BY: B. Keith Plunkett @Keithplunkett
“Responsibility is the price of freedom.“~Elbert Hubbard
It is hard to believe that the name-calling and gotcha politics on the two sides of the now infamous Mississippi Republican divide could have gotten any more ridiculous.
Day by day, little by little the many hundreds of thousands of voters who awoke during the June primary and participated in the largest Republican turnout in Mississippi history go back to the reality of their lives. No doubt, there are quite a few wondering at this point what in the hell they were thinking by getting wrapped up in politics and getting fooled into hoping.
Disappointment in the political process is slowly becoming the norm again among those who thought this was something special. Empty suits, squeaky wheels, shysters and money men are doing what they have always done; running it into the ground.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some kind-hearted people who care. Over a nearly 15-year span working in politics I have met many who are now on both sides of this family feud that will remain life-long friends. But many of my friends are so caught up at this point it appears they no longer see the forest for the trees, blinded by every new ‘shocking‘ revelation of misconduct or perceived slight and injustice.
The latest skirmish is between my friend Hayes Dent and the nameless faceless blogger at Mississippi Conservative Daily (MCD). (I know the nameless, faceless blogger who launched that site nearly a year ago. But I’ll honor his desire to remain anonymous for the sake of congeniality.)
I have known Hayes for many years, and have known him as a stand-up guy. Even in times of disagreement we remain friends. Likewise, I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of MCD in hoping for a different future for Mississippi politics.
Judge for yourself:
Hayes fired back on Twitter:
With all due respect to both, this was unproductive and unnecessary. It continues to divide people and it continues to run potential conservative voters away. It educates and inspires no one.
Of course the Republican Party wants conservative voters in the party–yes, even those who didn’t support Cochran. And a simple, well-marketed message to potential clients can’t be automatically read as a future plan to race-bait or pay people to party-raid GOP primaries.
There are numerous other examples from Supertalk Radio’s constant self-aggrandizing attacks, to Y’all Politics’ Alan Lange attempting to connect racist sentiments, to the constant barrage of faux outrage from Frank Corder’s Twitter feed and weekly political obituary, to the muckraking and stumbling from McDaniel’s Communications Director Noel Fritsch.
That’s not to mention the numerous Facebook groups. We now have conservative coalitions to add to the TEA Party, to add to the Friends of Chris McDaniel. We also now have REAL friends of Chris McDaniel–apparently the other group wasn’t real enough–and TRUE conservatives who I’m guessing exist to fight the fake ones.
The hard-working Mississippians I know don’t care for all that negativity. They care about putting dinner on the table.
None of this is doing anything to discuss why we are Conservatives or what it means in the real world where bills have to be paid and families have to eat. None of it. It’s just two sides of the same coin vying for power, while the voters who once were listening a couple of months ago slip away again into their real lives. Who can blame them after seeing this circus?
A few days ago I was called and asked to speak at an upcoming Constitution Day rally. I have yet to make the decision and return the call, mostly because I’m not sure anyone cares to hear what I have to say.
In a nutshell, it is this:
I am sick of pro-Big Government Republicans trading away social conservatism for the almighty dollar that further puts us into a hole of discretionary government.
I am also sick of people who want to wear the Constitution like body armor, while refusing to educate themselves as to the social responsibilities that make communities work and fulfills the promise of the God-given freedom that the Constitution recognizes. There is only so much flag waving we can do before we have to actually address problems.
Policy that fulfills the promise of the Constitution is only as good as recognition of the connection between social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, the rule of law and the absolute necessity of peoples participation in their communities.
Without any of those things. We are doomed to continue down the path where men rule other men, and the politically well-connected and wealthy enjoy privileges most don’t have.
If we want to protect the Constitution, then we should be doing the difficult and often uncelebrated work of empowering people to build strong communities. Hard work, education, honesty, integrity, family values and Faith in God that gives lives meaning and direction is the social responsibility of “we the people”. Until that is a major focus then we cannot realize the promise of the Constitution. The rest is just noise.
I, for one–like many other Mississippians, I suspect–am sick of the noise.
Okay. So it happened. So now what?
The question that needs answering is: are we going to allow it to happen, or are we going to start talking about Constitutional Conservatism as the governing principle that it is?
Only then can we hope to repair the damage.
About Keith: Keith Plunkett has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by going to HorizonMediaMarketing.com or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett