for the Senate here in New Mexico declared his candidacy, I joined an statewide organization that was focussed on promoting conservatism and conservative candidates in New Mexico. The state director of that group was a great guy, who I’m still friends with today and the members were some of the most passionate and active conservatives I’ve ever come across. I was named a vice-director of the group and served in that position throughout the primaries. The national leadership pretty much left us to our own devices; in large part, I believe, because we were being very effective, picking the candidates we believed in and chose to support. We were so effective because our membership was able to get behind candidates they were proud of; good people who stood for values that our members could identify with. If someone wanted to support a different conservative candidate than who we had decided to endorse, that was fine. We supported their ability to make their own decisions and follow their convictions and it worked amazingly well. Then, the primaries ended and the majority of the candidates we’d supported had won, with the major exception being our choice for U.S. Senate. It happens and the truth is that losing a vote doesn’t always equal defeat and this was definitely the case in this race. I was so proud of every one of our members who stood up, many moving so far outside of their comfort zone in order to make a difference and, win or lose, they really did make a huge difference. Now, that’s all background so I can tell you what happened next.

After the primaries, when the candidates for the general election had been decided, our group’s director had stepped down to do other things and I was approached to be the new director. I was happy to do so, but then, the actual day that I was publicly named as director, I ended up resigning. Here’s the deal: I received a message from the national director of the group. It said,

“Hi, Randy…please request your members right now…to stop bashing Republicans…we all know that there are no good ones and that the party is in alignment with the DEMs in many areas…but we need to concentrate on voting numbers this November…in other words, we cannot say we are going to sit this one out because our candidate didn’t win…we MUST take the Senate away from the Democrats…”

What she was referring to was the fact that a large number of people in the group were disgusted with the man who did win the Republican Senate primary, Allen Weh, myself actually included. At the beginning of the primary season, some of us had discussed what we were going to do if the candidate we’d chosen to support, David Clements, lost. At the time we were all pretty much in agreement that we would gladly support the other guy if that happened. I think I even uttered the words, “The worst Republican is still better than the best Democrat.” The problem is, over the next several months, I had my nose rubbed in those words like a bad puppy. We got to see firsthand, since we were so involved in the campaign process this time around, the true colors of the candidates. It became glaringly clear to me that we’d lucked out in finding a candidate to support who we could truly be proud of. Weh, on the other hand, we got to see more and more of what kind of a man he is, how he treats people, especially those who aren’t on his little team; what he’s willing to stand on and what he’s much happier to avoid even dealing with. Now, this isn’t an attack piece on anyone, so I’m not going to go into a bunch of specifics and spiral off into some out of control tangent.

There were a lot of group members who weren’t happy with the idea of having to support Allen Weh and some of them were vocal about why they wouldn’t. Now, realize, they weren’t being abusive and calling him names or making baseless accusations. They were listing out specific reasons why they wouldn’t support him. Their reasons weren’t untrue and some of it was sort of things that, if he’d simply addressed their concerns and given them some reason to believe that he might be on the same page as them even a little, he might’ve been able to win a few votes, but that never happened.

So I made it clear to this woman, who was functioning at the national level of a conservative group; one that went out of its way to make clear that it wasn’t specifically Republican, that I would not censor people who were backing their positions up with substance. She responded with this:

“As to the elections…..no one knows better than I do how much the Republican party stinks and how it no longer represents the people but its own self interests.”

Let me stop here for just a sec and make one thing clear. I know what she’s talking about. I’ve heard this ad nauseum…how evil the Republican Party is…no better than Democrats. I’ll address this in detail at some point in the future, but for right now, let me just say that this line of thought is nothing more than a giant load. I’m a Republican and proud to be so. I know there’s a lot of bad in the Party and it desperately needs to be cleaned up, but I also have met so many good Republicans this past year, people who I respect and admire, some of whom I’ve come to think of as family, and some who have become role models for me. I refuse to buy into this narrative of how horrible the GOP is. However, keep in mind what she just wrote about the Republican Party and her coming statements about supporting Republicans no matter what and view all this through the context of principles and personal integrity.

“No one knows more than I do how the Republican party is full of people who could care less about the conservative platform and especially the Libertarian…..and are trying to destroy the tea party movement. No one knows more than I that there are candidates I would not want to clean my shoes in the Republican party…..and the party has too many old farts with dead brains and the same ole way of thinking….and that is why I am a conservative American with no allegiance to any political party.

Having said of all of that…..on the other side, we DO KNOW that the Democratic party has been hijacked and taken over by progressives/socialists….so, this party MUST be defeated. The Republican party may stink and full of stinkers but it is still not over the top socialist as the Democrats. Our only chance at survival until another election period is to see that Republicans take away the power in the Senate from the Democrats and that we keep the power in the House. This means we are going to have to suck up and vote for those Republicans. We cannot afford any more whiney babies who are pissed off because a certain candidate did not win. We have to deal with what we have and what we have is one party that is moderate/liberal vs the other party that is progressive/socialist. WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICES THIS ELECTION!!

Sitting out this election like what happened in 2012 will only result in our slide into oblivion more rapid because the Democrats will retain power and control. So, your job is to help your members understand this….it is not what we want, it is not what we like but it is what we have and we must do it. Anyone that wants to decry that they will sit it out….remove them….anyone that wants to knock the plan to take the Senate by not voting for a Senator…remove them….if you cannot see that this an absolute necessity, then perhaps you may not want to do this….I can’t answer for you….but this nation’s survival surpasses all of our personal feelings. It is my personal hope that a viable third party will raise its head early and we will have another avenue we can follow…but we do not have that now and will not have that in time this election. If I lived in TX or KY or SC, I would puke when I went to the polls but I would vote for that Republican Senator running because it is now a matter of numbers….focus on the numbers and not the candidates….that is my message to our members…we are going for the numbers…the candidates may not be perfect but by damn the American people will show these socialists our power by putting in enough numbers to hopefully change the direction of this country. Our brains are amazing things….runs our whole bodies…but if one cell is off, our brain can change and our body can change….same thing here…changing the numbers in the Senate from Democrat to Republican can make a change.

As to you Governor…..I hope she slides into the Rio Grande and an alligator bites her butt…but that is a state issue….you may debate her but you must make primary the Senate race in your state and getting people to vote for that pile of crappola [refferring to Allen Weh] because we NEED THE NUMBERS. As John McCain’s own mother said when he was running for President….’hold our nose and vote for him anyway'”

Where to start with everything wrong with that message? She actually quoted John McCain’s mother and her message to vote for him no matter what. That’s so weak and so empty. We talked on the phone about this as well. A large reason for that was that I wasn’t about to resign in an online message and I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to throw away my principles and convictions like that, so I knew before calling that I was stepping down. But, on the phone as well as here in this message, she had absolutely nothing positive to say about these candidates she was wanting to force people to support. Basically, she was taking the approach that, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” an attitude that’s more likely to end with a knife in your own back as you learn that the enemy of your enemy is actually your enemy, too and you just helped him get rid of two of his enemies with very little effort. And, no, supporting a Republican who doesn’t deserve your support won’t actually kill you, but it will kill your effectiveness. It’ll destroy your reputation and any image of you as having integrity, as standing for what’s right or even just being someone who can be counted on to say what they mean and mean what they say. There’s no nice way to say this: You’ll be seen as a political whore…someone whose values will be tossed aside for something as shallow as a ‘win’ in an election. And I really don’t see how that kind of a perception would be inaccurate under those circumstances.

You can claim to have integrity all day long. You can tout the rightness and the importance of conservatism. You can say that you have values and principles and convictions that are worth fighting for. At the end of the day, if you choose to abandon or even temporarily ignore all of that for the purpose of gaining a win for a candidate when the only positive thing you can actually say about him is that he’s a member of the GOP, then you would’ve been better off keeping your mouth shut from the beginning. See, that way, besides not negating your words by your actions, you also wouldn’t be making things even worse by providing reason to dismiss anything you’ve said before or after this election that you’ve decided is so important as to take a liberal approach of ‘win at all cost’.

Add to that personal level of destruction, the damage that’s then done on a larger scale. When you identify yourself as a conservative, you’re going to be viewed by many as an example of what a conservative is and, usually, what a Republican is, too…especially if you screw up and say or do something where liberals can look at you and say, “Ah-Ha!” So, while you may be claiming that you want conservatives or the Republican Party, or both to be portrayed more accurately…more positively; that you want to see the lies and accusations being spread by the left put down, the truth is, by your words and actions and the image that people build of you based on that, you affect the image of a whole group of people solely because of the image of yourself that others see. Conservatives who have this image of a lack of integrity and no substantial strength in their convictions only succeed in strengthening liberal lies by providing examples they can point directly to.

The final negative effect that I see from this kind of behavior is that it impacts other individual conservatives…the ones many of us call ‘True Conservatives’. Their names change a little from time to time, but they’re the ones who actually stand firm on constitutional principles and right over wrong. The problem is, when you stand strong and solid on your principles; when you don’t falter or turn your back on them, then when you talk about those people who you do support, who embody parts, if not all, of the things that are important to you, people listen. Whether or not they’re going to agree with you, your words and your endorsements carry the weight of your convictions. But when you vacillate; when you actively support people who turn your stomach and embody nothing substantial that you claim to believe in, the next time you try and sing the praises of an actual true conservative, people remember the joker that you threw your support behind before and, instead of your endorsements carrying any real weight, they carry the seeds of doubt as to whether you’re being sincere or just playing the party loyalty game and maybe the person you’re supporting now isn’t really worth it, either.


Now, there’s a couple of other things I want to address quickly. They’re other signs of the weakness and even the decay that’s happening on the conservative side of the street.

Remember, this woman wrote:

“and that is why I am a conservative American with no allegiance to any political party.”

Yet, for having no allegiance, why do you think she’s so gung-ho to demand party allegiance during an election? The answer’s pretty simple and just a little sad. She also wrote:


“we DO KNOW that the Democratic party has been hijacked and taken over by progressives/socialists….so, this party MUST be defeated.”

“Our only chance at survival until another election period is to see that Republicans take away the power in the Senate from the Democrats and that we keep the power in the House.”

“Sitting out this election like what happened in 2012 will only result in our slide into oblivion more rapid because the Democrats will retain power and control.”

So, what is motivating this woman and so many who think like her? It’s fear. Look at what she writes. She has nothing positive to say about the Republicans she’s demanding support for, only negatives about the evils of Democrats staying in power. Her motivation is to stop the Democrats no matter what the cost. Understand, it’s always important to stop the liberal agendas, but we don’t have to turn them into big, scary boogeymen to do so. Once again, that’s what liberals do. She also talks like this past election was the last one that was important and, if we failed to take the Senate and retain the House, then it would be all over. Now understand, fear isn’t always a bad thing; it alerts us to danger and can spur us to action, but this kind of fear causes panic. It shuts down the brain and paralyzes…and that’s just what happened here. I’ve supported some candidates, as we all have, who have very little good to point to as a reason, but there’s always something. Truthfully, until this past Senate race here in New Mexico, I’d never actually encountered a candidate with absolutely nothing positive to focus on…and I voted for Mitt Romney for President…reluctantly, but I did. If I’d chucked my principles aside just to support a candidate like Allen Weh, besides proving that my principles have no real value, I’d be surrendering to that kind of oppressive fear. That way really does lead to the end. In all caps, this woman wrote to me,

“WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICES THIS ELECTION!!”

This kind of fear creates tunnel vision, too. To see only two choices, a kind of binary up or down, is to give up so much of our power, especially that of our voices. In the case of New Mexico, we’re probably looking at somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 voters who did make their voices heard by creating a discrepancy that cannot be ignored by anyone who isn’t completely inept by voting Republican in other state races, but withholding their votes specifically in the Senate race. Of course, if you’re ruled by the fear of suffering losses at the hands of Democrats above everything else, then this sort of option would fill you with nothing but terror and disgust.

She wrote,

“but this nation’s survival surpasses all of our personal feelings.”

“If I lived in TX or KY or SC, I would puke when I went to the polls but I would vote for that Republican Senator running because it is now a matter of numbers….”

“the candidates may not be perfect but by damn the American people will show these socialists our power by putting in enough numbers to hopefully change the direction of this country.”

It sounds good, really passionate, but this is just more evidence of the tunnel vision her fear has created in her. I mean, we’re going to show liberals our power by putting in numbers?! What are we actually showing liberals if we’re putting in people who are truly only Republican in name; people who put more stock in political expediency than in devotion to a conservative point of view? Some of them even embrace liberal tactics to destroy their opponents, even when those opponents are supposedly on the same side, like Thad Cochrane in Mississippi with his smear campaign against primary opponent and Tea Party ally, Chris McDaniel. The only message we’re sending with that sort of behavior is that, if Democrats win, the liberals will be able to continue pursuing their agendas unimpeded and, if Republicans win, chances are that a good number of those aren’t going to do much if anything to change things, so the liberals will be able to continue pursuing their agendas nearly as unimpeded as if a Democrat had won. That’s really showing them, isn’t it?

This can’t be about numbers. It can’t be about fear. And it definitely can’t be about simply doing what’s expected of you because those who’ve allowed themselves to become so short-sighted believe and try to convince others that there are no other options. There was a time before we were a nation that the only acceptable option politically was to petition the king…to appeal to his sense of fairness and justice. Those are two things that simply don’t come naturally to government, whether it’s in the hands of one or many. The idea of taking up arms against the government was so far beyond radical, it simply wasn’t considered an option for many in the colonies. Now, I’m not saying we need to be taking up arms against our government…at least not now. That’s always an option if things ever do get to the point where there are no other options, but we’re still a long way off from seeing that come about.

I am saying that we need to stop chaining ourselves with our fear of what might happen if one of the guys wearing our jersey with a capital ‘R’ on it doesn’t win. We’re not a sports team. We’re part of a political movement that’s supposed to place value on the individual, not on the collective. Yes, we’re stronger when we stand together, but not when we’re standing with those who don’t actually stand with us beyond what they’re willing to say to get our votes come election time. We have God-given gifts that we’ve chosen to ignore for so long, one of those being discernment. We can be so good at using this gift when dealing with liberals, but that’s easy. They’re so blatantly separated from us ideologically that’s it’s easy to spot their flaws. We need to start using our discernment a little closer to home; toward those who put their arms around us, pat us on the back, tell us they’re just one of us.

Sometimes they’re telling the truth; sometimes a partial truth. These are the people we need to look closely at and determine: Are they on the same page as me? Do they believe as I do, at least in the areas that are relevant to the position they’re wanting to be in? Is this a person that, at the end of the day, I can feel positive about giving my support to because, even if we don’t agree on everything, I can point to good things in this person that are evidence that he or she has and is earning my vote?

But sometimes, these people are just using us to get what they want. Our vote is a sacred thing and a valuable thing, even beyond what it can do. It was secured for us by the struggle, sacrifice and blood of so many patriots before us. We have a duty not to squander it; not to cheapen it. Our vote needs to be earned by those who are willing to prove themselves worthy of it by doing more than just writing a certain letter by their name on a registration card or by dressing a certain way or by answering questions about their underwear choice or causing a “thrill” to run up your leg. I’m not talking about refusing to vote for anyone who you don’t like 100 percent…there is no such animal short of each of us voting for ourselves…but, sometimes, it may mean withholding your vote from either candidate when you can find no reason to award it to either one. Many those ensconced in the fear I’ve been talking about, will decry that as the same as voting for the ‘other guy’ or engaging in political ‘scorched earth’ tactics. That couldn’t be any farther from the truth in what I’m talking about here and you should never allow yourself to be cowed or bullied by that sort of drivel.

I have heard so many people, Libertarians especially, condemn the Republican Party for being no different from the Democrats and, unfortunately there are times that I have a hard time arguing against that sort of thing. The truth is, there are times that the Republican Party doesn’t act like anything worth taking pride in. I won’t deny that, but I will say that there are a majority of Republicans who are worth taking pride in, just as there are with conservatives in general. There are also times when the GOP acts in such a way, that I’m very proud to be one of them. Ultimately, though, the Party is simply a group made up by its members and defined by them and their other supporters. It’s up to each and every one of us to decide what the quality of the Republican Party will be. We can either step back and let inertia take it where it will or we can take an active hand in turning it back into something conservatives would be proud to be a part of; something that would be an actual threat to the Democrat Party and specifically to their liberal/socialist agenda that’s been dismantling America for so long.

We have to start thinking differently or, more accurately, we have to start thinking the way our predecessors did. We need to let go of the fear; simply do what’s right and damn whatever consequences we might be afraid of. We need to stop tolerating those within our very ranks who diminish us by not walking the walk and only talking the talk when it gets them what they want. We need to stand up for the values that America was built on and stop acting like it’s okay to treat our fundamental truths as something that can be altered and compromised.

Now, there will be those who will accuse me of having no party loyalty, that I’m perfectly happy burning the Republican Party to the ground. In fact, I’m already being accused of that. Let’s be clear. They’re partially right on he first part. My loyalty is not bought based on, basically, club membership. The currency for my loyalty is a little more specific. I will show loyalty to those who also show loyalty; in the case of our elected officials, the ones I’ll stand with are the ones whose actions show their love for our nation and state and their commitment to our founding constitutional principles and right over wrong. And, believe me, if you listen to me to just a very short amount of time, there’ll be no doubt who has earned my loyalty and support and who hasn’t. As far as the second part, I’m a conservative. I’m also a very proud Republican in spite of all the bad currently in the Party. I believe in the values that the GOP was founded on in the first place: respect for the Constitution, respect for all life, a belief in personal responsibility and limited government, especially at the federal level. I love my Party and I can’t see me ever being happy as a member of any other, but I do see the cancers that have crept into the Republican Party. They’re making us weaker. They’re making us ineffective. They’re making into a joke and, we do crumble, it will be from our own suicidal actions. The best chance that I see to make our communities and our nation better is for good conservative people to take up the role of the revolutionary and cut these cancers out of the Republican Party before it’s too sick to be saved. Only then will we have a vehicle capable of cutting out the socialistic cancers that infect and eat away at our society on every level. Like Jesus spoke in the Bible about first removing the plank from our own eye, we need to first stop plunging this dagger into our own bellies as conservatives and Republicans. Then, we’ll have better leverage to pull away the pistol we have collectively as a nation pointed at our own head.