This is a Tax Freedom Day Rally speech from April 15, 2012 in Medford, Oregon.
This is a Tax Freedom Day Rally speech from April 15, 2012 in Medford, Oregon.
The reactions I’ve gotten to my Tea Party speech are varied. Some people seem to think I was saying we should all be good little Republicans and vote for whomever “they” put on the ballot. One person actually thought I was advocating taking up arms against our government. (Not sure how he got that…)
Let me clarify my intent. If we truly want to take our country back, and restore it to the Republic that our founding fathers intended, we need to do it within the framework established by our founding fathers. That means we do it by voting. Voting alone is not sufficent, however. We need to get actively involved.
Setting aside wishful thinking, and acknowledging the reality of our two-party system, if we want to effect change in our government, we need to control one of the two major parties. The Democrat Party has already been spoken for by socialists; we’re not going to get much traction there. The Republican Party was originally founded on the same principles on which the Tea Party movement is founded. It seems reasonable to believe we have a chance of restoring that party to its true, legitimate roots.
I believe the Republican Party has betrayed the principles on which it was founded, and has been betraying them for years. I’m by no means suggesting that conservatives should fall in with the party line. I’m saying the opposite. Conservatives should be the ones defining the party line. The party line (platform) is formulated by the members who actively participate as PCPs and delegates. It’s very easy to become a PCP, and the PCPs elect the delegates. If we want to take back the party, we have to do it from within. That means registering Republican and working as grass roots activists within the party to rebuild it from the ground up.
As individuals, whether it makes more sense to register Republican or third party depends on the goals we want to achieve. If our goal is to find other idealistic people who all agree with us, we’re more likely to achieve that goal in a third party, because it’s a smaller, more narrowly focused group. If our goal is to actually change our government, and truly take our country back, the very quality that makes third parties effective in achieving the first goal makes them unable to achieve the second. We need massive numbers to achieve change in government.
If we can concede that we will always have some differences, but work together on the common goals that are most important to all of us, we can stop this country’s slide toward socialism and actually turn it around. But it takes a willingness to focus on the core goals that unite us (small government, less regulation, lower taxes) and a willingness to set aside (at least temporarily) the issues that divide us. And it takes a willingness to commit some of our time and energy to the worthwhile effort of taking our country back.
The idea of taking up arms against our government seems to have an appeal to some people. As a realist, I’m very much aware that, no matter how many weapons we might stockpile, we cannot outgun the mightiest military the world has ever known. Military technology has come a long way since 1776. In fact, the government wouldn’t even need to send in the military to quell a rebellion today. They could just shut down the power grid. That’s reality.
I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t stockpile weapons. I’m just saying it won’t help us save our nation. However, if it should come to pass that we do actually lose our country, then a stockpile of weapons could come in very handy. But, by that point, our nation would already be irretrievably lost, along with the ideals and principles upon which it was founded. I hope and pray it never comes to that.
OK, McCain it is. I’m not happy. You’re probably not either. I don’t know who all these “Republicans” are who are voting for him in the primaries, because I’m not aware of one person who likes him. But, be that as it may, the RINOs have spoken and McCain is going to be the Republican candidate. What do we do now?
The pragmatists will weigh the pros and cons and decide which candidate will do less harm to the country. The petulants will go home and sulk, and either not vote at all or throw away their vote on a third party candidate. The punitives will actually cross over and give aid and comfort to the enemy in our country’s time of crisis, and cast their vote for the Democrats out of spite.
From a pragmatist perspective, what are the key issues? The economy, the war, immigration, healthcare, and Supreme Court appointments are probably the most important.
The economy is a big one, because there’s a fundamental philosophical difference in the way Republicans and Democrats address the problem. Republicans believe in fixing the economy by cutting taxes to stimulate growth. Democrats believe the way to fix the economy is by raising taxes and redistributing the wealth. Which do you prefer?
The war is another big one. Would you rather we fight it over there or over here?
On immigration, it’s a wash. They all supported the same immigration bill. Yes, McCain was a sponsor of it, but it’s the one thing on which they all agree, so there’s no win here.
On healthcare, we all know what Mrs. Clinton’s plan is.
There are likely to be three Supreme Court Justice appointments during the next administration.
There’s another consideration for the pragmatists. The president appoints the heads of a lot of federal agencies. If we have a Republican (or even a RINO) in the White House, these federal agencies are going to be run by Republicans. If we elect the Clintons or Obama, they’ll be run by socialists. Remember, it’s not just the president you’re voting for, it’s the party, too.
Question of the day: If McCain were to choose Fred Thompson as his running mate, would that change your mind?
If a RINO is a Republican in name only, the opposite is someone with traditional conservative values who doesn’t identify as a Republican. Who are these people? Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Independents, and even conservatives who’ve given up on the system and no longer register to vote. My esteemed friend, the Sidewinder, refers to them as apostate Republicans. Most of them wouldn’t be caught dead voting for a Democrat but, for whatever reason, they’re disenfranchised from the Republican party. Some of them quixotically vote for third party candidates. Others, more cynical, don’t vote at all.
Why should Republicans care? After all, these apostates are not true believers. If they did come uninvited to the party, they’d no doubt be disparaged as RINOs. But can the party really afford to be so exclusive? Apostates though they may be, they’re also voters, or at least potential voters, and their numbers are inexorably increasing while mainstream Republicans are on the decline. (Look at the results of the last election, and consider the consequences if that happens again.)
I’m not advocating voting for RINOs, when there are true conservative options. But the last thing the Republican party can afford is to drive the RINOs away. The party can’t continue to view itself as a members-only club, or a church of true believers, while the Democrats set themselves up as a populist block party, everybody welcome, with free food (and healthcare) for anyone who’d rather get something for free than work hard to earn something better.
There are still a lot of people who share the traditional values on which our country was founded. But many of them are drifting away from the Republican center of gravity, and it’s going to take a concerted effort to reach out and draw them in. It’s time to start focusing on what we all have in common, rather than what separates us.
I’m an apostate, myself. I’ve been a libertarian for 28 years (and no, I don’t support Ron Paul). But I’m registering Republican this year because I’m so disturbed by the Democrats’ misguided agenda, and so apprehensive that they will prevail, that I see a real need for conservatives of all persuasions to form a united front to defeat them.
I’m not particularly partial to any of the remaining Republican candidates, but I tend to favor Giuliani. He’s got the strongest position on the economy and on national security, and he has a record of getting things done. (Does anybody remember the 1976 movie Taxi Driver, when Travis Bickle, a New York cabbie, said “Someday a real rain will come, and wash all this scum off the streets?” Well, the real rain did come, and it was Rudy Giuliani.) But, at this point, I’ll support whichever one wins the nomination. An actual elephant would no doubt be best, but even a RINO is better than a donkey bearing a staggering socialist agenda.
The Hydra was a mythical monster with the body of a snake and a hundred heads. Every time one of its heads was cut off, a new one grew in its place. The Islamic terrorist network, spread out across the world, is the modern day Hydra. It has many heads. And, any time you cut one off, a new one will soon replace it. But it’s funded by a small handful of very wealthy countries, who fund it through the proceeds from oil. We cannot kill the Hydra by cutting off its heads. The only way to kill it is to cut off its source of funding.
Ron Paul and the Democrats would have us believe that all we need do is go home, and the Jihadists will leave us alone. To me, that seems naive. Remember, the Islamic terrorists started this war by attacking us at home, on our own soil, killing several thousand civilians in our nation’s largest city and attacking our Pentagon. Before that, there was a whole series of escalating attacks spanning over two decades.
Our policy of turning the other cheek up until 9/11 only emboldened them. They kept escalating the violence until they hit us so hard we couldn’t ignore it. And they’re going to continue waging war on us, whether we fight back or not, until Allah grants them victory (as they’re confident he will). Ignoring them hasn’t worked in the past. Why would it work in the future?
Bringing our troops home before the job is done would result in bringing the war home with them. Is that really what America wants?