ACRU

Don’t Get Discouraged—Get Involved

This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published January 4, 2013 on The Washington Times website.

The Republicans caved and Barack Obama is celebrating in Hawaii while planning his next step in creating an irreversible welfare state. Taxes will rise, spending will soar, and the media will cheer on Mr. Obama as he presses for more concessions as the debt ceiling deadline approaches.

Instead of giving into despair or anger, conservatives need to plan for the long haul. Tea Party people, Christian conservatives, national security conservatives and fiscal conservatives (there’s a lot of overlap here) are already working to establish an actually conservative Republican Congress in 2014.

It would be nice to have some conservative Democrats in office as well, but the other party took a wild ride to the dark side in the 1970s and never came back from its drug-and-sex-filled binge. In fact, the Democrats are working harder than ever to make everyone in the world buy into their obsession with alternative states of ecstasy, extreme environmentalism, perverse sex, big government and confiscatory taxes. Just ask any foreign diplomat who’s listened to one of Hillary Clinton’s lectures.

For conservatives, the GOP is a crooked slot machine that they play because it’s the only game in town. In 2010, this worked in spite of the party, and it can work again in 2014. It will only take a few more victories to turn Congress around, and the GOP already has 30 governors and controls both houses of 18 legislatures. The trick will be to fix the machine by exposing the poseurs and running them out of office. Another vital goal is to secure the integrity of the ballot box by enacting more laws requiring photo IDs and to challenge obvious examples of vote fraud such as in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Philadelphia and the ever-suspect South Florida.

It will also take tapping vast numbers of people who are appalled at America’s decline, have remained essentially apolitical, and don’t know what to do about it all. It’s a huge army waiting to be mobilized.

I want to switch gears here from politics to culture, because culture drives politics. Despite the flood of bad news, including 47 million people on food stamps amid a growing underclass, there’s a whole other America out there, swimming under the polluted media like a whale under a stormy sea. You know it’s there because a dorsal fin surfaces from time to time.

One dorsal fin is the enormous outpouring of gifts, cards and assistance to victims of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and man-made ones like the Newtown school massacre. Just the other day, I noticed a giant book in a Chick-fil-A restaurant in northern Virginia for people to sign to let the people of Newtown know that lots of people are praying for them. That’s the same company that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said should be banned from his city because the founder believes in God’s definition of marriage.

A few years ago, an underreported story was the massive surge of private charity to aid Gulf communities shattered by Katrina. Churches that were hundreds of miles away “adopted” congregations, sending money and teams to help them rebuild homes and sanctuaries.

According to a December 2012 Gallup poll, despite an increase in the number of people claiming no religious affiliation, “the United States remains a largely Christian nation; more than nine in 10 Americans who have a religious identity are affiliated with a Christian religion.” If even a fraction of these folks read the Bible, they’ll notice that it differs sharply from the values served up by the decadent media culture.

Bad-boy athletes regularly make headlines, but wholesome role models abound. Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins’ rookie quarterback, is setting the standard not only for football excellence but personal example. His fan base goes far beyond the Beltway, propelled by his feats, sunny personality and bold Christian faith.

The cameras often catch him, Tim Tebow-like, taking a knee or pointing his index finger up to his Maker after a touchdown. Even the cynics seem to understand that players who do such things are merely expressing gratitude, not claiming God for one side or the other. The worst thing being said about RG3 on the Internet is that some suspect him of being a Republican.

Sandwiched between doping scandals and gang-related violence are media stories about baseball, basketball and football stars who parlay their celebrity status into good causes.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Dallas Cowboys’ 6-foot-2 nonpareil receiver Michael Irvin terrified defenders, except for the Redskins’ Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green. The 5-foot-9 Green gave Irvin all that he could handle. Off the field, the two men could not have been more different, with Mr. Green founding a charitable foundation while Mr. Irvin became synonymous with bad behavior by a spoiled athlete.

The two men now travel together to speak at schools, hospitals and churches, spreading the word that Jesus can turn anyone’s life around—even the notorious Cowboy. The two are far from unusual in that regard, with many pros giving back to their communities.

Sometimes the big picture can be overwhelming, especially after a disappointing election and capitulation by people that you thought were standing up for you and your values. I’m not about to turn Pollyanna and say that everything is OK, because it’s not. In fact, it’s grim and will get worse if people don’t wake up and get more involved. We can all do something to turn things around.

A boy was walking with his father at the seashore when they encountered hundreds of starfish washed up on the beach, perishing. The boy methodically started picking them up and throwing them back. “What’s the point?” asked his father, gesturing at the magnitude of the problem. “There are too many of them. They’re all going to die.” Undeterred, the boy continued to reach down. As he threw each starfish back into the water, he said, “Not this one. Not this one. And not this one.” Stop sulking, take heart, get involved and watch for those fins. There are a lot more where they came from.