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February 20, 2014

The Price of Short Memories

Harry M. Covert

The major cause for so little interest in conservative partisan politics these days is rather simple. People suffer from short memories. The current crop of supposed leaders is out of their league.


Difficulties not only permeate the national conscience, but local and state principles have simply gone awry, lost steam and vanished from the mindset.


It's not a pleasant decision to remind everyone of the awful time of the late 1970s, especially the presidential term of the Georgia peanut farmer and Sunday School teacher, who obviously has become a better international voting monitor than he was a president.


An astonishing fact is that the man graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Apparently he didn't really learn a lot, at least how to be the most powerful man in the world.


As the national troubles included oil and gasoline shortages and enforced low highway speeds and the despicable hostage situation in Iran, Americans got their bellies full.


Today, there is a dire deficiency in the capitol city. Too many self-serving amateurs listen only to themselves, a coterie of similar advisors, other alleged campaign experts, hangers-on and has-beens.


Weak leadership in the 1979 White House paved the way for a new day in America and every state, cities, counties and communities. Actually, it was a revolution.


During the time churches of all persuasions and their members had never before been motivated to involve themselves on politics. They believed in spiritual lives, staying out of public life and leaving affairs of the nation to others.


That is, until a Baptist pastor and university founder frankly said enough is enough.


What he meant was that the time had come for Christians and other faith believers to get out of their pews and homes all over the country and makes some changes.


Jerry Falwell, of Lynchburg, VA, founder of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University and other ministries got the ball rolling.


In today's liberalization of traditional values, where evil is now live, the Reverend Falwell's voice would be heard and the Congress would find backbone.


When Mr. Falwell founded Moral Majority, a 501(c) (3) organization, along with several strong political operatives like the late Paul Weyrich and direct mail guru Richard Viguerie, they literally put the "fear of God" into the White House, the Senate and House of Representatives. That's a fact.


He travelled the nation constantly – all 50 states – with political rallies where thousands upon thousands appeared. Party leaders everywhere saw a rapidly growing movement taking shape. Office holders suddenly began to pay attention, coming out of their hiding places and admitting they were "Christians" or practicing traditional evangelicals.


The media worked overtime to label the Reverend Dr. Falwell a raging foolish fundamentalist, a kook and many other unkind adjectives. The Virginia church leader kept smiling, always appearing on radio and television shows, including his own Old Time Gospel Hour, faced the grilling of the nation's most notable liberal reporters and commentators. He never quit telling the story that the nation's political structure was going to change. It did, too.


A first-time news conference at the National Press Club in Washington had Mr. Falwell's agents practically bribing reporters of all stripes to attend. When they finally agreed, they found he was no amateur, but an articulate spokesman able to speak, travel and motivate then heretofore non-voters.


Appearing at Oxford University's debating venue, he established himself a bona fide national church and political arbiter, a leader and major force. Everyone stood up and took notice.


He can take credit for opening political doors for young people, motivating church leaders to get involved with national officers in Washington, making their voices heard in government circles.


Today, tragically, the best many conservative organizations and those individuals elected can do, is find themselves on the outside of American opinion. They must find issues to pique the interests of others and find some dazzling leaders to stay on point.


Unless attractive leaders are found, important new issues are explored and serious spokesmen can reach the platforms, the current crop of conservatives struggling out there will find their minority party dying quickly and committing a painfully slow professional suicide. They are without solid goals, good leaders and are simply flailing about.


The national, state and local parties must get into the serious business of teaching and training candidates; begin to teach them to become dynamic, leaders and spokesmen and spokespersons, not merely followers.


Of course, the Reverend Falwell knew how to encourage, how not to take “no” for an answer from Congress and was a masterful people person. Even to those who disagreed, he maintained their respect and friendship.


Jerry died May 15, 2007. He galvanized conservative Christians into a powerful bloc.


Who out there today can resurrect a declining political party before it's too late? The list of names is paltry at best on all levels.


Truly, where are today’s new lightning issues?


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