A few weeks ago Rush Limbaugh threw his listeners into a depression when he made the point that winning the Senate wasn’t winning the game.
“I think that focus on winning the midterms in 2014 and who the nominee is gonna be in 2016 is way shortsighted,” Rush told listeners.
He then spent the rest of his show apologizing for depressing his audience, trying to explain what he meant—saying much the same thing I have been trying to tell frustrated Americans for years—liberty doesn’t begin in Washington!
As Rush said, “We have way more to do than just win an election if we are serious.”
If all we want is a short-term fix then winning an election is enough. But if we want long-term results, if we really want to revive America’s founding ideals, and not only restore but secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our children, then we need to look well beyond this one election because the other side certainly is.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not dismissing the gains of that first down. We got some really good people elected to the Senate; but I don’t look at letters to determine gains, I look at individuals. R’s and D’s are about politics. That means nothing to me and I think most Americans feel the same way. I look at how many statesmen were elected; and I don’t dismiss a powerful gain in someone like Ben Sasse being elected to the U.S. Senate simply because Nebraska was already “red”.
This is not a game, but Rush’s analogy works. This election isn’t about numbers, letters and color-coded maps. It’s about building a team of players—statesman—who will play the long game and keep running the ball even when the fans want you to drop it. And don’t think that won’t happen. I’ve seen it. We’ve witnessed it in this very election. Ben Sasse was elected to the U.S. Senate because of his strong support of family and his firm commitment to Constitutional and Free market principles, yet thousands of those same voters voted to raise the state minimum wage. How can Nebraskans reconcile that? And for those of you who don’t understand the question, I’m sorry, but you are part of the problem.
Nebraska isn’t alone. Three other states—Alaska, Arkansas, and South Dakota did exactly the same thing. Support for the minimum wage among voters became so strong during the midterm election cycle that some of these very same conservative candidates caved to the pressure saying they would support it.
Progressive groups and labor organizations have used the broad public support for raising minimum wage to their advantage. They have made a point of putting it on the ballot at the state level to bypass legislators, recognizing that the ballot box appeals to a more sympathetic audience. That “sympathetic audience” voted to pass a tax increase on millionaires in Illinois and for strict, universal background checksfor gun purchasers in Washington State.
And that’s the crux of the matter.
How can we as citizens expect to have a government that respects the Constitution and values the principles of liberty our nation was founded on if we don’t? Mark Steyn stated it most profoundly when he said, “You cannot have a conservative government with a liberal culture.”
This goes far beyond an election and way deeper than the U.S. Capital. It isn’t about labels, letters, or who has control of what. It all comes down to one simple principle.
Either we’re for it, or we’re not. It’s that simple.
Before we can determine which position is ours, however, we must first know what it is, because though we say we are for liberty, we too often go to the polls and vote against it. We claim we are for liberty but we are rarely willing to make the sacrifices or put in the time and attention needed to preserve it.
It is dangerous to consider this election a victory because that means the game is over for us—but it is never over for the Destroyers of Liberty—and they come in all shapes, sizes and letters. They will keep passing the ball of destruction from one player on their team to another, like some kind of inheritance, until they achieve their final goal—the absence of liberty.
Rush expressed this well. “Their victory,” he said, “is converting this country into pure, undisguised, unmistakable socialism with an expansive, growing government, with attack after attack…on achievers, on prosperity, on capitalism, on successful people—the effective elimination of the Constitution. That’s theirobjective. What is our objective? Win an election.”
We can’t afford to slow down or take a break because those whom we elect count on it.
Our vote came with expectations. But what if those expectations aren’t fulfilled? It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. Who will hold their feet to the fire if we are not engaged and paying attention to what’s going on? It’s already started. Harry Reid announced “the message from voters is clear. They want us to work together.” Well that all depends on what they’re working on now doesn’t it?
This is the long game and if we want to win it we have to stay in the game!
We need to know our rights and fulfill our responsibilities. We need to be attentive to our local politics, engage in our neighborhoods and communities. We need to study the Constitution, and learn the principles and values of liberty on which our nation was founded—so that we don’t find ourselves being the ones asking our player to drop the ball.
It is going to mean paying attention, it will take time and it will take sacrifice—which is why liberty is such a hard sale. As George Bernard Shaw put it, “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” But I promise the victory is worth the sacrifice!
So let’s celebrate the election, because it should be celebrated. But let’s celebrate it for what it is—a first down. Then let’s pick up the ball, hold on to it, and keep it moving down the field; because if we don’t, we may end up, as Ronald Reagan said, “ telling our children… what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”