Looking Back, Looking Forward

This year saw the passing of The Andy Griffith Show actors George Lindsey and, then, Andry Griffith himself. Not surprisingly,there was some nostalgia for days gone by, especially compared to the social rot that surrounds
us today.

T.S. Eliot lamented his generation: “We can assert with some confidence that our own period is in one of decline; that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago; and that the evidences of this decline are visible in every department of human activity.”

Eliot wrote that in 1949. The following year, Clyde Brion Davis filled 284 pages to prove him wrong. These two men had very different responses to the culture of their day: Pessimist and Optimist.

The question, Clash reader, is: how will you react to today’s culture?

Will you call it a lost cause and wall yourself into a cultural ghetto, or will you put on your cup and get in the game?

For a long time, the Left hasn’t taken conservatives very seriously. They haven’t really had to. Why is that? (Hint: It’s in our name, “conservative”.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to wear the “bitter clinger” label. I’m Christian, conservative, embrace traditional values and wouldn’t want it any other way, but…

Any student of history can tell you that conservatives have been known for resisting change, fighting for the status quo, and generally playing defense. (With some spectacular exceptions).

In sports, politics, or war, it’s all the same. If you play defense without offense, your options are (1) tie, or (2) lose. Winning isn’t even on the table.

Playing defense is reactionary. Its only plan is to repel the attack, and hope to survive. That simply isn’t good enough. We need something more than a romantic notion of what life used to be. Too many people long to roll back the clock, without looking forward.

I’ve heard too many conservative-leaning people say that life was best in the 1950s. Are they right? Was it objectively better? Or is this nostalgia simply a cop-out; an excuse for giving up? Would we really want to go “Back to the Future”? Fire up a Flux Capacitor, hop in a DeLorean, and have Michael J. Fox drop us off in 1955?

What did the 1950s really look like? Let’s recap: Brown v. Board of Education; the civil disobedience of Rosa Parks; Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Montgomery. These all happened in the 1950s. Wow, some Golden Age.

That generation needed people with courage and vision to make it better; and heroes like Parks and King did step up. Our generation needs heroes, too. It’s time to step up, again.

President Reagan secured his place in history. How? By seeing something more, demandingsomething more, being something more. Never did Reagan pine for what had been. Instead, he pushed for what it could be. The Great Communicator had a vision, and he inspired a generation to run with it. He had his City on a Hill.

And a funny thing happened when Reagan played offense — his push toward a grand goal, made the other guys back pedal, retrench and play defense.

It wasn’t long ago that conservatives — especially religious activists — were denounced by liberals for trying to cram the Bible down our throats. Today, those same liberals — especially the social activists — are shoving their social agenda down our throats.

The Left are pushing hard for the sort of country they want. Let’s give them some credit; they have well-defined goals: Government big enough to reward their friends and punish their foes; Government entrenched enough to curb those inconvenient liberties that make Joe Citizen difficult to control; and Government friendly to the social values they hold as absolute. That is their world. Their vision. Their finish line.

What are you pushing for? Where is your finish line?

We know we’ll never hit perfection, but we can — and should — strive for it anyway. So, what might perfection look like? Do you even know? If you do, what are you personally willing to do for it?

Vote? Get informed? That’s a start. But what next? Watch re-runs from TV’s Golden Age until the next election, or look to the example of another guy laid to rest this year?

Andrew Breitbart.

Breitbart looked forward. He had a goal, and pressed toward it relentlessly. What is yourvision? How are you improving your corner of the world?

Be a conservative. Get creative. See a problem and provide a solution; that’s what we’re good at. Start an initiative, don’t wait for a government program.

Love politics? Join a campaign, or run for office. Good at business? Start one. Maybe show someone else how to do the same. Write a book. Create great art. Teach a skill. Mentor a kid. Volunteer. Something; anything.

I don’t know what your talents and dreams are, but you do. Find what you — personally — can do to make your world the way you know it should be.

And then… Get in the game.

About the author: Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up Clashdaily.com since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck

View all articles by Wes Walker

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