Happy New Year everybody!
Since the 2012 election, I've been doing a fair bit of thinking about where I want to take this blog, and how I want to be involved in the political debate going forward. I started the Proud Ex-Democrat in the summer of 2009, largely to give voice to my opposition to the policies of our then-new President, Barack Obama. It gave me no particular joy to do this. I was hopeful at the beginning of his term that the first African-American President of the United States would attempt to be a President for all the people.
As we saw, that was not to be. Mr. Obama turned out to be the most extreme statist to ever hold the office of President. And he pressed for a lefty wish list of, in my view, very destructive policies. He did so in the face of unprecedented opposition from the 50% of the country who disagreed with him. These efforts by Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress culminated in passage of the left's crown jewel: Obamacare.
I don't see Mr. Obama and his activities as the main problem, as much as they are an acceleration or expansion of a steady leftward movement by the Democratic Party that has gone on for years. This drift left has made them increasingly hostile to the Constitution and to freedom in a variety of areas, from economics to speech to education. It was this drift that was responsible for me becoming an EX-Democrat. I had reached a breaking point with their disinterest in protecting individual rights in the mid 90's, and I left for the Libertarian Party. The last straw was the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. That was when I realized that many of the Republican's charges about Democrats being naive about the evil intentions of some of our adversaries around the world were right, and we had seen that national security failure come home to roost in Manhattan, Arlington, and Shanksville.
In the last couple of years I've re-registered as a Republican. Being a libertarian, I still have many disagreements with conservatives on social issues. But the Tea Party movement, with it's emphasis on the economy and constitutionalism, has made it easier for folks like me to operate within the GOP. I have also come to see how third parties are really a big waste of time. But that is another post for another day.
Getting back to the future for this blog, we must face the fact that Barack Obama won. He will not be facing the national electorate again, so it is appropriate for the focus of this blog to change accordingly.
The election certainly featured a number of tactical errors, most of which were
chronicled in my election post-mortem, here. But
among all that sound and fury, and all the recriminations, the idea that I kept coming back to is the one in
this post by Mike Flynn, writing at breitbart.com
. Mike's point is that the election demonstrated something Andrew had talked about all the time: That politics happens downstream
from the culture.
That really is the lesson, isn't it? 2012 turned on some changes in the culture, and so to be involved going forward, I need to think less about polls and turn-out models, and more about being part of moving the culture back to an understanding of, and a respect for, the first principles America was founded on: Individual liberty, limited government, equal opportunity, strong families, and strong community and civic institutions.
To that end, I will be doing a fair bit less blogging, and far more reading and thinking, as I try to figure out my place in all of this. I have a large backlog of good books around here, and it's time I got to some of them. I will write about what I learn if I think you'd find it of value. I also plan to write more about good public policy ideas and good solutions, and less less about the politics involved, at least for now.
I will also be increasingly involved on Twitter. If your on, follow me:
@ProudExDemocrat. If your not, check it out! But you can see just my tweets without joining here. I'll probably limit most of my political snarkiness to Twitter in the future.
I also think we should all
take advantage of all the great online resources out there. First and foremost I'm thinking of the great, and free
, online courses offered by Hillsdale College: Constitution
, on the history and meaning of the Constitution. Constitution
201, which talks about the Progressive opposition (assault, really) on the Constitution, and how that conflict goes on to this very day. And History 101
, which goes back over the basics of western thought, from Aristotle to John Locke. This philosophic arc, if you will, is the foundation our republic was built on. The teaching of those ideas has been largely rejected by our schools and colleges for the last 50 years or so, and now many of our younger citizens have no idea what it means to be an American. That ignorance is one of the main successes of Progressivism, and is a big part of the cultural changes I'm talking about.
My plan is to be very involved in the 2014 mid-terms, but I want that involvement be in the smartest and most effective way possible. Any changes to this blog will be done with that end in mind.
In the days immediately after the election, when I was at my most bummed out, I had a conversation with a very wise friend who made the most profound of good points. She noted that the truth always wins out in the end. That is what I needed to hear, because that is how I came to reject the Democratic Party. Twenty years ago or so, I got to see a variety of fair debates between Democrats and Republicans (or Libertarians), between liberalism and liberty, and the left's ideas, policies and solutions always lost. They had no case, few facts, and only a handful of successes to point to. Today, I see Democrats having only vague feelings and good intentions. If our culture has turned away from the founders ideas, our challenge has to be to work for a level playing field on which to represent them. By that I mean a news media, popular entertainment and education establishments that are simply fair
. Do that
, and then let the marketplace of ideas have at it.
And let the best ideas win.