For George Allen
While I don’t necessarily feel compelled to “explain” my endorsement, I’m going to…if for no other reason than people should hear from me-and not from people who I rarely speak to or, worse, don’t know me at all-how I came to the conclusions I did. So, here’s the why, and the “what’s gonna happen from here”.
I missed just about all of Allen’s Senate term due to my service in the Navy. When he was governor, I was a minor (I’ll use that instead of “kid,” which a lot of people still consider me). That said, I endorsed him for this reason:
I do believe that Allen is going to carry the principles of the Tea Party movement to the Senate when he is ultimately elected there. A lot of my friends-and some of my “friends”-are asking “how can you said that, when he did all these things that are contrary to Tea Party principles?” Fair question. He did cast votes to raise the debt ceiling, and did cast other votes that contributed to the fiscal mess we’re in now. That said, let’s be intellectually honest for a second-there was little outcry of disagreement when those votes were cast. In fact, many of the same Republicans/conservatives/Tea Partiers who now decry them, may well have been supportive of them when the votes were cast. That’s for each person to search their own soul on. And no…don’t let me know what you find.
Fast forward to 2011, post the rise of the Tea Party movement.
Can a person who didn’t live up to the principles and positions of a movement that didn’t exist when he was in office, not be a supporter of that movement? I say yes. That Allen now realizes-and in my conversation with him, he does-he may have lost his way on positions that the Tea Party and other conservatives hold dear, says a lot not only about him, but about our-yes, our–movement. Had we not began calling attention to what politicians in Washington were doing to our fiscal posterity–remember, that’s the single issue that gave rise to this movement-there would be every reasonable expectation that Allen would behave/vote just as he had before.
Now, I don’t believe there is. I choose not only to believe that Allen will make good on his word not to relive the mistakes of the past, but to believe that, if he should, our movement will be right there to let him know the error of his ways. Because we are about accountability, right? That’s what “we the people” are supposed to do. More than that, if he does cast a vote that doesn’t align with our principles, then it’s not just his failure, but one of the larger movement as well. If all this influence we’ve built up is wasted due to our neglect, that’s not Allen’s fault. It’s ours.
That’s the “why.” Now, the rest of what needs to be said.
First, since this endorsement came out, there’s been some people who have said that they didn’t give Allen’s campaign permission to list them as endorsers. I don’t know if that’s true or not; if the campaign took names of people that didn’t endorse Allen and said they did. This wasn’t a Coby Dillard production.
What I do know is this: I did. In a series of phone calls, I gave permission for my name to be used, and identified myself as the co-founder of the HRTP. As much as some within that organization might rather see the story of my involvement lost to history, I did help give birth to it-in my own small way.
Conversely, if there are people on that list who haven’t endorsed Allen or given permission for their names to be listed, they should be removed until such is given or until whatever disagreement there is has been resolved.
Another thing: there’s been quiet mention that I received something for my endorsement of Allen; that I was “bought off.” Trust, I’m still the same poor college student I was on Monday, before the endorsement dropped. That the campaign saw fit to ask me if I would endorse says that they think I’m probably more important than I am. So, in the interests of transparency-another big Tea Party principle-I’ll make this commitment: anything that I do for Governor Allen or his campaign will be strictly on a volunteer basis. I expect to be checked on that, VPAP does a great job of tracking campaign expenditures. I don’t anticipate doing a whole, whole lot-at this point in time, completing my education takes precedence. But whatever I do, will be done for free.
Finally, a blanket statement:
I’m not from the school of challenging people’s conservatism; saying someone isn’t a Republican or conservative because they take a stand or position that I personally disagree with. Others don’t subscribe to that rule, and that’s fine-each his or her own, I suppose. What I will not do is respond to those criticisms. I have neither the time nor the inclination to defend my conservatism to people who have no problem agreeing with me when I’m either toeing the line, or representing my principles and my Party to people they rarely speak to.
I’m reminded of a status that I posted on FB last year when I endorsed a Libertarian over a Republican in the 3rd District race in Virginia last year, that went something like this:
People need to realize that I am my own man, beholden only to God and the principles I hold dear.
That’s still true, and people would do well to remember it.