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.
“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.