by Ronn Torossian | November 13, 2012 12:01 am
“This election is over, but our principles endure.“- Gov. Mitt Romney, conceding 2012 presidential election
In the wake of the reelection of President Barack Obama, many conservatives are understandably discouraged. It is natural to feel momentarily defeated when a setback occurs. However, conservatives must remember that we fight for specific principles not because they are politically expedient, but because we believe those principles provide people with the greatest opportunity for success. Our love for these principles stems from a belief in those principles, not from political convenience.
At the same time, the fact that we stand on unchanging principles must not mean that we grow complacent in finding fresh and innovative ways to ensure that those principles improve the lives of those in need. I have heard two common (and opposing) views on how conservatives should move forward. I believe that both are partially correct, but that both are incomplete.
The first view is that our conservative principles are sound, and therefore we must simply reiterate them with more strength and conviction. The other view is that our principles are outdated and rigid, and that we must leave them in favor of principles that are more current and easier to articulate.
These two views confuse principles with ideas. Principles are held not because of political motivation, but because they are morally sound. Ideas are the ways in which we give life to those principles.
Conservatives believe in the principle of a strong rule of law. We believe in the principle of individual liberty and limited government with constitutional restraints.
We believe in the principle of a strong national security. We believe in the principle of religious freedom. We believe in the principle that every life is sacred. We believe in the principle that the family is the backbone of a strong society. We believe in the principle that America must be a safe haven in the world. We believe in the principle of living within our means, both individually and as a society.
And we believe in the principle of a Biblical mandate to care for fatherless and those living in poverty. We believe in these principles because we know that they afford people from all walks of life with an opportunity to pursue happiness and achieve the American dream.
As such, these principles do not change. They endure. And we as conservatives must continue the good fight of advancing them.
However, standing on unchanging principles does not mean continually recycling the same ideas. Too often, we as conservatives forget that while principles do not change, our methods of reaching those in need with these principles must be open to change. This certainly includes delivering a more articulate and charismatic message. But it goes far beyond just the delivery of the message. It must extend to the development of new and fresh policy ideas that reach real people in real need.
Doubling down on the same ideas and the same message will not advance our unchanging principles. In fact, it will undermine them.
There are a myriad of issues for which we must develop fresh ideas. One of the most controversial will be immigration. We are all immigrants, removed from that act of immigration by at most a few generations. The Left has successfully defined us as anti-immigrant, which of course we are not. But the fault of that label sticking is our own.
We must stand on our principles. They don’t change. But we must also develop fresh ideas in order for those principles to reach real people. That is the only way to ensure that our principles endure, and that they improve the lives of a citizenry who embraces them.
At the ACLJ, the work we do every day is dedicated to these principles. Our mission is to defend and advance these principles in all three branches of government, regardless of the political landscape. It does not change based on who is in the Oval Office, what party controls the Legislative Branch, or who appointed the Judge hearing our case.
That mission is unchanged today. We invite you to be a part of our mission at ACLJ.org.
Jay Sekulow: founded the: ACLJ.
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