Forging a new movement is never easy.
The path is fraught with pitfalls and trapdoors, especially because the already established order does not want the new paradigm to gain a foothold. There is gold in them (corrupt) hills after all. The established order will first attempt to co-opt the new movement or turn it into a cult of personality (like theirs already is). If that doesn’t work they will attempt to destroy it. On the other hand, the new movement cannot become so radical and theoretical that it’s unattainable to the masses it wants to reach as well.
Walking this tightrope requires the new movement to be cast with the right vision, and led by those with integrity who share that vision. Otherwise it will not survive or thrive. It will either implode or, worse yet, become an asset to the established order it was founded to overcome.
What I just described is exactly what I believe happened to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which is now nothing more than a pawn for the same Democrat Party that fought to keep slavery and later Jim Crow in place for decades. I also believe this is what happened to the Religious Right whose values I share. We became so closely aligned with the Republican Party that its leaders now believe they can abandon our issues altogether and we’ll still vote for them.
This is now the same river Rand Paul steps into.
I believe there is clearly a tug-of-war within the liberty movement, which is the only right-of-center movement attracting new and younger voters at the moment. Therefore, all of us that care about the future of freedom in America are vested in this internal struggle, regardless of whether we support Rand Paul’s 2016 aspirations. I see this up close and personal because I live in Iowa, which the liberty movement invested heavily in during the past two Iowa Caucuses. Many of the best friends I have in politics were inspired and nurtured to get involved by the liberty movement.
The movement seems to be wrestling with some existential questions.
- Is it a movement to advance a slate of issues/principles, or is it a movement intended to get Rand Paul elected the next president of the United States? The truth is if it’s the latter, that’s precisely how Rand will never win—as the civil rights and Religious Right movements of yesteryear can now attest. Once the acquisition of power replaces the mission the vision becomes compromised, and so does the movement.
Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.