Often before writing on a subject I open the dictionary (these days the app on my iPhone) and I read the definition of a key word. Not because I do not know the definition of the word, but because I want to see how a conceptual word or term has been standardized. Words have a way of meaning different things to different people especially when our emotions and our politics are involved in defining a word.
I looked up conservative today, you know the noun that we use to define ourselves as in I am a Conservative, and here are some of the definitions I found:
1. a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas
2. resistant to change
3. unimaginatively conventional
I must admit at first I felt insulted by being defined this way. I thought perhaps being conservative was dull and lacked vision. Then I realized I use this term to define my concept of government and how I expect those in office to govern. I am not unimaginative and conventional in every aspect of my life, that would be dull. Reluctant to change, that I will accept because as conservatives we are reluctant to change.
We like things the way they are (were) because conservatives don't see an issue with limited government or a constitution that protects us from a change in how we as a people are governed. Let me put this in women's terms (don't start the feminist stuff, remember I am resistant to new ideas). A new style of shoes comes out, and while they look smart and savvy, they are uncomfortable and you can't wear them very long so essentially the new unconventional shoes do not serve the purpose. Are you going to change? I guess some will and endure the pain because it looks good, sounds good even though the shoes really do not work or serve their purpose well.
A conservative however, is not going to wear those new style shoes. We have shoes that fit and work well, so why change styles? We do acknowledge our friends who are not conservative may indeed find that change and a new style of shoes are perfect for their feet. They will endure anything to create change, even standing for hours in line at the polls to vote with painful feet.
What we as conservatives need to send is a clear message about just how uncomfortable those new shoes will be on their feet. Now remember those shoes look savvy and they appear to provide everything you want and need in a shoe. So choose your message wisely when you try to stop your friends from buying into change. They see a better choice, and you must be sure to engage them in why you choose not to change. If your message is unreasonable and filled with insults, then you will probably not be effective. You will get the boot and they still buy the shoes.
As conservatives we suffered great loss in the 2012 election cycle and how we work and message our politics in the future will need to be evaluated on every level. I personally will work harder, not fight harder. This is not a concession, but rather a strategy because I am not changing my principles or beliefs. I am not changing what I think is best for our country, no not in the least. I will however acknowledge we may be at a tipping point and the only way to overcome is to reverse the numbers. How we message and how we learn to integrate those who differ in their beliefs will be a monumental task for conservatives. It will require new ideas and some (ugh here it comes) change in how we get out the vote if we are to be effective.
Buckle up or lace up your shoes, we have a long walk ahead.