Michael Medved opened my eyes.
On his radio show he was trying to explain on “Disagreement Day” to disheartened conservatives that trying to “purify” the Republican is not the correct course of action. The root of his argument:
You win by making your group bigger, not smaller.
First: you should not win by selling out. A win bought at so dear a price may not be worthwhile.
Second: you should not compromise your deepest principles either.
But, in my stands and beliefs there is a hierarchy: Abortion is one of my strongest concerns, to not value life is to not value life, there is no grey area. The issue of homosexual privilege is strong, though not as strong as abortion. Abortion is more external and more obviously a violation of laws and human rights and can be dealt with more legislatively than homosexual privilege.
The economy is a matter of principle: free market economics benefit the most people in a way most conducive to supporting Free Will as divised by God. But we can witness to people regardless of thier economic station and a faulty economy is less of a harm to people’s souls than abortion or homosexuality.
By balancing the hierarchy of beliefs and convictions and principles I can find ways to include people who I may have less in common with in reaching my goals.
I have no qualms working with members of the Mormon church to work for significant reinforcement of traditional marriage and the preventing of special privilege for homosexuals beyond the privilege accorded to heterosexuals, despite my serious disagreements with their beliefs.
I have no qualms working with Catholics to further the protection of the innocent unborn despite my belief that most Catholics are decieved and not Christians.
I have no problem working with athiests in pursuit of a libertarian economic policy despite serious disagreements on probably every other issue due to our differences in root beliefs.
The point is: Being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, I will work with any I can to achieve the ends which follow my convictions. I will be accepting and friendly to all as people so that none will have reason to say that I’m not for them as they could be for me.
With the devious I will be devious, with the narrow I will be narrow. The goal being that by any and all means, except those which violate my conscience and God’s law, we can advance the cause of physical and economic freedom here on earth for as many as possible, and hope and eternal freedom in the life hereafter for as many as will believe.
Refining this ideal is the fact that people follow a leader with a vision. It does not have to be a clearly defined vision so much as a stirring vision (or at least one spoken of stirringly, see Barack Obama). Reagan was the “Great Communicator” and people followed his visions. Barack Obama has a way with words, a visible empathy that stirs people to want to believe what he says.
Individually, we need to be ready and willing and able to act in concert with all kinds of people, making the “big tent” an actual Big Tent. Seek common ground more than ideological purity within the bounds of our own individual abilities to accept differences. Instead of finding people most like us, find people most able to bring most of us along with them in a path headed towards truth.
As a group we need to find those people who have strong and principled stands we can agree with mostly who are also strong communicators and vibrant individuals. Vision and passion have few foes who can stand against them working together.
That is my plan for real change.