It's a lonely road for a young Conservative. Especially if you actually make the attempt to stick to Constitutional principles.
You're chastised by the left for holding true to your values, even in the toxic environment that is most American universities; you're overlooked by your older brothers and sisters on the right because you're seemingly smaller in number than you're progressive counterparts. Then you have the alt-right provocateurs, who are provocateurs for the sake of being provocateurs, rather than defending actual Constitutional principles.
And this last group has seen a strong surge in numbers with the emergence of Donald Trump running for president.
So, you're seemingly left to wander the political landscape all by your lonesome ... or are you?
See, here's the thing about Conservatives: we're really bad at staying together.
Who remembers 2010 in front of the Lincoln Memorial during Restoring Honor? Hundreds of thousands of patriots stood as Conservative speakers like Glenn Beck and Alveda King spoke on restoring honor in this nation.
Glenn said “Where is the next George Washington? Where is the next Thomas Jefferson … they are here.”
And even today, when self-proclaimed conservatives all over the nation are tearing each other apart, I think they are in fact here. They may never be elected president, but there are Americans young and old who reflect the character that people like Washington and Jefferson had.
But in this year's presidential election I fear that a sad truth was discovered: Those Americans, wherever they may be, are in the minority.
What does that make you, the young conservative that's stumbled upon this piece? Why, it makes you a minority of a minority, and if that doesn't make wandering that political landscape any more lonesome than it already is, I frankly don't know what will.
On top of that, the world is collapsing around you: terrorism here and abroad; police officers targeted and killed for simply being police officers; decay of the moral foundation of America, hatred and anger on all sides; corruption in the government, among a plethora of other saddening events.
You, entering into adulthood, are the next generation that has to pick up the broken pieces of our nation.
So where do we go from here? We can't give up, because that's the other thing about conservatives: We're really bad at quitting, too.
There is no quick fix to the mess we are in; there is no fix-all candidate. This will take generations to fix, and it starts here. We need to stick together as conservatives and as Christians. I don't have all the answers, but I do have a few ideas.
1. Question With Boldness
Questioning things. Oh, what a terrifying thing to do. To question yourself, your beliefs and what you stand for is to humble yourself and admit that you don't have every answer. Our goal as Constitutionalist conservatives shouldn't be to blindly push an agenda without an inkling of understanding of what it is we're pushing, but to further educate ourselves in history and fact.
2. Let's Reignite the 9/12 Project
The 9/12 Project was launched by Glenn Beck in 2009. The goal was "to bring us all back to the place we were on Sept. 12, 2001 when we were not obsessed with red states, blue states or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the values and principles of the greatest nation ever created." The nine principles and 12 values are listed in full here.
To live by these principles and values is easier said than done. We must support and hold each other accountable.
3. Study the Bible and the Constitution Relentlessly
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word." - Psalm 119:9.
This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. The rights Americans have are given to us by our Creator. Many, myself included, believe the Constitution to be a document that was divinely inspired. To understand this nation, you have to understand it's history, and why it was formed.
4. Defend The Rights Of Those You May or May Not Disagree With
This is self-explanatory. The rights give to us by our Creator are for everyone, and we as Conservatives need to emphasize that.
5. Instill These Principles In Your Children
This will not be an easy road. This call to action cannot end with this generation. We must teach these principels and values to our children. If this nation is to be restored and these values and this movement is to be conserved, we must teach them.
6. Love Each Other
What legacy will we leave? Will we be the angry, violent dividers or will we be the courageous? The makers, the dreamers, the lovers. Will we be decent to each other? Will we question with boldness?
Who will you choose to be?
Laus Deo and may God keep and heal the Republic.
Ian Ballinger is a follower of Jesus Christ and a young Constitutionalist Conservative. Born and raised in the Lawrence, Kansas area, Ballinger is an aspiring filmmaker, writer, and currently hosts "The Free Stater" podcast at www.thefreestater.org
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