Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Give Thanks For What ???

As I read the news, it is filled with specific and obvious reasons why the last thing on my mind should be to give thanks for the world we live in. Social, Political, Religious, and Financial upheaval. Should I give thanks for that?

But then I look at myself. My own situation and I see a microcosm of the same story. My house should literally be condemned. My income has gone from little to almost non existent. I’m divorced. I see my two children rarely. My political party has been thoroughly trashed in the last election in my County.

I heat with wood and each day I’m splitting or hauling wood into the house. Each morning my house is close to freezing and I have to huddle over my wood stove to keep warm and have my first cup of coffee.

I live in constant worry that the city will shut me down and condemn my house forcing me out into the streets. Onto the Dole. I just continue to do what I do, and paying my property taxes has become over the years my first priority. Without a house all the freedom I have to do what I want disintegrates into the freedom to live in another’s world with out the wherewithal to do anything I want.

The reason I give thanks today and everyday is that I have the ability to hope, to see past life. I have as we all do an imagination. The blessing, the gift comes in my ability to imagine the beautiful side of life. This blessing is a learned behavior.

It can be taught by people who have been beaten down and risen above their struggles. Much as a runner “hitting the wall” and has to dig deeper, to find their inner strength, and in so doing find a peace of mind from the doing. So too have I taught myself inner peace and contentment by taking satisfaction in overcoming the obstacles to freedom in my life. Heating with wood gives me that sense of freedom to control my life that few have even considered.

Nor do I suggest it. I simply suggest that we teach ourselves to look for and appreciate those things in life that we have control over and find the peace of mind from doing them, instead of letting others do them for us. Learn to give thanks for the freedom of mind that the work of “doing” accomplishes as nothing else quite does.

What is Thanksgiving but a re-enactment of our ancestors reveling in the bounty of overcoming all their hardships, through long hours of hard arduous work. Work I might add that only amounted to enough food to get them through the winter. The work they had to do was work that “Americans won’t do” anymore. At least the work bureaucrats in Washington won’t do. Then again I imagine peace of mind there is in short supply.

A sense of self worth has to be earned in this world.

It is hard to explain the “warmth of mind” I feel every morning in the winter as I become toasty warm from, then the bounty I realize I have created as I have to move further away from my wood stove, to stay comfortable. This is a direct in your face daily affirmation of the choice I have always in front of me, as to whether I will embrace freedom and use it to create my own self worth or give it away to others to let them feel important.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stealth Conservatism

I’m Not Running For President in 2012

There I said it. There’s a certain freedom in saying that. Now I don’t have to worry so much about what I say and dive into the local political scene. I can talk about conservative ideas and solutions, and not be worried about anything other than the message. At this point I’m not making any money either way; so the freedom I feel in expressing my message is great.

How can our leaders feel that same freedom to express the message? To actually relearn how to be creative and spontaneous.

I have a proposal for all the political pundits, prognosticators and political leaders and other gurus of note. Commit to going out to a precinct level activity pro bono with no fanfare and minimum warning to help fire up the “grassroots“, which everyone talks about and is saying needs firing up. If some of the “Big Shots” in the conservative movement could organize others to do this, there could be a real education going on. Not only from the top down but the “Bottom Up”.

I don’t think this is a novel concept.

Are we capable of learning from the past?
Phyllis Schalfly points out some good historical examples, in her recent article in Townhall.com.
-----link-----
http://townhall.com/columnists/PhyllisSchlafly/2008/11/25/time_to_follow_reagans_example
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She pointed out that Ronald Reagan honed his skills and message by going out and speaking and talking to anyone who would listen for four years. She suggests that the process of doing that is how Reagan learned to adapt the Conservative message to what the people wanted.
-----quote from article-----
By 1980, Reagan had sharpened his conservative philosophy in sync with what Americans want from their leaders.
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Schalfly then concludes
-----quote from article-----
In the period from 1976 to 1980, grass-roots conservatives and Ronald Reagan learned from each other. That's the model conservatives should follow now and educate new leaders.
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To follow her example, her conclusion needs to put more emphasis on the education of Reagan by the people. In Reagan’s case the conservative education came in his early conversion from a liberal Democrat to a Conservative Republican. His conservative “punditry” was already there. It began to mean something when to paraphrase Peter F. Drucker: Reagan became effective when his punditry “degenerated into work”, the work of meeting the people and making the solutions work on a local level. The whole 4 years of Reagan campaigning and honing his message and skills was not about conservatives educating a new leader about conservatism;
but a conservative getting educated by the people about how conservatism can be used to help them.

How conservative leaders are best at facilitating the solutions to the problems that the people want and need.

I think our leaders, pundits and prognosticators, myself included need to get back to the rightway not the beltway. Working pro bono and almost incognito is an excellent way of doing this. Let’s get personal again with our base. Let’s connect. Let’s get real. All the other clich├ęs like putting our money where our mouths and computers are.

Remember the untold thousands who still volunteer for no pay. They who give some of their time and their money to the Party. They also have families, careers or jobs and commitments etc. I think a little humble pie wouldn’t taste so bad if our leaders thought they were giving something back to the base. They might think it tasted pretty good once they found out where it’s being served, and how easy it is to find.

Bill Bennett was interviewed by Bill Steigerwald in an article again in Townhall.com.
-----link-----
http://townhall.com/columnists/BillSteigerwald/2008/11/24/bill_bennett_to_gop_lets_get_to_work
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I quote Mr. Bennett about how he thinks the message is best put forth. He talks of “Pragmatism” as the method to best put forth our message. A “judge us by our deeds” type of thing. A “Jindal, Cantor, Pawlenty” type of thing.
-----quote from article-----
We're not blinded by ideology. We believe in the American dream. We believe in individual enterprise and individual responsibility. That's an amalgam: That's partly values, partly business ethic.
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We must learn how to show the people how our message works at the local level. Bill Bennett mentions the young leaders. He talks of the Republicans needing to hone our message and our messengers.

We can do that best if we let the people tell us what they want. We can find that out best when we see and hear it first hand unfiltered by fame fortune and all the rest. Perhaps the best of us can then learn to not only articulate it better but create pragmatic solutions that actually help. If we can do that we will be building a real foundation on which we can win again. I know that sounds pretty simple. You know what? The sound of simple and doable is refreshing for a change.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jackie Cushman Gingrich

I have discovered a new to me, gifted writer that I really enjoy. Her name is Jackie Cushman Gingrich. That is correct, she is Newt Gingrich’s daughter.

Her style of writing, if I may be so bold, reminds me of my other favorite writer, Peggy Noonan. While Peggy Noonan has the knack and skill to draw her own unique conclusions on major events and make me wonder why I didn’t think of that: Jackie Cushman Gingrich has the knack and skill to do the same on the ordinary happenings in her life. As a Conservative, I agree with the slant of each spin weaver.

While I give Peggy the edge in eloquence, political astuteness and savvy: I give Jackie acclamations for helping me frame my reactions to the occurrences of my everyday life in the sound common sense timber of Conservative ideals. She gives me pause to think about those occurrences. I also find in her writing thankfulness for that framework which shelters me during all times especially the worst of times.

Gingrich in the following link, tells us about her memories of Thanksgiving and what joy and wisdom it has given her over the years. She grounds the Holiday in facts from Washington and Lincoln. Giving us links to each but not bogging us down in historical lecturing; but rather the joys of left over turkey sandwiches. So far it is a nice personal piece , nicely written, warm with nostalgia. Spiced with history, invigorating my imagination.

Her uniqueness comes in her ability to trap the reader (at least me) into wondering just why during times of great struggle, deprivation and fear our leaders asked us to give thanks for what we had. To take a day from battling for survival to enjoy what we have.

She then closes it up beautifully answering that question. Not only that but by means of said turkey sandwich, we can still give thanks after Thanksgiving Day.

-----quote from article-----
By giving thanks for what we have, we will begin to be receptive and open, able to dream of what might be. This optimism will then give way to action and results.
This year, as you bite into your leftover turkey sandwich, give more thanks
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Below is the link to her article in Townhall.com
-----link-----
http://townhall.com/columnists/JackieGingrichCushman/2008/11/23/this_year,_give_more_thanks
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Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative