The VISION we are pursuing is to get the conservative movement in all its parts to work together on issues and projects of mutual interest. The strength that will result will change public policies. It is our small part in returning America to being the Constitutional Republic we once were – that made us the “shining light on the hill”, as Ronald Reagan called it. We will again try to become a nation of limited government and personal responsibility, where our elected officials conduct themselves as statesmen rather than mere politicians. Even more so, we will change public perceptions so it lasts. As Abraham Lincoln stated: “with public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” As Nobel Laureate, economist Dr. Milton Friedman stated it: “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the tight thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”
We kicked this vision off with MiCPAC last March. It was by all measurements a huge success. The PLAN includes a number of tools to implement this vision. I will explain below, some steps we are taking in pursuit of the dream.
The Michigan Freedom To Work coalition began as the Michigan Conservative Right To Work Task Force. It has grown to a coalition of more than 150 key groups, organizations, laborers, academics, business groups and many others who believe in freedom. Several are state-wide groups like Union Conservatives, American Family Association, Michigan Conservative Union, Campaign For Liberty, Small Business Association of Michigan, Frederick Douglas Foundation and others. For decades the unions have stated over and over that is was a civil right for workers to organize and to have union representation. Never is his wildest exclamations did Samuel Gompers imagine a day where the labor movement would require compulsory unionism, where a laborer had to pay to a third party as a condition of getting or holding a job. He said that the right of a man to choose whether he should belong to a union or not, that was his right, and that no matter how wrong you thought he might be for not joining or support your union, that was his right.” As Thomas Jefferson stated it: “No man shall be compelled…to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he believes is sinful and tyrannical.” Is it also a civil right to not join a union? We think it is, and it is fundamentally a matter of worker freedom. We will soon have legislation introduced in the Michigan legislature and will be calling on the grass roots to assure its passage.
The PLAN has several other elements in the works. The Education Task Force kicked off last week. The Judicial Accountability Task force will launch in September. The Health Care Compact Working Group is in formation and will go public in October. There will be additional groups working on transparency, legislative initiatives, legislative accountability, regulations, budgets, taxation and spending and other burning issues. Projects Friedman (move public sentiment) and Kirk (deeper understanding of conservative principles) are in the works. Operation Watch Dog will remind public officials who they work for. These are very exciting times.
I personally believe we are in the midst of our nation’s third revolution or civil war. The first was when we separated from a foreign power, but found thirteen individual republics had to band together to provide for the common defense and to begin to achieve our potential for freedom and prosperity. Our forefathers fought amongst themselves as they had vastly different beliefs on how this government might best preserve the founding principles. Jefferson and Madison undermined Washington and Adams, as they had different insight as to how much government was necessary, how much had to be surrendered to a federal government. But their patriotism and commitment to liberty and limited governments are a legacy we must retain. The second revolution was the war between the states. Seven states seceded from the Union and South Carolina captured two Federal forts even before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. Lincoln assembled a “Team if Rivals” as written about in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s excellent book (I hear President Obama liked the book – we have one thing in common). Even so, Lincoln had Governor Chase (his Treasury Secretary) conspiring against him. Lincoln knew it well, but believed that as long as Chase did his job and assured resources for the war, he could overlook Chase’s repeated attempts to belittle Abe and boost his own chances of succeeding Lincoln in 1864. Jefferson Davis’ confederate Secretary of State strongly disagreed with his policies. So too, we will have differences of opinion from time to time as to our courses of action and support for different candidates. Lincoln ended his first inaugural address with the phrase: “the mystical chords of memory…will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” He had confidence that our core values would prevail. So must we, but “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. We must act on our beliefs, and we must act together to enhance our chances to prevail.
The third revolution or civil war now in our midst, is that between peoples and classes crossing state lines and communities and even splitting families. In the name of diversity we have diminished our traditional values and mores, those given us by a benevolent Creator. I never imagined any politicians would ever go there in America. President George Washington warned us to be watchful for “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.” President Reagan and others warned us against class warfare. When a majority of people learn they can vote themselves “largess at the public trough” as Reagan stated it, and are moved to convert or otherwise redistribute wealth and the means of production be it by votes or by guns, this great experiment in freedom and security will be lost. History teaches us that this destroys a democracy to a dictatorship and eventually a monarchy. The 2008 election featured the most expensive and possibly the most corrupt campaign in our history. It exploited women, blacks and youth and promised the masses that they would pay no taxes and would be provided by government, by taking from those most financially successful in society. It promised youth great education benefits at little or no costs, and a civilian corps that would be publically funded and as powerful as the military; it would keep the domestic peace. The “stimulus” in its base accomplishment, was merely to prop up public unions and private unions dependent upon public works. The many merit shop employees (about 83% of the workforce in Michigan) were left out and had no opportunity to compete for any of their tax dollars. It is vintage class warfare. Greed corrupts, and the appeal is a blatant promise of getting something one does not earn. It creates envy and flirts with mob rule. It is an immense danger we must prepare to address.
How can we dent this juggernaut? I have one small suggestion that we might pursue within The PLAN. As I attend tea party meetings around the state I do not see large numbers of youth or minorities in attendance. But those that do are dedicated, knowledgeable patriots who fear as do we, the demise of our Nation and its freedoms. I envision an Urban Tour to try to take the conservative message to people who are coerced by leadership who deliver 90% of the black vote, for example, to one political party who promises largess from the government, without toil; the “right” to property earned or owned by others. We have great conservative leadership within the black and Hispanic communities, and some great leaders of mid-east heritage, three of the fastest growing populations. These great leaders are also great speakers who have their own constituencies and following. The hoped outcome for such a tour might be to reach thousands with the message of free enterprise and individual liberties, of responsibilities and family values, of limited governments; and to recruit perhaps another 200 leaders within the minority communities in Michigan who might be advocates for freedom, liberty, limited government and personal responsibility. We might also encourage and support a Youth Initiative, to create a new conservative movement with conservative clubs in high schools and colleges to educate and train the next generation so that our republic survives and thrives. Please take a few minutes when you have time, to view this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vZ5CotdjJE&feature=share. And we need to support our theological underpinnings so that Truth and Faith may be rekindled.
As Lincoln ended in his Cooper Union speech (2/27/1860): “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
I ask you to help with this great movement, and if you are already engaged, please re-focus on how we might be most effective. Talk to family, neighbors, friends and co-workers, about our founding principles. Follow the Patriot Week events and on-line lessons, http://patriotweek.org/, with your children and grand children. Talk to our legislators about Freedom To Work. Tell them you support worker freedom and ask them to “bet on Michigan” by giving us a competitive edge in the Midwest to bring jobs back to our state. Attend area tea party, taxpayer and other conservative meetings. Help the leadership to bring more members to their meetings. Take your children and grand children. They might get the civics education missing in many K-12 schools. Help them form conservative kid clubs and give them a testimonial about what God and Country mean to you. Sign on to www.mifreedomtowork,com, sign the petition, and maybe make an financial investment in our success. It is going to take resources, financial and personal time, to make this happen. We dare not fail. Please let me know how you might help.
Together we have accomplished so much. I thank you for what you have and will continue to do, and wish you God speed!