One of the most troubling aspects of our politics is the subjectivity inherent in the development of our worldview. We make our political arguments in the language of objectivity, morality, and verifiable epistemological claims. However, political parties have rarely existed primarily to develop worldview or political philosophy; rather, they exist in response to worldview and prevailing political philosophies (or the lack thereof).
Years after the Catholics, eventually (after a decade or two) followed by the Evangelicals, rallied in opposition to abortion, the Republican Party adopted (or at least advertised their adoption of) a “Pro-Life Agenda.” The Democrat Party adopted a “Pro-Choice” agenda and there we have, against this most controversial issue, a separation of the vast majority of the people into two warring ideological camps. All this despite the fact that, since 1973, abortion has remained the purview of the Courts and seldom infringed upon by the partisan wings of State or Federal legislatures.
Needless to say, our loyalties to our political parties have more to do with the worldview and ideologies shared by our fellow citizens. In fact, when the leaders within the Republican Party fail to align their priorities with those of the majority of their voters, we call them Republicans in Name Only. It seems to me, however, that it has never been the case that these RINOs reject the ideology or worldview of their “base.” Rather, they prioritize that which they can easily control over that which is extremely difficult for them to influence.
The pragmatic conversions of so many legislators is , in many ways, understandable, and even something with which we can sympathize. While they may go in highly informed by their moral, social, and ideological worldview, that worldview is invariably altered by their new environment—an environment aptly referred to these days as “The Swamp.”
However, is it “The Swamp” because of those people whom we’ve elected? Or, is “The Swamp” simply a swamp, thus carrying with it all the systemic influences sufficient to change the people who are sent to operate inside it? Or is it a little bit of both?
Every year I seem to learn to expect less immediacy and efficacy from my governments; understanding that no one man or woman is capable of reforming all the others, nor reforming the very system within which they operate. I have learned that much of the change we’re looking for must take place incrementally. Therefore, as citizen activists, we must have a clear idea of our strategy within this reality.
Incrementalism must be a the heart of our political strategy. Changing and shaping our society is also necessary. Currently, liberals control most institutions of public and private education. They used to control our media, but the sheer number of conservative alternatives makes the claim that liberals dominate the media somewhat laughable.
So what can be done? It seems unlikely that conservatives will ever retake our schools; but there is one environment still up for grabs. Technology has done quite a number on our inclusiveness as communities. We spend less and less time with fewer and fewer people. We find ways of actually being busy when we’re at home. Neighborhood BBQs, community charity groups, or community beautification efforts are few and far between. I believe that conservatives could have a tremendous impact on national politics if they would but serve as catalysts toward community development, charity, and local events. (I am not hypothesizing here: I’m simply reporting what I’ve seen in my own county).
Relationships matter in both the public and private sector. You’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s who you know.” However, when aiming for a moral or political impact, it’s not merely who you know, but how those who know you feel about you. Do they trust and respect you? Have you given them any reason to?
Many Independents are Independents because they believe that Democrats are irresponsible idealists who will bury America in debt and government if left unchecked, and because they believe that Republicans don’t care about the poor or for one another. I believe that, if Republicans truly did become the very embodiment of charity and community—if we really did work hard to care about the poor and to promote those values which encourage one another to care for one anther—that there would be no Independents.
How much influence do we have in our communities? What is our moral footprint?
I believe that expanding our moral and social footprint would deprive the progressives of Independents who vote with them purely on basis that they feel like Democrats care more about the poor than Republicans do. By becoming the leaders in our own communities, by bettering our communities (by the way, you’ll need to work with your local Board of Supervisors), and by demonstrating real free-market solutions to poverty through charity, we can make real incremental differences in the mindset of the people living in our communities over the coming decades.