When I was a teenager, I was extremely politically involved. I watched the news as a child and without prompting from my family I began to think there was something wrong with me. I thought I was a bad person because I did not think the United States ought to be sending untold amounts of money overseas to countries that hated us, and that the welfare state wasn’t going to work, and that environmental hysteria was unproven nonsense, and that affirmative action was wrongheaded discrimination, and that all the leftist crap that the media subtly but effectively promoted was just flat wrong. Then I discovered Rush Limbaugh just before the 1992 election and learned that I was not alone. And more than that, I learned I was not wrong or bad either.
And I was not happy about being lied to.
Throughout the Clinton years I followed politics with the same eagerness a normal kid follows his favorite sports team or comic book. At one time following the 1994 elections and the Republican revolution they brought I could name the heads of every major Congressional committee and tell you what states they came from. I watched the 1996 campaign from the primaries onward, even attending a straw poll and state convention (I was a big Phil Gramm supporter even though everyone knew it was going to be Bob Dole). I put out campaign signs and attended events when people my age were putting up band posters and going to concerts.
We lost in ’96. I went to college in ’97 and majored in, surprise, Political Science. I stayed busy but I kept up with events. I FedExed my absentee ballot home for a particular referendum issue I wanted to vote on. And in 2000 I sent my ballot home to vote for George W. Bush and try to stop Al Gore. On election night I remember being out walking across campus and running into another Republican student who asked me “did you hear about Florida?” Last I had heard before that it had been called for Gore–the infamous early call. We all know what happened after that.
In the following few weeks that election settled out and of course George W. became president. I was bound for law school and I took a look at the shape of the country post-Billy Jeff, and I decided the country was in good hands. I turned my focus to my studies and then to my career. I think I voted for Bush’s re-election in ’04 but to be honest I don’t remember–I definitely wanted him to win, I just don’t know if I did anything about it. I know for a time I had concluded that voting was a silly game that I was not going to play anymore and I had more immediate concerns than politics, like passing the bar and then practicing law.
Because this is what conservatives want to do. We don’t want to live for politics. We want to finish the fight, leave things in good hands, and go on about our lives. We want to leave it behind us when election day is over. So I went dark. I came out briefly of course when 9/11 happened, I poked my head up for the election, but I went so deep I didn’t even realize we’d lost the Senate until after we lost the House too in 2008. So I don’t know what went on during much of the Bush administration.
The problem is the left does not go to sleep. The left doesn’t want the campaigns to end. They want to keep pushing and screaming whether they win or lose because they live for this stuff. They live to outrage and be outraged, they are not happy unless they are not happy, and their driving motivation is their rabid hatred for US. For Christians. For conservatives. For patriotic Americans. And if we let down our vigilance we will be woefully unprepared to respond when the time inevitably comes to fight again.
I know the temptation is strong to declare victory and go home, trust in Donald Trump and the Republican Congress to take care of business and put all this madness aside, but now is the time to be even more watchful. Now is when we need to watch our side and listen to the other, remember what both sides did and both sides said, oppose weakness and “compromise” and other betrayal of our beliefs by the people we voted for, and make a record of what kind of fools the left is making of themselves in defeat. No one in the mainstream media, the same and worse as the media that made me believe I was a bad person as a child, will remember it for us.
Go on about your lives, but do not become complacent. Do not stop paying attention. Do not stop taking notes. Do not go dark.