There is a great tendency in this country to root for the underdog. Those are the stories we tend to remember. Some believe that this inclination can be traced back to our roots in Minutemen and midnight rides. I think there is something to that. But regardless of its origins, the general feeling persists. It can be a powerful motivator but also a dangerous trap. The long held affinity for the underdog has created an unconscious belief that they are destined to win, despite the odds. This is especially true in politics, when the moniker of “right and wrong” are placed on ideas, candidates, or parties. We like to believe that what is right will win out in the end, and that because it is right it must be fated to do so. What very many still do not realize is that the end, in politics, is almost never decided on these arbitrarily drawn lines. The winner is never decided on who is right and who is wrong. We cannot rest assured that because our plan is the right one, and that it is better than all the others that we will end up victorious. The best ideas do not necessarily win, the simplest ones do, rocking the boat can be a bad idea, and having the “establishment” on your side is a definite benefit in terms of organization, fund raising, a volunteer force, and attention. All of which are important in a political campaign.
We have covered before here, and it bears repeating, that Abraham Lincoln’s “A house divided against itself cannot stand” speech was written and used as a part of his Senate campaign. A campaign he would go on to lose. Even if the truth is spoken eloquently, even if the message is important, even if the times are dire, we are not guaranteed an electoral victory. Our present day battle with tyranny comes under the guise of the tax code. It shares much in common with David’s battle with Goliath. A key difference in the success is David was a man described as after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). A helpful trait to be sure. But we cannot rely upon the righteousness of God to slay our foes with sling and stone. We cannot rely on established political entities; we cannot expect their leadership, support, or their fellow activism. And we face a Goliath of our own, just as dangerous as the giant in Scripture. An enemy that is much larger and more powerful than ourselves, backed by an army that outnumbers ours, and supremely focused on our destruction, that constantly belittles our cause as something nonexistent or impossible.
The future of our cause is uncertain. But while it is far from foreseeable, I find myself optimistic in the extreme. Because my view of the future is cemented in your actions and the voice of the American people. What this past election has proven is that, while unpredictable, the vote of the public is conclusive. Which means that even the perennial politician will listen to it. That gives me hope, because we have always known that this idea relies upon the will of the American people. We recognize that this plan will not come from Congress, it will not be started in the Senate, and we have not found a reliable Presidential candidate that has made it a key plank in their platform. Our hope rests with the American people, as it always has.
My hope for our future is bright because of this fact, but not this fact alone. I also have come to know the people involved in this movement. They should be commended for all that they do and for all the work to come. They should also realize that their involvement is integral. There is no backup for our movement, no one else coming up behind to carry the torch should we fail. Without the support of those involved, the banner would fall ignominiously to the ground. Therefore the future of our movement also rests with you. We have no future without your action, and no hope without your voice. And the coming years will require action. We cannot rely on easy methods of the past. Email evangelism, sending out blanket messages is ineffective and a waste of time, armchair politicking is a useless endeavor; we require involvement in campaigns, in political parties, in local communities to spread our message on a person to person basis. Our action, not our talk of actions, gives us legitimacy in communities, then states, then the nation.
But this is the week of Thanksgiving. I encourage you to take time out, to be with family, and to reflect. Because the coming years will ask much of us. Sometimes to put our pride aside, sometimes to work with those we disagree with, sometimes to cede control in the name of unity, but all of the time to keep our gaze affixed to the bigger picture and the true goal. There are some who believe that the purity of our cause will destine us to glorious victory, but we need to realize that what is required to win is work. Keep this thought in mind though. Abraham Lincoln lost his Senate bid but became the President who restored the Union. The Israeli army lost its faith and will but a shepherd held firm and defeated a giant. As a native Texan I grew up learning that the Alamo was a military defeat, but one that galvanized a force to win the war. To those in the doldrums of defeat I offer this message. The war yet rages. Your input is invaluable and we cannot win without it. We may not be awaiting a destiny already determined, but we still live in a country where we can create our own. With effort and will we can win, as easily as anyone else. All we need is you.