As the 2010 election cycle gets set in motion, I’m hearing Christian-conservative-Constitutional-and liberty-minded people beginning to discuss candidates. They are looking to see which announced candidate will become the ‘favored son’ that their group, organization or social circle will invest their time, money and effort in hoping him to be the one who will carry the banner for their cause and deliver them from the dreaded liberals.
Normally, ‘the great conservative hope’ for any given election cycle, is selected by a reactionary process of vesting all our hope in the first candidate who throws out some conservative sounding rhetoric and appears to be able to beat the evil liberal nemesis. Happily, in the current election cycle, I have heard a few people (too few) speaking of the need for a candidate vetting process for their group or organization.
May I be the first to say (though I’m probably not really the first), that until Christian, conservative, Constitutional and liberty-loving people and organizations establish such a vetting process that looks to clearly defined, fixed, objective standards for assessing candidates, the so called conservative cause is doomed and will only proceed ever farther down the path of socialism, humanism and irrelevance.
Without such a standard to guide us, we will never know when we have lost our way. I believe that, in great part, the conservative movement has indeed lost its way and doesn’t even know it because we have forgotten, lost sight of, or become compromised in our understanding of key principles of original, Constitutional Americanism.
May I suggest, recommend, beg and implore, that every person, group or organization that considers themselves conservative, Christian, Constitutional or part of the liberty movement, establish a fixed, objective standard for assessing candidates, then, measure the candidates by that standard and refuse to move the standard. Then may I ask, that we have the courage to stand our ground and withhold our support and even our vote, from candidates who do not sufficiently meet that standard.
And no, it is not acceptable to support a candidate simply because they are considerably better than the liberal. If we continue to compromise and settle for less than what we know to be right and believe to be necessary, then the political powers that be will rightly assess that they can continue to force on us whatever candidate they choose and we will continue to accept that candidate so long as there is a liberal to fear who we are told “Must Be Beat.”
I see two primary issues – the lack of an objective standard to guide us and our willingness to move or ignore the standard – an act which has its roots in fear.
Every politically-inclined group or organization will end up supporting or indicating support for a given candidate. Though the group might not openly give endorsements, it is inevitable that such a group will end up favoring a certain candidate, mentioning their name in communications or doing something that will influence the groups followers to favor and ultimately support that candidate. Therefore, it is imperative that every organization or loosely organized group of individuals who are in anyway politically active, establish a standard for objectively scrutinizing candidates for public office.
Without a fixed standard, we fall into the trap of comparing one candidate with another, or one political party with another. Television, radio, newspapers and the Internet inundate us day and night with the terms “liberal” and “conservative” with talk of “Republicans” and “Democrats”, constantly pitting one against the other or comparing one to the other, as though these comprise the entirety of the political spectrum. We find ourselves subconsciously and unwittingly falling into the trap of assuming that we have only two choices, must fall into one of these two camps and must necessarily align ourselves with either the candidate given the title of ‘liberal’ or the one to whom is given the title ‘conservative’. Sadly, we often do this without questioning who gave the candidates these titles or whether they deserve the title.
Just because two are pitted against each other does not automatically make one good and the other evil, one right and the other wrong. In World War II, Hitler and Stalin were pitted against each other – was one evil and the other good?
Several years ago (2003), I got a hold of a ‘conservative index’ that rated members of the US House based on their adherence to constitutional principles, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and foreign policy. I got curious and put the data into a spreadsheet and did some filtering and sorting to discover the average score by party affiliation. The results revealed to me that the Democrats cast a constitutionally sound vote 32% of the time while Republicans upheld Constitutional principles a whopping 43% of time. Lest you think that was a fluke, I did the same thing with a score card for the 109th Congress (2005-2006 – a Republican Congress under a Republican President) and found the Republicans were chasing the Democrats down the slippery slope toward socialism with an overall score (House & Senate combined) of Democrats 31% Constitutional and Republicans 42%. Looking at just the House alone, the score was Democrats 37%, Republicans 38%.
Those statistics helped open my eyes to see in a very quantitative way, the fact that it is not enough to compare one candidate or party to another and think that by choosing the better one your cause is winning. You can continually elect candidates who are better than the alternative and still continually be loosing ground.
We MUST have a fixed, objective standard to use as a measuring stick to measure all candidates by, then be honest with ourselves about the results. Without such a standard, all our political activism is mere motion, blown by the political winds as the powers-that-be daily redefine the term “conservative” and we daily move the marker and go stand next to whatever is called conservative today.
Proverbs 22:28 warns us “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” As Americans, we have some landmarks to guide us – we have the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the governing principles adhered to by our nation’s founders. But today, even well-meaning Christians and conservatives are often times departing from these landmarks and often without even realizing it.
May I challenge and encourage every Christian, conservative, Constitutional and liberty-loving organization, to establish a clearly defined standard by which you and your followers can scrutinize all candidates for public office.
The Fear Factor
I would be failing my duty of love toward my brethren and fellow man, if I did not point out what I view to be perhaps our greatest failure and a trap used to ensnare us.
My Bible records the precise phrase “fear not” 20 times and “be not afraid” 21 times. I am told there are at least 100 clear commands not to fear, including the statement that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Now I know that as good Christian, conservative people, we wouldn’t go around sinning on purpose. Yet somehow, whenever conservative people start talking to me about an upcoming election or a particular race, the first thing I hear about is the feared and dreaded liberal in the race who “must be defeated” at any cost. Once I hear such words of ‘fearing the liberal’, from the lips of good Christian and conservative people, I rarely, if ever, subsequently hear of the need to hold the so-called conservative in the race to the standards that would have been advocated by the same people any other day of the year.
Once we yield to fear, we instantly become vulnerable and can be easily manipulated, even to the point of becoming willing to compromise our standards when told it is necessary in order to overcome the source of our fear – – – the dreaded liberal.
Sorry to wax spiritual in the middle of a political writing, but the fact is that fear is one of Satan’s chief tactics. Fear is the spiritual counterpart of faith – the same mechanism of the human spirit working in reverse, looking to and fearing for what Satan wants to do to us rather than looking to and trusting in what God has promised to do for us. Once we open the door to fear and allow Satan’s intimidation tactics to begin to affect us and guide our decision making process, we become easy prey. Satan has spent thousands of years observing human nature and is a master psychologist and manipulator. Once you give him the tool of fear to use over your life, he can get you to do pretty much anything.
This is why it so grieves me to hear conservative people talking about their “FEAR” of the liberal. We may not actually use the word “fear”, but listen closely the next time you are around a group of conservatives and you will see fear is exactly what is at work in our midst. Fear puts us in a position where we can be easily manipulated. Satan (and certain people in the political realm) will most certainly exploit such fear and use it to his advantage, if only to get conservatives to ‘compromise’ so we supposedly win – yet the minute we compromise, we’ve really lost.
I will say it again, there is only one way for the Christian, conservative, Constitutional and liberty causes to succeed and that is by the establishing of a clearly defined, fixed, objective standard that we measure all candidates by. Then, we must refuse to compromise that standard even in the face of fear.
I ask you to consider, in any given election, which candidate would you advocate, acknowledge as the righteous choice, support and give the precious empowering virtue of your vote to if you had no fear, or if there were no liberals to fear. If we are voting in any other manner, then we have already succumbed to fear, allowed it to influence us to adjust our values according to its dictates and have yielded our virtue to it.
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”
John Quincy Adams
The following are links to resources that you might find helpful in putting together a Constitutionally sound candidate questionnaire or voters guide.
Is Your Elected Representative Competent? – A flyer containing questions to ask elected representatives, or candidates, and some guidelines for voting on issues.
28 Principles of the Constitution – This is actually a summary, or ‘cheat sheet’ if you will, of the 28 principles found in the book, The 5000 Year Leap.
The Freedom Index (formerly the Conservative Index) – This semi annual report card on congress highlights the key issues and rates the performance of legislators in light of Constitutional limits, sound fiscal policy, national sovereignty and more.
Constitution Party Platform – Yes, I realize this one is partisan, but it’s a good platform and a good candidate ought to measure up to it.
Institute on the Constitution – If you are ready to dig a little deeper or find that you need to get yourself better grounded in America’s founding principles in order to properly assess the candidates, then this 12 lecture study course might be the right thing for you.
Institute on the Constitution main site: http://www.iotconline.com/
Order the study course here: http://www.iotconline.com/IOTC-NewSite/hostkit.html
The 5000 Year Leap – This is the popular book that you’ve probably already heard about on talk radio shows. It is a study of the United States Constitution from a principle based approach. Learn where the founding Fathers got their ideas for sound government and how a return to these ideas can solve our nations problems today. This book and many other excellent resources can be found at:
Also, check out the “U.S.I.Q.” game: http://www.nccs.net/constitution/q-start.php