In my study at home, there are a number of memorials to my family’s military service. There are three rifles hanging on the wall. My grandfather, my father and I each brought home these reminders from WWII, Vietnam and Afghanistan, respectively. There is my grandfather’s General Officer’s pistol and belt buckle in a shadowbox. A ceramic elephant my father sent home from the Far East. A framed certificate from civilians I helped in Iraq and the rug I had made in Afghanistan. They are essentially three generations of memorials from a family that has been committed to military service for most of a century.
My father and grandfather have both passed away now. They were patriots. They were true believers in America and what it stands for. But I know what they would say if they could see today’s news cycle.
They would wonder aloud who would stand up. Well, standing up can be done by voting.
I’m reminded of Sebastian Junger, who wrote a book called “Freedom.” In one scene he and several friends were camping near a train track and marveled at the size, weight, and speed of a freight train going by. He asked his hiking buddies what they thought it would take to stop something like that dead in its tracks. The only response they could figure was another train coming from the opposite direction. But then Junger said, “America could seem like that as well, a country moving so fast and with so much weight that only a head-on collision with itself could make it stop.”
That’s where we are. The existential threat to all that we, as freedom-loving Americans, hold dear is not so much a virus, nor an external enemy; it is the fight going on within our own culture. It will take America colliding with itself at the polls to make it stop.
Like many conservatives across the nation, I feel at times as though I’ve gone through Alice’s looking glass. Conservatives are often told now that what we have always believed is right is wrong and that basic discourse is not allowed. The President of the United States just gave a full-blown speech last week for no other purpose except to brand me and anyone else who dares to think or vote like me as a threat to democracy itself.
I have a study and memories full of the evidence that I fought for democracy! I, for one, look forward to a change on Election Day.
For the past several years, government leaders at all levels have browbeaten citizens and ruined their lives, crushing businesses by declaring the winners and losers of society during the pandemic. To be sure, the coronavirus was awful. But declaring businesses nonessential, shuttering society, keeping loved ones from visiting dying relatives in hospitals, and then using federal relief dollars to fund more government has created cynicism. And now they want “pandemic amnesty” as if it never really happened. It is possible to forgive while still demanding accountability, but that will only come with a red wave on election day.
“Big Tech,” long protected by sanctuary laws written to protect them, is in full survival mode now knowing that they must cancel opposition in order to maintain their status quo. There is still hope that a revision of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, or institutional change, such as Elon Musk buying Twitter, will bring Big Tech back into a place of free discourse. But that will not happen unless election day brings conservative change.
Also on the menu at the Mad Hatter’s tea party is actual government action being taken to legitimize the misguided notion that a boy can be a girl, and that defining a woman scientifically is impossible. The Biden Department of Justice has weaponized against any state that would dare protect its children from transgender surgeries and life-altering treatments. The CDC now refers to “pregnant people”, and the Department of Defense is determined to pay for abortions. This will only change at the polls.
Liberals across the nation continue to argue that they will do all that they can to diminish the Supreme Court, degrade the efficiency and accuracy of voting, and spend our grandchildren’s money. There is no hope of these matters being corrected to a more conservative worldview without a wave of concerned voters making themselves known at the polls.
It is not a question of accepting a differing viewpoint. Politics is always cyclical — what goes around comes around, they say. I have often debated the issues and at times I did not feel as though I was prevailing, but I learned to keep working, continue with life, and just fuss at political differences. This is not that. This feels different.
For conservatives, what we are experiencing today feels like a fight to push back against a crushing attempt to change our way of life. Forever.
And that will not happen, at least not quietly. Joe Biden may believe that like his former boss, Barack Obama, that he has some mandate to use his “pen and phone.” But I have a keyboard and a microphone. And I am just one of many who is not content to sit idly by. Not for a minute.
I asked rhetorically earlier on behalf of my father and grandfather: “Who will stand up?” I said that standing up can be done by voting, and I believe that. Voters are heroes.
And yes, there are heroes left. They are out there. Citizens who vote, with voices and sound reason, and a sense of mission, have always been the mainstay of our society. Individual citizens still have rights and a say in what happens in their homes and lives. I’ve said before that dark days do not deter resolved people and there are many who I believe will work within a time such as this to set the world back on its proper axis. Ordinary people do extraordinary things when times call for them.
This mid-term elections are so important! All elections matter. And to be sure, every vote matters. But this election feels different. This one feels like far more than just that obligatory vote for that person who we read about who is running for some office removed from our sphere of influence. No, my friends, this one - this election - it feels more like a reckoning.
Every voter should feel like they have a mandate and a mission. And they should not only vote, but they should also remind their friends, coworkers, loved ones, churchgoers, the lady at the fast food window, the guy who sprays their house for termites, the lifeguard at the pool, the mailman; everybody. They should tell them all that this vote is more important than any vote in recent memory.
Because it’s about our nation. It’s about standing up. It’s about saying no more to the madness. It’s about bringing clarity back to our day-to-day lives.
Voting should feel like a scene from the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. Clint Eastwood appeared up on the hillside with the sun at his back… just one man standing in the way of the Comancheros who had kidnapped his friends. Two of those friends hunkered down behind a wagon, an old lady they called “Granny” and an old Native American named “Chief Lone Watie.” The Chief knew what was coming next, and he quietly said, “Hang on Granny. Hell is coming to breakfast”.
I hope that liberals feel that way about the results of this election. I hope they can sense it. I hope they can feel it like some kind of political dread. It’s their reckoning coming to breakfast.
There is much at stake, but there are heroes still among us — ordinary folks who vote, and indeed every vote counts. I look forward to the aftermath that comes when good folks put the sun at their back and stand up for what they believe in for such a time as this.
Voters are heroes.