Saturday, April 07, 2007

All or Nothing!!

A conversation started in the comments section of my recent post about Rudy. It has gotten me fired up and I felt the need to do a post on it. If you asked any of my close friends they would tell you that I am about as principled and idealistic as you're going to get. Yet, I also think that when it comes to politics we also need to be smart.

Several people brought up that we need to vote on principles and not on the best we can get or the lesser of 2 evils. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this is ROSS PEROT!! Many people voted for Perot in 92 & 96 out of principle because they didn't like Bob Dole or George Bush Sr. Yet, in casting that vote they might as well have been voting for Bill Clinton. Clinton wouldn't have won either election had it not been for Ross Perot. He didn't get the majority of the vote in either election.

I am all about fighting with passion for principles and causes I believe in. Thats why Braveheart and Amazing Grace are such inspirational movies for me. William Wallace wouldn't give up until Scotland was free and William Wilberforce wouldn't rest until slavery was ended. Yet, many times we accomplish goals incrementally and not all at once.

If we insist on all or nothing right this minute we will get NOTHING!! Many of the people who were ticked off about immigration threw a temper tantrum this last election cycle and what did they accomplish? We now have a party in charge that is guaranteed to do LESS about immigration than even Bush would've done. As Mike has pointed out, "How is that working for you?"

In 2008 we aren't going to get a Ronald Reagan. Yet, being the optimist I am I think we will get another one in the future, just not as soon as we would like. What do we do in the meantime? Sit out all the election cycles because we don't have our ideal candidate? Rudy is not perfect yet if I was given the choice between him and McCain or any of the Democrat candidates I would vote for him in a heartbeat. I refuse to willingly turn this country over to people who would implement socialistic policies because I don't have the perfect candidate to cheer for.

There are always causes and issues for us to rally around while we wait for our next Ronald Reagan. We continue to fight for what we believe in but we don't throw the baby out with the bath water because we don't get exactly what we want. We fight for the right people in the primaries and if we don't get what we want then we vote for the lesser of 2 evils.

A very wise man who ran a huge pro-life organization in a southern state for years has given me a lot of wise advice about politics. Here is some advice that he shared with me that I think is huge:
"When I first joined the political fray (as part of the prolife movement) I knew very clearly where I stood on the issues and what I expected from elected officials. I was considered a conservative "purist", an every or nothing kind of guy. In short this created a real soul-searching dilemma...especially as I became actively involved in lobbying and learning what it takes to actually change public policy on a very hard issue.

For years the prolife movement in my state had been headed by "everything or nothing" kind of folks like me and guess what? In this conservative state we had gotten zippo accomplished. People in other states could not believe that we had fewer pro-life laws enacted than almost any other states.

My mother used to tell me, "If you demand everything or nothing, you will usually get nothing." And that is exactly what happened in our state. When I became the head of things, I labored and struggled over this for some time. Because you see, my grass roots supporters (financially and otherwise) liked my bravado and uncompromising ways. But when I became an insider I was faced with the political reality that in certain situations politics is indeed the art of compromise. Yes, the dirty word of the right. Compromise. To me it was not a matter of compromise per se but knowing when to hold em and when to fold em...knowing when the wisest choice was to save as many lives as could be saved today and then come back and try to save more on another day.

So this was my course. And we begin to restrict abortion in my state. But in doing so some of the "purist" felt I had now become a "compromiser". And as conservatives are want to do, attributed my motives in this to the very worst, i.e., my ego and blah...blah....blah. They sounded like the Israelites turning on Moses after he led them out of the wilderness and demanding that he take them back to Egypt.

Anyway, most people who are actively involved in making things happen politically have the "joy" of being in on the back room dealmaking with the politicians.

I must say that most pro-lifers in my state felt I did a great job but those who did not were noisy and made life miserable for me."

I think this says it all. I was starting to see the wisdom in this type of approach but my friends' words and real life experience confirmed it for me. I do not begrudge people their right to vote according to their convictions and conscience. I applaud it, but lets be smart and not willingly hand the reigns of this country over to the likes of Hillary Clinton because we don't have the ideal candidate on our side.

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