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Many of us spend a lot of time ranting against our politicians, who don’t seem to know what a Conservative is supposed to do in Congress. We expect them to be legislating on our behalf and not necessarily making friends with those on the other side of the aisle or planning their re-election campaign. But when we think about the legislation they could pass (or stop) that would actualize our conservative values (assuming you hold conservative values), what are we expecting? Do we believe that they have the intention of acting within conservative values? Have we articulated our expectations clearly? Do they even pay attention to our priorities? Do we know what our own values are? Or are we busy criticizing them for disappointing us and acting more like progressives?
I raise these questions because I think in all the political chaos, we have lost sight of our conservative values, and so have our legislators. There seems to be no values framework out of which our aims and actions would be enacted. Instead, I wonder if we are acting like the nightmare of a manager who doesn’t quite articulate his or her expectations, but can only declare, “That’s not it.”
I’m not looking to place blame on anyone—on us as an American society, or only on the legislators. I know Andrew Breitbart is often quoted as saying “Politics is downstream from culture.” I’m not sure if that idea is still relevant or not. What I do believe, however, is that we need to get much clearer on what are the most important Conservative values, which are the ones we must not compromise on, and how we can make sure that Republicans understand where their priorities should be since they work for us, and they have no reason to focus on their next election campaign—because we will refuse to vote for them if they don’t commit to the Conservative agenda.