Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians and all concerned Americans must look past differences, join together in the critical fight for our freedom and liberty
Despite being a principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and despite being perhaps this nation’s greatest champion of limited federal government, Thomas Jefferson likely could not even garner the Republican Party nomination today, nonetheless the presidency.
Thomas Jefferson, see, considered Jesus Christ to be merely human, not divine. And those who make up the base of today’s GOP, it seems, are absolutely, unequivocally and increasingly incapable of seeing the forest for the trees.
Identified as a Protestant, as a Unitarian, an Episcopalian and a Deist, Jefferson rejected outright the idea that Christ was truly the Son of God while, at the same time, revering Him for His ethical teachings, His moral foundation, His principled life. Morality, Jefferson wrote, could be derived from any number of sources – and while religion was certainly chief among those sources, to him the concepts of morality and religious faith were not mutually exclusive.
In his 1848 book, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, B. J. Lossing wrote about this aspect of our third president’s character:
In religion he was a freethinker; in morals, pure and unspotted; in politics, patriotic, honest, ardent and benevolent. Respecting his political character, there was (and still is) a great diversity of opinion, and we are not yet far enough removed from the theatre of his acts to judge them dispassionately and justly. His life was devoted to his country; the result of his acts whatever it may be, is a legacy to mankind.
That’s not to say that Jefferson was Godless. Far from it. In fact, the remarkable story of the deaths of Jefferson and his famously pious predecessor, John Adams, shed light on his faith and conviction. The older Adams had often quipped that he would outlive the younger Jefferson but both men, the two principal authors of the Declaration of Independence, died nearly simultaneously on the morning of July 4, 1826, fifty years to the day of its signing in Philadelphia. By all accounts, the last words from the devout Adams were, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” ironic because it is rumored that the messenger dispatched to Monticello with the news of Adams’ death passed the messenger carrying the news of Jefferson’s own death to Adams’ home in Quincy, Massachusetts. Jefferson’s last words were, “I resign myself to my God, and my child to my country.”
For conservatives, Jefferson should be the perfect presidential candidate. This is the man who famously wrote that “[n]o free man shall be debarred the use of arms,” the man who eliminated a number of taxes, cut the federal budget and still managed to reduce, by a third, the national debt run up by big-government advocate Alexander Hamilton. This is the man who, in this fledgling nation’s first encounter with radical Islam, effectively fought and suppressed the Barbary pirates.
In today’s Republican Party, however, Thomas Jefferson would be a non-starter. His religious beliefs, after all, were a far cry from yours, from mine, and from those in the GOP’s conservative base. In a time when we are in sore need of fiscal responsibility, legislative accountability and a contraction in the overall scope and reach of the bloated federal government (not to mention aggressive anti-piracy measures), the Republican Party would likely stifle and sabotage Jefferson’s own campaign in favor of someone—anyone—who, if nothing else, accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of Man and their own personal savior.
Don’t believe it? Look at the reaction to any story, article, commentary or profile written about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Sure, the guy is articulate. Sure, he turns around failing businesses for a living and has made a fortune doing so. Sure, he can engage in a compelling debate about derivatives and treasuries and the nitty-gritty details of our economy without the help of a single TelePrompTer, nonetheless a dozen. But, by golly, the man is a Mormon.
Forget that, once out of the liberal hellhole that is Massachusetts, the man has passionately and effectively and consistently argued the merits of fiscal and social conservatism. Forget that he could, in a state of economic turmoil, be perhaps the most competent and confidence-inspiring politician on either side of the aisle. Forget that, in 2012, he could systematically take apart and argue against each and every fiscal policy put forth by our floundering president. Forget all of that, because Mitt Romney had a history of liberal-pleasing accomplishments in the bluest of the blue states. Forget all of that, because those sharp-dressed, bushy-eyed youngsters with their Book of Mormon and their prophets and their Joseph Smith came to your front door during the football game last Saturday, and something about the encounter just rubbed you the wrong way.
Though from a slightly different perspective, the same thing goes for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Forget that these two individuals are just about the greatest departure from typical Washington, D.C. politicians this country has seen since Ronald Wilson Reagan. Forget that Palin and Huckabee connect better with average Americans than perhaps any political figure in American history. Forget that each have a proven track record of fiscal discipline and respect for life, and show tremendous potential in terms of political instinct. Forget all of that, because Palin used to attend a church where attendees spoke in tongues and because Huckabee himself is a former pastor, and you don’t want no zealots in the White House, regardless of their extrinsic merits.
The Republican Party, and by extension the United States of America, has a big problem on its hands. Just like in 1960, when the television—and, to a lesser degree, Jack Kennedy—defeated Richard Nixon’s bid for the presidency, the GOP lost in November 2008 not because of ideology — but because of image. And, unless this country is broken up and sold wholesale to the Chinese and the United Arab Emirates, unless America falls into a state of total, wide-spread disaster, the upcoming presidential election in 2012 may not reach fruition any differently.
Look at the staggering amount of ignorance to any and all substantive issues during the previous election cycle. Look at the unfathomable indifference to any and all controversies, conflicts of interests and radical partnerships which would have doomed the candidacy of any politician save for Barack Hussein Obama. And look at the continued support the president receives today, in the face of a faltering economy and a shockingly embarrassing foreign policy excursion overseas. Sure, Obama’s support may not be at the same frenzied levels as shortly after his inauguration, but any comfort in declining favorability levels should be offset by any number of random workplace or social interactions, wherein “so, what’s the problem with socialism, anyway?” seems to be the emerging mantra from the ignorant left.
The Republican Party simply will not prevail in 2010, 2012 or beyond unless those of us who care deeply about the direction in which our nation is headed put aside our petty differences, look past the details, and focus on the weaknesses of our ideological adversaries.
Look at it like a heavyweight boxing match. One boxer may want, with every fiber in his being, to punch his arrogant opponent right square in the mouth. Oh, it would feel good. Oh, he deserves it. But, in this case, that opponent has a broken rib. A critical weakness. Such a weakness would matter little to a fighter working the ring with emotion and just waiting for the perfect opportunity for a shot to the chin; a tactician, however, would work that weakness into a bloody pulp. Hit the rib. Punish the rib. And maybe get in a shot to the mouth as the opponent crumples to the canvas.
The GOP needs to do what is necessary to win. It needs to be a tactician, carefully and surgically taking apart the Democrats, starting with that party’s most overt weaknesses.
Look around you today. Look at your televisions. Look at the number of Americans walking the streets today, dressed in their Red, White and Blue and protesting the ever-expanding influence and reach of our bloated federal government, the total departure from the ideas and ideals on which this nation was founded so many years ago. Look at the fear in their eyes, the uncertainty about where America will be in six months, nonetheless five, ten or twenty years because of the slide toward socialism facilitated by these narcissistic, ignorant, egomaniacal and power-hungry fools. This is where we need to hit the Democrats. This is where we need to hit them, over and over and over again until they crumple to the canvas of history for much longer than a simple ten-count.
That’s not to say that conservatives should somehow forget about the sanctity of life. That’s not to say that conservatives should refrain from shaking their head in disgust when the White House takes credit for the work of three Navy SEALs. That’s not to say that we cannot point and laugh when the president of the United States, proclaimed by the left to be an oratorical and intellectual giant, stumbles due to a frozen TelePrompTer, or when his solipsistic wife gives the next visiting monarch a fist-pound and a playful slap on the buttocks.
We must not, however, lose sight of the critical need to win. Without success, our values and principles are doomed. All of them.
It may be so darned tempting to square up and throw a hook at our opponent’s pretty little face, but we need to stick to the broken rib. If we continue to stand up and express loud outrage at each and every detail coming out of this White House, not only will we lose our voice by 2012 but, when our vociferous dissent is truly required, when the president and his socialist flunkies move down their master list of contraconstitutional aspirations and work to ban guns, or raise taxes, or hijack the Census, our voices will be nothing more than background noise, the same stereophonic hiss heard in response to everything from the successful rescue of a kidnapped boat captain to the bathroom habits of the White House dog.
In 2008, “Change” resonated for a reason. Imagine what we could do with a more substantive and focused mantra than “Change,” especially if each and every word and aspect of that message resonated with each and every God-fearing and patriotic American, from all walks of life and from coast to coast, concerned about our nation’s future and fate. Imagine if that message could be articulated by perhaps not the favorite candidate among all, but certainly the one that emerges, like Barack Obama did in this age of populism, superficiality and Bush Derangement Syndrome, as the perfect political weapon for his or her time and place.
Thomas Jefferson may have been uncomfortable with the concept of water turned to wine, with the Virgin Birth and with the Resurrection, but he was able to see past his difficulties with Christ’s divinity and loved Him for His godliness and His teachings which, according to Jefferson, contained the “outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man.” Jefferson turned out to be a pretty good president, and perhaps among the finest of Americans.
On this day, April 15, 2009, it is time for each and every American concerned for the future of this great experiment in freedom and enterprise to likewise set aside petty personal differences in favor of respect, to look past the details in favor of the big picture, to resist the temptation of emotion in favor of reason, logic and precision. America needs us, my friends. She needs us now, and She needs us to work together in this critical, epic and historic fight.