Friday, January 22, 2016

Principles and values and elections

We are seeing popular movements rise up because of a lack of government response to what is seen as problems. Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, Black Lives Matter and the Bundy/Oregon militia are a cross section that reflect the notion that people are looking for someone, anyone, who will STAND up and 'get things done'. Of course, get things done the way each group believes is best.

As I watch a wave of support growing for one such strong leader, I have to ask what the principles and values are that lead so many ‘conservatives’ and Tea Party members to support a candidate who so clearly is not a small government, anti-establishment, liberty loving practitioner?

The Tea Party was ORIGINALLY ignited because of the bank bailouts, the auto bailouts and the stimulus. The Tea Party first pointed their finger NOT at President Obama, but President Bush.

The intent behind the 9/12 projects and Tea Parties were those values and principles that had zero to do with political parties and candidates, but spoke to how we, as individuals lived our lives and expected our government to operate. Principles that respected the Constitutional responsibility of the State and the limits placed on the federal government. Principles and values that we said were our 'bottom line'.

Small government, adherence to the Constitution, and self-responsibility were central to those principles and values that would guide us in how we pick candidates, elect our representatives, senators, city council and school board members, judges, sheriffs, and presidents. Core principles and values we lived our lives by.

 We experienced true ‘change’ elections, only to be disappointed that so many of our ‘conservative’ candidates turned out to be JUST like the rest of the ‘good old boy’ club that did not practice small government, liberty loving, constitutionally based actions.

Today we are nearing another ‘choosing place’.

A strong, brash leader may, indeed, be able to walk into board rooms and say 'DO THAT or YOU ARE FIRED'. A strong leader may, indeed, make billions of dollars and even make trade and tariff decisions that ‘gets the other guy’ (whether that is China or Mexico or anyone else that we think needs to be ‘got’). The strong leader can say over and over again, ‘we will do it’; ‘we will build it and they will pay for it’…and the crowd cheers.

Don't we need to ask how these things will be accomplished? DOES the 'means' justify the 'ends'? Is that important to us? What is it that guides the potential strong leaders? What is their individual guide for making decisions? To what standard do they guide their actions in order to accomplish their goals? To what end does their actions lead? A bigger, more powerful federal government that has fiscally and maybe even socially conservative practices, or, are they guided by an old, time-tested, foundational document our country has used as the basis for our Law?

For those who consider themselves conservative, does it matter if the government tramples on the rights of 'those guys' in order to get to our stated goals? Is it OK for the government to take land away from private landowners so that a 'good' big business can accomplish something we think needed for the community? Does the community or government get to decide what is best, or, do individual rights matter equally and protect, even when the community/government disagrees? For those of us called conservatives are those ideals still a core value?

Has conservative turned into the mere opposite of liberal on the pole of big government?  Is the ONLY difference between conservatives and liberals the kind of programs we support, rather than bigger government vs smaller, constitutionally based government?

Is liberty for ALL still a conservative value?? Do we still support the lone voice as much as we do the voice of the masses? Does an individual still have the same rights and protections as the majority?

Remember your values and principles when you are making these caucus and primary decisions. 

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