Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Face-to-Face, not Facebook, Conservatism

For the past five months, I have worked with a citizen activist group called We the People Rising. This coalitions of freedom-loving conservatives, fed up with elected officials not doing their job, has put all politicians – Republican, Democrat, or anything else – on alert regarding immigration and enforcement of the rule of law. For decades, Americans have waited for their federal government to protect this country. Secure borders and immigration enforcement have remained wanting despite the promises of politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Instead of pouting, We the People Rising started shouting. Instead of sitting at him and gossiping, men and women throughout Southern California are getting up and getting in elected officials’ faces.  Theirs is the bold example which more Americans need to follow. Instead of just complaining about the undoing of our society, the Left-wing onslaughts on our homes and communities, more concerned citizens, more conservatives need to do something about it.

Social media matters, granted, but sharing information with everyone we know, and those who already know what is going on, is not enough. Facebook can unite otherwise distant (and even fractious) causes to work together for the greater conservative good. Recently, however, I have noticed that some conservatives rely on their social media as a replacement for activism. How will minorities in heavily Democratic districts learn about Republican values and conservatives principles, unless someone goes and tells them? The connection does not end with Facebook posts, or joining online chats, but going places and speaking to people whom you do not know.

So, where are the fighters? Where are the concerned citizens clashing with the business-as-usual statist status quo? Founding Father Thomas Paine blasted this come-and-go “sunshine patriotism”. Some American colonists who would run when the going got tough. Sitting at home on the computer is not running away from the fight, but it’s not running into the heat of battle, either. Whether we like it or not, the war for liberty, for restoration of our rights and the rule of law, is long and hard, and there will be hiccups and setbacks along the way.

Today, whether in California or Texas, we do not need sunshine patriots. We flashlight, sunlight, and even moonlight fighters to confront city leaders and state elected officials; men and women of conviction and conscience, not compromise and cowardice, to stand and stick out the long haul.

Sadly, my colleagues have not only faced recalcitrant representatives, but reluctant partisans. They love to blog, post, and complain online. Are they registering new voters? Campaigning in local elections? Do they contact their councilmembers and school board members to utter their complaints and demand a change in leadership? Party leaders and organizers face the same hardships which I have met and which We the People Rising are trying to overcome.

Let’s state the facts bluntly: too many people want to be Facebook conservatives, but we need more face-to-face conservatives. Liberty leads to security and prosperity. These outcomes need to stand out in the middle of the street, not just on the computer screen or the Twitter feed. Individuals will not honor your cause for liberty unless they see you and me putting our liberty to their service. Are you reaching out to the poor and infirm in your communities? Are you organizing to raise money and win elections? Do you hold your elected officials accountable when they do wrong? How about praising them when they do right?

85% of life is showing up, I told one city council in the Los Angeles Area. We need more people to step up and get face-to-face with residents, with communities, and government bodies. I admit that for years, I never said or did anything about my city or school board. I was not paying attention. II did not heed the complimentary advice of "The most important political office is that of the private citizen."

Even though the status of citizen commands more power than ever, and even though our Constitution states "We the People”, too many people do not take responsibility for their government. They are not exposing bad decisions, they are not calling for better representation. Voters must understand that good governance requires more than consistent voting. Activism is too serious a business for entitled college students, welfare recipients, and labor unions.

Pressure should mount from all directions against elected officials who do not uphold and defend the United States Constitution. There is  no better pressure than getting in someone’s face and demanding “Why did you do that?” or “When will you take care of this?”

Confrontation, not accommodation, is key. The farmers on the fields of Lexington and Concord did not write letters to one another or prattle in local taverns. They stood their ground on the battleground and fired “The Shot Heard Round the World.”

Today, the same principles hold true. Facebook is not enough, and Twitter will only tweet so much. If you want to make a difference, you need to face the challenges, face off against the adversaries, and make them face the music when they do not vote your way. 

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