Friday, November 7, 2008
I have not yet begun to fight!
On September 23, 1779, John Paul Jones fought one of the bloodiest engagements in naval history. Jones struggled with the 44-gun Royal Navy frigate Serapis, and although his own vessel was burning and sinking, Jones would not accept the British demand for surrender, replying, “I have not yet begun to fight.” More than three hours later, Serapis surrendered and Jones took command.
This most famous phrase “I have not yet begun to fight” has been coursing through my mind since the election of our newest President Barack Obama, and the complete takeover of the House and Senate.
The general consensus is that the Republican Party dropped the ball and so suffered a devil of a whipping Tuesday night. I agree with this simplistic assessment wholeheartedly and make not a single excuse for the failure of the Republicans, of which I am one, to gain/retain seats in Congress and lose the Presidency. They were out campaigned, out played, and out spent across the board.
As the Republicans wander amidships trying to put out the fires and asses the true damage, let them not despair overmuch for the fight for this country and the traditional values that made her great is by no means over. Even from the jaws of defeat can victory be snatched, it will take time, energy, and the same steadfast determination that Captain Jones displayed 229 years ago.
The question on everyone’s mind is “How?”
The Republican Party needs to remember and adhere to its basic principles of less government, the free market, and the Idea that the Constitution is inviolate and not to be toyed with. The concept that moderation is the way to victory and that the prostitution of one’s beliefs and values is what the electorate wants has been disproved. I for one respect no one who does not stand up for that which they proclaim to believe. This is basic to most Americans, we don’t trust those who backslide, we perceive it as weak, and dishonest. The Democrats played on that weakness with great skill.
The Party Leadership will have to either be replaced by those of more fortitude, or begin fighting for a complete restructure and overhaul. Status quo will work no more than the quid pro quo arguments of Bi-partisan moderation that created this mess to begin with. By returning to the basics the party will then begin to rebuild the confidence of the people and those people will reward the party by contributing time, money and effort on the Republicans behalf. The party needs to become accessible to the general population by which I mean, one should not have to call the Party Chairman for information on subjects because the Town, and County committees are not available. Lastly Republicans need a solid plan of action, a vision, and a strong voice advocating Fiscal conservative values. It does no good to organize large blocks of voters for rallies and meetings if there is no follow through for, once the voters leave the fold out chairs in the hall, they need to know what to do next. They need to feel that they can make a contribution to the cause no matter how small not just that they are “Informed” on the issues.
I suggest that each and every one of the battered and smoke smeared sailors on the Bonhomme Richard (Jones’ ship) felt a bit of despair as the British guns pounded away at them, killing and maiming their shipmates. I am sure that some felt that all was lost and that surrender was imminent. However, with great conviction, determination and strong leadership, the tide of battle turned and those same weary patriots were rewarded for their efforts. Each and every man on that ship had to redouble and then treble his efforts, they had to improvise, adapt and overcome all obstacles in order to subdue the enemy and claim victory.
A lesson of the ages lies within this naval engagement.
But will the Republican Party leadership learn from this Historical event, or will they squander the opportunity, and continue on with their non confrontational and moderate path and ignore it? I hope the former and not the latter to be sure, however only time will tell. What I can say is that the moment has come for all of us, to get involved and start redefining the Party from the ground up. I will be contacting my town Chair this week to see what if any plan is available going forward. If he has nothing then I will continue to climb the mysterious dark ladder all the way to the top screaming bloody murder the whole way. We need to begin banding together and formulating strategies for local and State elections now! And to make a stand for the values and principles the leadership should have been expounding. Seek out others of like mind, and find candidates of solid fiscal conservative thinking then try to get them into any office available. Don’t wait for the Party to do it for you; don’t rely on the good nature and common sense of others, or on the wisdom of the party leadership. On all counts they have failed, and need to know this!
I just started to fight! what about you?