Originally published at RegularFolksUnited.com
I hope the holidays restored your energy after a grueling and ultimately disheartening year for common sense values. While much of the nation is awash in the media-generated euphoria of the impending Obama inauguration, the time for us to take stock is past. It is time to plan and act so we can combat the extreme elements of the Obama agenda that are sure to come. He says he wants to hear from those of us who disagree with him. Let's not disappoint him.
Please don't delude yourself into thinking the battle will be easy; news reports indicate that President Obama intends to use his massive e-mail list of 13 million people "to push for his legislation, tamp down critics or bolster popular support."
"...if it looked as if the president-elect were losing a policy battle...with the click of a keyboard, Obama's aides could ask supporters to flood the phone lines of Congress, making it untenable to ignore the clamor."
So what do we do?
First, we need to refamiliarize ourselves with conservatism and reclaim it from the demagoguery to which it's been subjected by liberal opinion-shaping institutions and the malpractice of the GOP during its time in power. We've allowed ourselves to be channeled into debates on individual policies rather than philosophy which is putting the cart before the horse. I suggest if we understand what defines conservatism, we'll have a foundation to support and defend all subsequent policy positions. There are many opinions on what constitutes conservatism, but here is my definition:
Conservatism is the devotion to and defense of liberty over authority, evidence over emotion and principles over impulse.
This definition may seem simplistic but it needs to be something that people can memorize and repeat as they carry out their task of restoring our nation's foundational values. I am testing this definition to see if it holds up under examination and I welcome your thoughts.
The second thing we need to do is embrace the technology of the 21st century. For years now, conservatives held an undisputed advantage in talk radio, direct mail, data mining and micro-targeting to identify and energize supporters, raise money and get out the vote. We must concede, however, that we've been outflanked and outgunned by the liberals' use of the blogosphere, text messaging and social networks to build a massive online presence. In addition to those 13 million e-mails the Obama campaign captured, they raised over half a billion dollars - that's billion with a "B" - online. Obama's online team told the Washington Post, "3 million donors made a total of 6.5 million donations online adding up to more than $500 million. Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments of $100 or less. The average online donation was $80, and the average Obama donor gave more than once." Studies consistently show conservatives lagging behind liberals online but no one's given me an explanation as to why that's the case.
The grass-roots politics of the future is as much online as it is going door-to-door, making phone calls and sending out direct mail. If you're not on Facebook and Twitter, it's time to sign up. There are many conservative causes and candidates already active online. In less than a month, I already have 1,151 followers on Twitter and 334 friends on Facebook. Not only will this make us more competitive, it will bring more youth and diversity to the conservative movement. I'm already impressed with and rejuvenated by the numbers of young people and minorities I've met online who are staunch conservatives ready to do battle against the liberal sellout of this country to expanded government and moral relativism.
One last thing about online political activism - it's got to come from the grass-roots up, not from the top down. Republicans try to control online activism when the very nature of it is viral and free-flowing. Maybe we conservatives can allow a little online chaos to energize the movement once again. Come join us - I'm @teamronmiller on Twitter and my Facebook profile is here.
Finally, a sports quote I once heard should be our focus going forward. "If your mind is clouded, your legs are slow. But if your mind is clear you play with fast legs." Let's not cloud our minds with finger-pointing, blame, and ancillary issues. There's too much of significance at stake. Know who we are, use the tools of today, and never underestimate our opponents. The clarity will give us speed and purpose. I'll see you on the battlefield.