Conservatives must stand up for values

To the Contrary

Special to The HeraldNovember 22, 2008 

The 2008 election will hold a special place in American history. As a conservative, I am extremely disappointed that America has shifted dramatically toward the left. However, I am the first to acknowledge the immense significance this election holds for the African-American community. I commend President-elect Barack Obama for his achievement, but to me, this election was not about race or gender, but about issues.

The United States now has the most liberal leadership since the Carter administration, possibly, the most liberal federal government in American history. What path President-elect Obama takes is anyone's guess, but given his past policy statements and strong support from the radical left, we should assume Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take this country dramatically to the left.

As conservatives, where do we go from here? That is a question conservatives across the country have been asking themselves since election night. I admit I became more emotionally invested in this election than I have in many years. I have been involved in politics since the early 1990s. Conservatives witnessed the realization of a dream that began with Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, and came to fruition with the Republican Revolution of 1994.

Elected as delegate

In 2008 I was elected as a delegate from South Carolina to the Republican National Convention. Serving as a delegate was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and an experience I hope I can repeat in the future. In 2006, I served as communications director and deputy campaign manager on a congressional campaign in Oregon. I was resolved to move on to other endeavors, leaving politics behind as a full-time occupation. After an election that shifted America toward the left, moving on to other endeavors may not be possible.

This election made one thing clear: Conservatives with significant political experience, such as me, have an obligation to our country and our political beliefs to become engaged, or re-engaged, in the political process. That may mean running a political campaign, interest group or blogging. Obama and the Democratic Congress will try to enact policies that will have a profound effect on this country that will take generations to overcome.

In 1929, the Hoover administration decided that the best way to address the country's financial issues was to raise taxes, and we know how well that went. President Carter followed a similar path with his policies in the mid-1970s, and we experienced a deep recession. England followed a similar path that only Margaret Thatcher was able to alter. As we face a world confronted by international terrorism, a nuclear-armed Iran and renewed Russian imperialism, the stakes are as high as they were at the height of the Cold War.

Communication crucial

Conservatives must have a voice in national politics. We lost the election, and now our only method of influencing public policy is through public opinion. As we form coalitions to achieve this goal, we must also reorganize our party and prepare to regain control of U.S. House and Senate. We must use technology in a much more innovative way, as Obama was able to do with his presidential campaign.

I do not believe it is a secret that the press is not on our side. We must stand together if we hope to have a voice. The American left and the media will try to silence and demagogue everything Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Newt Gingrich and numerous other conservatives fought so hard for all of their lives. We must not let them silence us! Together, we can navigate out of the political wilderness, but alone, we can only learn to live with defeat. I refuse to withdraw from the fight; I hope and pray I am not alone. This is a fight for America's future, and I know we will find our way. We became too complacent and compromised many of our core ideals. We did not answer the call when we lost control of Congress, but now we are in danger of losing much more. Stand up and fight for your conservative ideals!

This weekly column features opposing views from readers. These opinions are contrary to those expressed on this page or which otherwise take issue with something that appears in The Herald. All commentaries submitted become the property of The Herald and may be republished in any format.

Drew Johnson is a resident of Chester.

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