Fe fi fo fum!
By Alisa Craddock
Not that the pressure hadn't been building for some time. Even I in my conservative infancy had a suspicion that someone was going to try and tamper with an election that year, I had just not counted on the scale. I thought the trouble would be in New York. I had no idea the Presidency was going to be the target.
But 2000 was the year a candidate for President disrupted the orderly changing of the guard at the White House and destabilized and cast suspicion forever on the election process in our once shining, stable republic--the envy of the world. Oh, each side still points an accusing finger at the other for the debacle, but when the votes were all counted, and recounted, and recounted again, well, it seems the winner was George W. Bush after all.
But something happened that day in 2000 when the Miami-Dade election board tried to conduct their recount behind closed doors. A sleeping giant was awakened. Conservatives are usually quite reasonable and civilized, being more inclined toward law and order, and civility (Sean Hannity notwithstanding) than name calling and loud demonstrations like their more emotional liberal counterparts. But they smelled "something rotten in Denmark", and for the first time, they lifted their dignified heads and roared. They yelled and banged on the doors, and demanded, "Stop the fraud" and "Let us in!" There was no way they were going to permit this recount to be done without full visibility and oversight.
Conservative types believe in the election process. If they don't like what they're getting, they believe you vote at the appointed time to replace those who are not governing well. They vote for someone who is more consistent with their idea of government. The orderly transference of power has been a rock of stability in our young country's life. The confidence of the nation in their government, in their own power as individuals to direct the course of that nation, depended on it.
With the disaster of the 2000 elections there came a newfound spirit of activism on the part of conservatives. We are no longer as confident in our election process, nor in our government leaders. Every election now brings a dispute somewhere that drags on for months, and the anxiety it creates is palpable. But something very good has come out of it. Conservatives have, like Joshua's army, shouted down the walls of Jericho. They have taken it to the streets. They have bypassed the middle man. They've become vocal.
Liberals do that all the time. They know how effective making a lot of noise can be--the squeaky wheel, and all that. But the "Miami Riot Squad" taught conservatives how to fight when reason fails; taught them that they could change things with their voices and their determination; taught them that they can do more than talk about what is going on, they can affect it. And so they have. Feeling the jaws of tyranny closing around them, there is nothing left to do but fight. The Brooks Brothers Riot was only the beginning.
When President Bush was elected to office, he promised to put strict constructionists on the bench. When he nominated Harriet Miers, conservatives examined her closely, fairly, wanting to trust the judgment of our President, but ultimately concluded that Harriet Miers was not the kind of person we needed for the high court, and firmly requested, nay, insisted that her nomination be rejected. Many conservative groups and concerned citizens pressed the issue until she withdrew herself from consideration. The President then nominated Samuel Alito, a fine jurist who has been the kind of strict constructionist needed to tip the balance back toward the sound reason and historical intent Constitutional law.
In the 2006 elections, conservatives showed their displeasure at an unresponsive Republican party by withholding their votes, allowing the Democrats to win control. We had handed them this unprecedented victory in 2004, and they squandered it, acting more like the liberal elitists than small-government conservatives. I don't personally favor that kind of activism (or "inactivism"), especially when we are so close to slipping into a Leftist dictatorship beyond the point of no return, but it is another example of conservative action that reverberated in the halls of Congress. (The Democrats, of course, took it as a mandate. It's always a mandate when they win, but when the Republicans win, it's always "We hope the Republicans will reach across the aisle and work with us in a bi-partisan way.")
And of course this past week, we witnessed a wave of public opposition to the President's immigration bill. Americans jammed the Senate switchboard, sent emails and letters, demanding that the Congress not pass yet another "amnesty" bill, and instead insisting on immediate action to close the borders and stop the flow of illegal aliens into our country. They called us bigots, they accused us of not knowing what we were talking about, but the people remembered the last Kennedy immigration bill, with all the promises of what it would not cause, and it had, in fact, caused every single one of the problems that he promised it wouldn't create. So this time the people said "NO!" in unprecedented numbers and with a zeal that stunned the President and everyone in Congress. They said no, not from bigotry, but from experience, a respect for law and order, and to preserve the sovereignty and stability of our nation.
It is very probable that concerns about the Security and Prosperity Partnership drove a lot of the activism as well, though it was justified even without considering the SPP. But growing concern about a shadow government forming a North American Union, and the belief that this influx of illegals has been deliberately permitted in order to facilitate the union has caused a great deal of anger. Again, one of the President's most important campaign issues was to fix the illegal immigration problem. And what was his solution to the problem of illegals in this country? Make them legal. A recent article in my local newspaper about the SPP and the concerns it has fueled about a NAU were dismissed as right-wing paranoia, but if it is not so, why would the Mexican ambassador to the UN, in a panel discussion on U.S.- Mexico relations at the Univ. of Texas – San Antonio, tell those assembled that the "merger" needed to take place within eight years before the baby boomers started collecting social security? And if, in fact, a North American Union is being created, it is expressly against the will of the people of this country, and it is moreover wholly unlawful. It is a violation of every serving legislator's oath, and the Presidential Oath of Office. It must be resisted now while it is still in the "working group" stages.
There has been much said about the role that conservative talk radio played in defeating the immigration measure, but they were only the mouthpiece of the entire conservative establishment and its base of citizens expressing concern and outrage over what many saw as a deception. Grassfire.org, one of the most aggressive grassroots organizations on the Right, even produced an ad that parroted the popular commercial where the old lady demanded "Where's the Beef?!" that reminded Congress that the citizens of this country demanded they protect the borders. But all online conservative sites and mailings carried the same message. The Heritage Foundation, the Eagle Forum, Townhall, World Net Daily…these organizations are not fringe elements. Some of the most prominent conservative minds have flatly said that the immigration bill would be disastrous for America. They are not, as Clinton and Boxer reportedly said, just a bunch of far right-wing extremists. For anyone in Congress to say that is to demonize all conservatives. To "blame" talk radio and to try and impose the "Fairness Doctrine" or some other onerous restraint on free speech is nothing but a thinly disguised effort to disrupt the flow of information between conservatives and their information sources. It is precisely intended to prevent them from organizing to petition their government.
The message is clear. Conservatives will no longer sit idly by while America is dismantled and our freedom is bartered like a commodity.
Alisa Craddock is a columnist and activist in the culture war, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. She may be contacted at alisa.craddock at hushmail.com.