Let’s face it: we’re all frustrated and depressed.
It’s okay! It’s to be expected. I remember before the election, the narrative I carried in my head was that we were going to eke out a victory at the last minute, people would slowly come to realize how right we were, and the country would be saved with a flourish and bow, leaving the Constitution as a shining testament to a unique event in history – the survival of the Fourth Turning.
Well, it looks like things are going to happen a little differently.
Now, as a twenty year old Constitutionalist, I’m more likely to scoff at the question “what do you want to do for a career?” and answer something along the lines of “whatever doesn’t put me in an internment camp.” As you can expect, most people are put off by such an answer, and truthfully, I’ve reached the same levels of darkness and despair that most of you have. The thing we must realize, however, is that nothing good is going to happen if we despair. We can be snarky and up in people’s faces when they disagree with us, and despondent around our peers, but it doesn’t change the fact that nothing is getting done.
So c’mon! Buck up, buttercup, because I have a jazzy solution just for you.
Sure, it’s an overly repeated sentiment hearkening to the “buy American” trend (which is absolutely valid and we should still embrace it), but I have a lot of faith that a local approach can work. Americans today of all creeds and beliefs have one thing in common: we crave freedom and control over our own lives. More and more of that is being taken away.
Our politicians seem less concerned with representing the people and more concerned with being leaders. Legislators seem more concerned with fixing the human condition through regulation than allowing the goodness of humanity to naturally emerge through the bad. You’ve probably thought at one point, “I don’t understand! My neighbors and my community are nothing like these people. Why do they get to represent us as Americans?” You’ve probably also thought, “what can I even do anymore?”
The solution lies within our spheres of influence. It’s absolutely true; as individuals, our spheres of influence don’t stretch out to affect the national arena in any substantial way, shape, or form. We’re doomed to watch as things unfold, with only a handful of snarky Twitter hashtag games and massively shared Facebook image posts to make us feel like we’re changing something. That’s why we feel so discouraged; it feels like there’s nothing we can do.
We need to change where we’re focusing. After the election, opportunities sprung themselves on me quite quickly. I was approached not even a week after Obama’s victory by a friend and political colleague of mine, with a plan to run for leadership positions within my county’s Republican Party. A group of us got together, and by the end of November, we were elected. From that point, we’ve been focusing on changing the public perception of the Republican Party, approaching new marketing and promotional tactics, and becoming more involved with our local community. We’re finding ourselves reminded that ideas are much better shared face to face, on a personal level with personal connections. It’s especially true that, when policy decisions take place at the local level, more people end up happy.
My liberal, conservative, and politically apathetic friends and acquaintances are all pleasantly surprised by what we are working to do.
There are so many opportunities for the individual to enrich his or her community. A position on the local school board, membership in a political party as a Precinct Committee Person, or even volunteering for a positive, driven organization; the sky is the limit as to how much good we can do for our communities. Don’t be afraid to get out there and make a difference, and don’t be ashamed of being a Republican and a Constitutionalist. There’s really nothing to be ashamed of. People will see through the media representation of Republicans the moment they meet you and see that you’re actually a friendly, thoughtful person. Keep in mind, though, there’s also nothing to preach about, nor is there a need to. Our approach is to go out into the community, get to know people, and provide help and service to those in need – not to convert people.
Trying to convert somebody says to them “I think you’re a moron, and I’m here to help you be less of a moron.”
Needless to say, not a good approach.
We may not be able to make a difference on a national level, but we can make a huge difference in our cities, our counties, and our states. If everyone around the country does the same, together we might just be able to create a stronger America from the ground up. That’s grassroots, free market, community organizing at its finest.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
God bless, go local, and keep the faith.