An open letter from a young conservative:
I am proud to call myself a conservative. Even when my views have made me unpopular among others my age, I am proud to have stood for my beliefs. But at the moment, I am very angry and almost ashamed to identify with conservatives.
Why? Because the other conservatives that I see are acting like spoiled children. Every time one of your fellow conservatives disagrees with you, you throw a hissy fit, and stop speaking with them except to shout them down.
Why do you think we can’t keep our government on course when we can’t even work with people who disagree with us? I thought we were the party of responsible adults, those who understand the proper place of government. I thought it was the Left who turned politics into a religion, but conservatives keep excommunicating anyone who doesn’t meet their standards of ideological purity.
I am not telling anyone to shut up and toe the party line—far from it. I want to hear the full diversity of conservative voices. I want to hear arguments and debates. But I want to see us as one movement, not a divided army who shoots their wounded. Just because you don’t agree with someone on every single point doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you can’t find a common goal to work towards.
Keep in mind, the goal is not simply to win, but for our country to be the best it can be. If all you want is for your point of view to win, then any and all tactics are open to you. I, and most young conservatives I know, want to truth to be known, the good to triumph, the right to be allowed to flourish. We want to act with responsibility, dignity, and integrity. We can band together in the midst of disagreements, because we know that what we fight for is bigger than ourselves. I’m fighting for freedom, and I can work with anyone else who wants freedom. I’m working for human dignity and human effort, and anyone who wants the government to stop playing nanny can help. I want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and I am happy to join hands with others to work for that whenever I can. Freedom and justice are bigger than I am. My likes and dislikes, and my petty debates with others are not worth fighting over.
It’s time to grow up. Move on. Understand your opponent, and learn to fight them instead of wasting your ammunition on your own allies. Someone calls you a name? This isn’t kindergarten, deal with it. Ignore them. Someone says something you disagree with, but doesn’t violate conservative core principles? Brush it off. Debate it if you like, if it’s an appropriate place and time to do so, but stay focused on your endgame. When you find it more important to tear others down in the middle of a losing battle, I do not believe that you really care about the bigger goal. You may say you care about freedom, but if you spend your time tearing down another conservative while that freedom is being jeopardized, I believe that all you’re really concerned about is your own reputation.
Once the bigger battles are won, we can fight over the small stuff. When we’re facing wide-spread socialism, it’s not the time to excommunicate someone over the gold standard. When we’re fighting a reduction of freedom in the name of comfort, it’s not the time to shout at someone because they called you a name. Keep your eyes on the bigger prize.
Grow up, act like adults, and get over yourselves. It’s time to get serious.