Over twenty years ago, I asked myself a very important question: “Do I love freedom?”. The answer, of course, was “yes”. Immediately afterwards, I asked myself another question: “What is Freedom?”. That was an answer that I didn’t have. I knew it was something great and I knew it was something important, but I could not define it. So I asked myself another question, “If I love Freedom, shouldn’t I know what Freedom is?”. I spent the next twenty years learning about “Freedom”, and I still don’t have all the answers, but at least now I have a clue.
I began to open books such as the Making of America by Cleon Skousen, and the Federalist Papers. I read Founding Father quotes, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution. I read them over as much as I could, learning about the founding of this great country.
In 1994, I attended my first Republican state convention in Denver, Colorado as a delegate. I remember absorbing it all as the party handled business in McNichols Arena. I thought I knew the Constitution then, but when I stepped out into the halls I overheard two men discussing the United States Constitution. Listening to them cite the Constitution and discussing policy, I quickly realized that I did not know nearly enough about the Constitution. It was a humbling for me to realize that while I preached the Constitution, there were people out there that had the it memorized and I was ill-prepared for a conversation with them. For twenty years, I studied the foundation of America while I remained active in politics.
Like many of you, I have had my frustrations with the Republican Party in general. In 1992, I joked about George Bush, saying “If I wanted a Jackass for President, I would have voted for a Democrat”. In 1996, I rallied around Bob Dole, though he wasn’t my first or second choice (Phil Graham and Alan Keyes were). In 2004, I flirted with the idea of switching to the Libertarian Party, only to discover that many Libertarians had a big government ideology. In 2008, I supported Ron Paul, but backed off that choice after having to deal with some of those people, and again, after discovering that some of them were actually for bigger government.
Are there reasons to be disappointed in the Republican Party? Of course there are. In 1913, the income tax was advanced by a Republican. Yes he voted against it, and his intention was to embarrass the Democrat party, but it passed. Republicans have had many leaders who were for big government and even more who have compromised our principles, but, where is the ideology of conservatism? While many people remain pessimistic on the future or freedom in America, I remain optimistic.
It wasn’t always feasible for conservatives to advance or maintain our freedom. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, FDR advanced a socialist agenda, and with Democrats in control of both bodies of congress, Conservatives had no chance at stopping them. Then came Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, who carried the torch of Liberty. William F. Buckley came along and carried that torch, and he passed it on to Ronald Reagan. Reagan, while conservative, had to deal with a Democrat led congress. Reagan took his argument to the people and in doing so, passed the torch to Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh passed the torch to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and many others, and in 1994, Republicans held congress for the first time in 40 years. Still pessimistic?
Since the turn of the century, we’ve had the rise of conservative bloggers. They have reached out to thousands of people, and in doing so, thousands more now make the case for conservatism in their own blogs, to their neighbors, at work, in chat rooms, and on social networking sites. Conservatism is on the rise in this country, and Barack Obama can no longer take his argument to the people because those people are too informed.
While so many decry that Republicans will take us to the same place as the Left, only slower, I’ll take that every day. Conservatives are doing exactly what they need to do, wining the hearts and minds of the general public, and if we can have more time, we will win. If we give up then all is lost.
I am a Republican because I am a conservative, because I love my country, and this is the party that welcomes conservatives. I am a Republican because I believe in less taxes AND less government. Most of my Republican friends feel the same, and whiles we may disagree on the best way to achieve that, we do agree on the basic concept. One thing is certain, Freedom should never be dependent on the election of one man.
If you believe in Less Taxes and Less Government, you have four options. The first is to give up, but then giving up means you accept the consequences of what happens from your inaction. The second is to join the Libertarian Party, and for forty years, they have griped and complained, but what have they accomplished? Third, you could join the Conservative or Constitutional Parties, but while they fight with the Libertarian Party over disgruntled conservatives, what they will accomplish is dividing us even further. The final choice is to join other conservatives, and have a willingness to learn from them. Unfortunately, what we who have been involved for a long time have found is that many of these people are full of criticism for us. The question that runs through our minds while those people criticize us is simply this, “If you know so much more than us about how things work, where were you in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008?” We’re thankful for those who want to join the fight, but before you criticize us, please remember that while you were out partying or doing whatever you were doing, it was us who toed the line of freedom for you.