The Day I Became Interested In Politics

I’m often asked what sparked my interest in politics…

It was the fourth day of my freshman year in high school. The year was 1996.

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Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was in the midst of an all out battle for the White House against incumbent president Bill Clinton.  We know today that we was not successful, but on that day his Presidential race was alive and well.

He was making a scheduled stop at my small Christian high school in Dayton Ohio.  The Secret Service had arrived in force the day before to take up shop in my science class and got straight to work.  By the next morning my locker had been sealed shut with some very official looking tape.  It is the one and only time I’ve ever used the excuse, “My homework was sealed in my locker by the Secret Service.” excuse and it actually work.  Go figure!

The day of the event came and the first thing I noticed when I stepped foot on school grounds was the crush of national media attention.  Satellite trucks from every channel and network imaginable seemed to have take over our parking lot.  Once inside the doors we were sent through a security screening before being allowed back to our classrooms.  I’m fairly certain we didn’t have any actual classroom activities that day.  I could be mistaken.  If we did, I clearly wasn’t paying attention.

Then at around mid-morning the event was set to kick-off.  It was not open to the public, but there were plenty of people invited.  There was a courtyard in the middle of the school typically reserved for the cool kids lunch table, but on this particular day it hosted a Presidential contender on the worlds stage.  An announcer blared over the PA system an introduction of the candidate and the crowd roared.  I stood there, perched hanging out of a first floor window looking out on the courtyard in awe as a small piece of history played out before my eyes.

I couldn’t tell you anything specific from his speech that day.  It was more of a forum of sorts than a traditional speech.  I don’t remember what policy or program Senator Dole was pitching, or what attack he may have hurled at the Clinton campaign.  Aside from a few noticeable faces in his entourage I don’t remember who else attended that day.

But what I do remember has stuck with me since that day.  I remember the pomp and pageantry of a national campaign stop.  I remember seeing people in person that you’re only supposed to see on CNN or the nightly news.  I remember watching a man who had dedicated his life to public service try to influence and persuade people to cast a vote to help elect him leader of the free world.  I remember being in awe of seeing a national election up close, and impressed by the grandeur of it all. That day sparked an interest in politics for me, one that has not waned since.

Since that day I’ve become more convinced with each passing election that it truly matters who governs.  The policies and principles of an individual, and a party, matter in how they govern.  There is absolute truth, and our faith should guide the decisions we make at home, at church, and in the public arena.

My appreciation and respect for the process has only grown stronger since that day 17 years ago.  I admire those who offer themselves for public service, even when I don’t agree with their philosophy. We are fortunate to live in the greatest country on the face of the earth.  I pray we don’t take it for granted.

Question: What about you?  What sparked your interest in politics?  What is your view of our political process?

Dear GOP, Don’t Blow It!

I’m writing this in the midst of watching election returns. I joked, saying that Election Night is my Superbowl, but tonight is truly historic!

Let’s be honest, the GOP hasn’t really done a whole lot to get these votes. All they’ve really done is stand up against an Obama agenda that lacked results and has been wildly unpopular. They’ve not inspired anyone, offered any results, or offered better ideas. People are angry, they’re scared, and they’re tired of the same. That’s what tonight’s landslide GOP victory is all about. This is how midterms go. It’s all about the President and the majority party. Think back to 2006, it was ugly for the GOP. Times have changed! It’s a bad year to be a democrat.

Either way, a W is a W! A win is a win! I’m not so concerned with how and why we won, as much as I am the fact that here in Tennessee it was a total bloodbath, and across the country Conservative victories dot the map. We won tonight! Conservative values won!

Tomorrow it starts, it’s on our watch, what happens next is on us. So DON’T BLOW IT!

The contract with America worked, until we stopped following it. We can’t make the same mistake again. This is the third landslide election in a row. 2006 (Anti- Bush, Iraq Vote) 2008 (Anti-Bush and Cooler than cool Obama) 2010 (Anti-Obama agenda vote). Another landslide turns things back over to the Dems. We have a shot, we got a 2nd chance, we hold the purse strings now. We can’t blow this…

The House belongs squarely in the GOP column, Pelosi is out of a Job. The Senate will stay in Dem control. If we’re not careful, Obama will spend the next 2 years blaming Republicans in the House for the continued poor economy, and lack of “change”. If we’re not careful, he’ll woo the voters back, and be cooler than before, and win re-election in 2012.

GOP needs to find a message, and stick to it. We can’t just be the party of no. We can’t just be the party of Anti-Obama. We have to share better ideas. We have to stick to our conservative values, and lead with them. We need to step out of the stone age and communicate to the voters in the 21st century. We have to step up, rise the occasion, and not let this chance pass us by.

The next election, 2012, will be another defining election. It doesn’t have to be an Obama re-election. But that all depends on how we start tomorrow. It all depends on what we do for the next two years. All that matters is what we say, and what we do.

People want results, and they’ll vote for the party who can give it to them. This country is center-right, and tonight can be the beginning of a new era.

GOP, You’re on deck, don’t strike out!