Dear Next Generation Patriot,
If Bill Ayers…err…Barack Obama could “write” his memoir at the ripe old age of 43, then surely I can drop some knowledge on the next generation even though I’m only 41.
Don’t let my age fool you. For the past 10 years I’ve been intimately involved in politics at a local, state, and federal level—everything from county elections to presidential ones. This has helped me to build an impressive list of contacts around the country. Both household names you know, and movers and shakers behind the scenes you don’t. Along the way I’ve seen, and committed, many mistakes. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again. It’s a compilation of everything I’ve seen work, and everything I’ve seen fail.
I don't claim to know everything, and have altered my views on several things over the years because of maturity, life experience, etc. while never changing my core convictions. When I started out, I was a GOP shill and that didn't work. Then I tried supporting every so-called Christian Conservative (tribalism) and that didn't work. Then I went scorched earth for a while and that didn't work. None of these worked for the same reason. They were all reactionary.
In politics, it’s not always who’s the most right or who’s the most moral that wins. It’s always who’s on offense and being the most proactive that wins.
Too often we spend too little time on tactics and too much time on the nuance of our principles, and then we wonder why we’re ineffective. You’re not always losing because a collapsing culture is turning against your righteous cause. Sometimes you’re losing because you have no idea how to advance your cause, no matter how righteous it is.
Others focus too much on the tactical side and almost not at all on their principles, and then become sell-outs to the process. To them it’s all about winning for winning’s sake. They’re more concerned with personalities than issues. They essentially become slappies for political parties or the candidates. A truly dreadful existence.
Take it from me, because I’ve been both of these guys, they’re both wrong.
It is the harmonic convergence of faith (your principles) and reason (tactics) that creates political success (shameless plug: that harmonic convergence can be found HERE). If your principles/tactics are in conflict with one another you’re doing it wrong. When they complement one another you’re doing it right. If you don’t learn this lesson before it’s too late you become either “grump guy” or “groupie guy.” Each is equally insufferable, albeit for different reasons.
“Grumpy guy” goes from frustrated to angry that he can’t advance his ideology. Convinced it’s because he (or his peers) are more righteous than everyone else. “Groupie guy” (or his peers) is among the first in line to suckle at the teat of whoever the Statist-Corporatist status quo tells us is the most “electable,” making sure his backstage pass gets him closest to the object of his affection.
These two dudes hate each other, when in reality they’re two sides of the same coin. They deserve each other, but your future deserves better. Here are five pitfalls to avoid becoming either of these blights on our body politic:
1) Don't hold up a standard you can't see all the way through consistently or logically yourself, or hold others to it for that matter. And don't support causes/people that do.
2) Be very pure in your principles, but pragmatic with human nature (including your own) being what it is. This is how the Lord works His perfect law through imperfect people in the Scriptures. People are punished for unfaithfulness, and rewarded for faithfulness on a choice-by-choice basis accordingly. The standard never changes, but if imperfect people are willing to advance it don't muzzle the ox while it's treading its grain. Just because someone is not doing it "your way" doesn't mean it's not the right way. Don't worry about what other people are doing unless it gets in the way of what you've been called to do.
3) "Winning" by electing people who don't share your core convictions regardless of party just means “losing” The toughest thing to do in politics is defeat an entrenched incumbent. So don’t entrench people that aren’t with you. This is why I sometimes work harder in primaries than general elections, because depending on who wins the primary the general election may not matter.
4) Trying to talk someone else out of their moral conscience only divides your own allies and pits them against one another. All the while letting the corrupt political class that is the source of the argument off the hook. Always put the emphasis for performance where it belongs – on the employees. It's up to candidates to earn a vote – period. Nobody owes a person or a party or a faction a cotton picking thing. This is self-government, not a cult. The change you want will come by showing loyalty to your principles over the process. Access-based politics never moves an agenda, unless the agenda is cronyism.
5) Watch your back. I repeat: watch your back. Know the difference between a “friend” and a “friendly.” A friend sticks closer than a brother. You will have very few friends in politics if you do this right. However, you will have lots of “friendlys,” or people that for various reasons are aligned with you on a candidate/cause at this point in time. Keep in mind a “friendly” may oppose/betray you later on if they don’t share your motivations.
Finally, we desperately need you. Time is running out on liberty in America. I hope this letter doesn’t dissuade you from getting involved, but encourages you to work smart and not just hard if you do. Please feel free to share it with others.