Churchill's adage that in politics, young men are liberals and old men are conservatives makes for a good plausible thought...but not a true fact. Regardless of Churchill's enduring observation of age (and obvious omission of gender), something else SEEMS to coalesce political types together, rather than age. But what is it? Maybe, a better take on those interested in getting people elected could be that politics is like high school.
Think about it: some are in the "in" crowd and others are simply crowding in - awkward outsiders with their noses pressed against the plate glass, "feeling-about" for their identity....(maybe feeling like they are looking for their lockers...)
The underlying theme of this metaphor is that whether folks are conservative or liberal, their ideology (dare I say neo-religion?) demands that they capture ground and keep it. Once "in", never again to be outside looking in. But does that work?
In a sense, I suppose I am a "recovering high school student", finally loosening the bonds of attachments that created in me a "mini-adult" status so many years ago, watching too many political movies and TV Oval Office shows and trying to act and pose like actors who act and pose like candidates...At 52 years of age, it's about time to acknowledge that I've finally graduated...tee hee.
I see it in all levels of the Democratic Party and the GOP. "Them that's gots, keeps..." Could be the mantra, I suppose. For the purpose of this posting, allow me to center in on the GOP, as it is my affiliation. For the purpose of this posting I site Sarah Palin as someone who got into politics to do something and will get out. For goodnes sakes, she spent years in her PTA and on her local town council...not quite CareerBuilder.com stuff.
I'd argue hers is the safer plan for the nation to enjoy, than the perpetual high school student councils elections of Biden, Kempthorne, Kennedy(s), Craig and Nixon.
I've been around the GOP for 32 years, run for office, lost and run again. With each passing year, I move further and further away from the goofiness of political in-fighting and power plays...and towards reform, progressive conservative reform. Please do not consider me bragging, but rather, illustrating the path of a progressive conservative - a reformer, encouraging others to reform their lives, cities and government like Sarah Palin has done.
- Get in and get out. I supported the Term Limits reform in Idaho. When the legislature overturned the will of the people, I led the actions that put the Referendum into place - forcing the issue back on the ballot for a final vote by the people.
- Turn them in, get them out. Reform demands that a person do what's right. I "turned in" my then-boss, a CA legislator (Assemblywoman Doris Allen), who was operating unethically.
- Run for office, even if it looks like political suicide. In 2000 I ran for US Congress against Butch Otter. People told me I was crazy. Though a good friend and a sitting Lt. Governor, Butch represented years of "in" crowd GOP back-slappers. No reform. No vision. In a field of 8, I came in 2nd to Butch. My race for State Senate was not too dissimilar.
- Stand up, speak out. Even if your friends don't agree. Reform doesn't mean winning the first time, but it can happen. Don Paradis was on death row. I didn't see him as guilty and led the effort to have his case reviewed. Governor Batt amended his sentence and Don is a free man today.
- Change the world. We opened New Hope Community Health to help secure sobriety housing and classes for ex-addicts/ex-inmates. Godly, Christian, Republican neighbors opposed me. Hmmm...Reform means change. Change is painful. Changing the world is REALLY painful.
Progressive conservativism simply means well thought-out reform, regardless of personal costs; all accomplished from a traditional reference point. Getting rid of personality-driven public policy is key to it. Teddy Roosevelt did it 100 years ago. Sarah Palin is being called on to do it this centrury. My call is that a progressive conservative movement will rise within the GOP - a movement of home makers, outsiders, part-timers and reformers.
After all, remember that the term status quo means "he/she who stays".....