Political activism in America is experiencing a rebirth “before our very eyes and ears,” to steal one of Rush Limbaugh’s oft-used phrases. Â I was reminded of this last night as I watched Glenn Beck’s program and heard Limbaugh respond (as Beck’s guest) to Beck’s concern that the Obama administration is building an army of activists which may be preparing to seize control of the U.S. government at an opportune moment. Â After responding that he didn’t believe such a move would succeed given the wealth of information flowing forth from conservative talk radio and television, Rush made what I consider a critically important observation:
Look at the healthcare situation — what’s happening right now. Â The genuine passion — the REAL passion is in individual Americans’ hearts and minds. Â INDIVIDUALS are showing up. Â They may be going to the web to find out where these town halls are, but they’re showing up because individually they don’t want any part of this. Â The Obama army has to be bought and paid for. Â The Obama army has to be given marching orders. Â The Obama army is not showing up with any passion FOR Obama’s issue, which is healthcare. Â They’re showing up because they’ve been instructed to by bosses….and I’m gonna tell you something Glenn, passion, love of country, truth is going to out-maneuver and overpower fake passion…
This cuts to the heart of the matter. Â Conservatives have bemoaned what they have perceived as the willingness of the American people to vote for ever more encroachment on their freedom in exchange for more and more government-provided “security.”Â Â They have rightly attacked leaders in the Republican Party for failing to articulate and advance conservative principles, instead choosing to follow a path of fiscal irresponsibility and continuing government expansion. Â David Horowitz and others have lamented the inability of the Republican Party to wage political war against a Democrat Party increasingly controlled by radical leftists. Â Some pessimists on our side have even declared that conservatives have lost the battle and that America’s best days are behind her.
I submit that the furor over nationalized healthcare — the genuine grass-roots uprising against this initiative which the party in power so desperately wants — puts the lie to that notion. Â What we are witnessing should be an object lesson in how to win a political battle. It isn’t done by adopting the polite, civilized pose of a debating society member. Â It isn’t done by pleading for understanding and fairness and accepting your opponents false premises. Â It’s done with passion and energy and fearlessly framing issues with easily-understood and vivid imagery, as Sarah Palin did so brilliantly with her “death-panels” comment.
It’s true that the Republican Party has failed miserably to lead over the past eight years on domestic issues. Â One of the primary reasons we find ourselves at this critical juncture on healthcare is that Republicans failed to advance any meaningful reforms during the time they were in power. Â They dropped the ball and allowed the Democrats to frame the debate, as they have done countless times. Â We’re seeing, however, that American conservatives are no longer looking for “leaders” in the Republican Party or anywhere else to fight their battles for them. Â They’re taking that fight to the street, and it’s SUCCEEDING beyond measure.
The time for polite and civil discourse has ended. Â As in football, no team can win playing defense exclusively. Â You must have a good offense. This is what the Republican party seems to have forgotten, but the American people are re-discovering.