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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Conservative, Part 2

Conservatives are frequently the target of a left-leaning press. Because of the “power of the pen,” the press routinely paints conservatives as racists, war-mongers, lovers of money, heartless toward the environment, and opposed to immigrants coming into the United States.

Such mischaracterization is difficult to counter. It’s sort of like answering the question, “How long has it been since you stopped beating your wife?” There’s no way you come out looking good attempting to answer that question!

A book just out, entitled, “Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today,” by Edwin J. Feulner, addresses the need to return to America’s conservative base. “[That which] will rescue us now are the things that have always made this nation great: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, a strong national defense, and the rule of law. We must demand accountability and a return to our core principles,” writes Feulner.

As in last week’s article, I provided a list of values conservatives adhere to: “Conservative issues in America include beliefs in free-market capitalism, anti-communism, patriotism, American Exceptionalism, a strong national defense, Christianity, civic morality, law and order, stricter law enforcement regarding immigration, smaller federal government, and lower taxes.” Those with a conservative bent are often puzzled as to why others would not be in agreement with these same values and beliefs. After all, it was these beliefs that the founding fathers espoused that built this country, providing us with the liberties we enjoy today.

Let’s take for instance free enterprise (or free-market capitalism). The free enterprise system sets the United States apart from other nations because anyone can pursue a job, or even establish their own business, regardless of educational limitations, ethnic background, or social standing. America has countless millionaires who started with nothing more than a desire to achieve great things. It is the classic Horatio Alger “rags to riches” story of one person striving for the American Dream, repeated time and again writ large.

One of the values that seems to have been lost is American Exceptionalism. What is the meaning behind this? “American exceptionalism is the theory that the United States occupies a special niche among the nations of the world in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, political and religious institutions, and its being built by immigrants. The roots of the belief are attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, who claimed that the then-50-year-old United States held a special place among nations, because it was the first working representative democracy.”

During the primary elections in recent months was the emergence of conservative candidates from both major parties who attempted to pass themselves off as being conservative, particularly in the areas of illegal immigration, smaller federal government, and lower taxes. Whether they are true conservatives or not will ultimately be determined by the electorate in this November’s mid-term election. The Tea Party movement has been an outward manifestation which is representative of the major and minor political parties, demanding a return to the original values that made the United States a great nation.

The results of the primary elections June 8 seem to show that a lot of candidates that won are professed conservatives, many with the backing of the Tea Party. Incumbents did not fare well from either of the two major political parties. Will this translate into a significant shift in the Congress this November? We’ll have to wait and see. Incumbents are very nervous about this election because they are viewed by many Americans as having gone along with the broken, out-of-touch policies that most Americans have indicated they do not want.

Liberals and Conservatives will continue to butt heads on the national stage, of that you may be certain. The question that remains: Will we be a representative government of the people, or will we be a government run-amok by special interest groups?

It’s our future, America! What will that future look like? What do you really want this country to be?

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