Iowa Family Policy Center Chairman Danny Carroll has written a lengthy rebuttal to the story that I published on Tuesday. While this article was not sent to TheIowaRepublican.com, it was forwarded to me.
I will respond when time allows. CR
On Monday of this week, Republican blogger Craig Robinson wrote an article that detailed several things about my past political involvement. While he was making an obvious attempt to criticize, much of what he said was exactly right. Mitt Romney came to my farm and spoke at a fundraiser for my legislative campaign, as did John McCain, and Newt Gingrich. He neglected to include Terry Branstad, who also attended an event for me in 2008.
Craig rightly pointed out that I played that game — all the way. I was the conventional Republican; I played it safe and followed all the rules. I spoke up when asked, and kept quiet when told. I took the money from the Team Iowa PAC, which is funded in no small part by folks like Bruce Rastetter and Gary Kirke, as did every other Republican leader.
While I don’t recall refusing help from Steve King, as Craig claims in his article, that too would indicate I was playing by the standard Republican rules. You see, while most Republican insiders will say polite things about Representative King in public, they caution each other in private to be careful and not get to close to a firebrand who wears his religion on his sleeve like King often does. They are afraid that people might then think the entire party is lurching to the right or becoming too religious. Did I hear and listen to that type of “conventional wisdom” while serving as a loyal Republican soldier? Guilty as charged!
Steve King has taken a lot of stands that other political figures are too scared to take. Over the last several months, I have learned firsthand some of what he has gone through for those principled stands. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and sometimes we need to ask for forgiveness. I left a message for the Congressman yesterday afternoon, and look forward to letting him know that I have a new appreciation for the way he keeps fighting in the face of opposition, even when that opposition comes from political pragmatists like I used to be.
Still, Craig’s article begs the question, where did that get us? I know exactly where it got us. It got us bigger government, higher taxes, more Iowa babies killed in the womb, the teachers union running education instead of parents, and it got us a Supreme Court that thinks they can make law. It got us criticism from people like Doug Gross, Joy Corning, and their friends. It got us big money political elites that sit in the background and seemingly pull the strings on people like Craig Robinson.
They tell Christian conservatives to run along and play Sunday School and to sit in the back of the bus while the pros take care of the serious business of politics. They make their decisions based on polls and the amount of money a candidate has in the bank. They are happy to use politicians like pawns in their personal chess game, but when it comes time for a real fight they are AWOL.
On April 3, 2009 the political elites were nowhere to be found. When distraught Iowans came to the Capitol begging for a vote on a constitutional amendment, they were either gone or hiding behind their office doors hoping no reporter would call. When Iowans rose up by the thousands to push back against the Supreme Court, most politicians stayed at a safe distance.
People like Craig Robinson, who has for years made his living off of the political process, appear to be afraid that if Christians and principled conservatives refuse to participate in the system as it now exists, the gravy train will dry up. They want us to sit down, shut up, and go along. They want people to believe that the real political power is reserved for those who can get as close as possible to office holders and people with lots of money, because that’s the way it has always worked. Their system continues to enrich and empower them, if we all buy into the paradigm where everyone needs to angle for access to the political class, and they deternine who gets that access.
There is little room in the current paradigm for personal growth or spiritual development. There is little room for Christian values, convictions, or taking a stand for decency and obedience to God’s commands. Politics no longer has much of anything to do with justice in government or promoting righteousness. I believe George Washington was right when he said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.” It makes me wonder if Doug Gross and Craig Robinson would have advised Washington to get his thinking straight, that it would be better to protect the status quo, and just get along with King George?
Craig also decided to quote scripture as a way to undermine the progress that has been made over the last several months. He likes Colossians 4:5-6 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26, and so do I, but he failed to contrast them with other passages like Matthew 10:34 and Matthew 10:22, where Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword,” and “you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
Those who are married to the current political paradigm of pragmatism need to understand, we are fighting for a better paradigm and will not be deterred. We are fighting, first and foremost, because we understand that every human is an eternal being and that each one of us will answer for what we did and said in this life when we face Jesus. (Another Scripture reference that is worth a quick look is Philippians 2:9-11) We are more concerned about waking up Christians who have made, or are in danger of making, an idol of a political party, than we are about who will win the next election.
That is the whole point of everything the Iowa Family PAC staff and I have done and said regarding Terry Branstad over the last several months. While we don’t think that anyone needs to be governor for 20 years, we are more concerned with the fact that someone who ought to know better, would presume to employ political pragmatism at a point in history that demands bold leadership based on Christian principles. We have said all along that our hope is that Terry Branstad would have a transformational awakening and articulate an understanding of the failure of the past paradigm, along with a desire to honor God in every decision, should he find himself as Iowa’s governor again.
That is also why it is not hypocritical for me to say and do the things I have over the last several months. In fact, my background and past associations are proof that I know what I’m talking about. People who have participated in a failed political paradigm, and who have supported partisan politics over principled leadership, can change. I look at people like Terry Branstad and Craig Robinson, and have no hatred or ill intent, because I was once there too! I’ve come to terms with the way I used to be, and readily admit that it was wrong. Now, I’m sounding the alarm for other Christians who have allowed themselves to be misled, and am looking for political leaders with the guts to admit it’s time to change the way we conduct ourselves in the political arena.
I know some people don’t like what I have to say or the way I apply what I’m saying, but I did not pick this fight. Throughout history, Christians have often been forced to take a stand, and now is as good a time as any to step up and break with a system that has got us nothing other than bondage. Defending marriage is worth the sacrifice. Protecting the unborn, with more than token efforts designed to appease the populace and that still enables the abortion mills, is worth the sacrifice. Fighting to restore a society where families, churches, and neighborhoods care for the needs of others, rather than feeding an ever growing government, is worth the sacrifice. Abandoning the type of politics that elevates politicians and limits access to the process, in favor of a paradigm that honors God and empowers people, is worth the sacrifice.
The party-above-all Republicans can go ahead and do their thing, but they will not have my support. I have chosen my political hill to fight, and perhaps to die on. What is yours? Do you have a cause for which you are willing to die politically? Most liberals and moderates do not. For them it is mostly about money, power and control.
I believe people are looking for leadership that is based on time tested Biblical values. If people like Craig Robinson, Terry Branstad, or Doug Gross don’t like that, they need to tell us what their standard is. They should stop pretending like their system will promote people and policies that will honor a Biblical standard. They need to explain to everyone what their standard is, if they have one.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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