There's a sign that reads "You are now entering the mission field" as you exit the parking lot of my church. As a result, the church is culturally diverse and has grown exponentially without compromising biblical truth. In my late teens, I worked for a major warehouse retailer. The manager demanded employees smile and speak to every customer that crossed our path without exception. Within a year of the grand opening, our sales doubled. My church and my former employer understand what conservatives often do not: Cultural change is a way of life, not a biannual vote. Fortunately, there is a solution.
If conservatives refuse to profess our beliefs in the public square boldly and often, if we neglect to strategically share our ideas through ads, radio and TV, with the goals of both incrementally emboldening conservatives within their circles of influence and normalizing our values once again, no less than America and Western civilization are at stake.
We're all familiar with the cliche "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Likewise, many of us are familiar with Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." The left has mastered marrying the two concepts together to advance its agenda. A great example of this can be found in a 1987 article entitled "The Overhauling of Straight America." In the article, columnists Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill outline six rules to change the image of gays in America. Here are the six things they set out to accomplish:
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- Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible.
- Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers.
- Give protectors a just cause.
- Make gays look good.
- Make the victimizers look bad.
- Solicit funds: The buck stops here.
Every rule came with specific instructions on how to bring about change to advance their agenda, including vilifying any opposition. Oddly enough, they left out the two institutions that would ultimately bring them the most success – college and the courts. Nonetheless, they understood how useless it was to leave their fate to politicians and their adversaries. There's a lesson for conservatives here, and it hit me after attending an event.
Conservatism, liberty and even things in and of themselves cannot be the focus of our cause. People must be! Don't get me wrong; I believe we care about empowering people more than liberals. I also understand that individual liberty is our ultimate goal for everyone. However, we're dealing with a culture that has never been taught about American Exceptionalism, and frankly, the culture thinks we're evil. So what do we do?
We put conservatism on display. At the aforementioned event I attended, I observed conservatives who were seemingly more concerned about getting the most bang for their buck than showing appreciation for the hired help. The workers included waiters, waitresses and a small clean-up crew. Instead, a couple people complained out loud about the food and our portions. Listen, I'm a big guy who loves big portions, but we were at a fundraiser! Everyone knows the portions are for female models weighing less than 110 pounds. I couldn't help but to think how many potential converts we may have lost to our side of the aisle. What a missed opportunity!
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Imagine if someone had pulled the help aside to thank them, tip them, explain the virtues of hard work, lower taxes, generosity and the freedom to follow your dreams. Seeing as how the left dominates social media, we can't travel faster than an instant tweet, Instagram, or Facebook post. However, what we can do is be the "real" people that beat the left to a compliment or a conversation about the greatness of America and why we should be thankful to live here. Our conservatism should be infectious.
Take opportunities to thank the worker at the fast food drive-thru when you get good service. Tell them you'll pray for their promotion and why. Plant seeds of success. Don't be a cheapskate! Tip your waitress well and leave her a card with your favorite candidate's name on it. Strike up a brief conversation with your grocery store clerk on the benefits of capitalism, after complimenting him, of course. If you're invited to a wedding, be sure and provide a copy of Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" with a crisp $100 bill inside with a note. Teach the widow next door how to invest her money so Social Security isn't her sole means of income. We can't afford to leave retail politics up to politicians anymore. Too many citizens have grown partisan, and most of the time they can't provide a cogent argument as to why.
If we're going to save America, our refuge, hope and trust must not be in the ballot box alone but rather in its greatest asset – people.