Grassroots Conservatism

Mr. Michael Steel, Chairman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street
Washington, D. C. 20003

Dear Mr. Steele:

The controversies concerning ACORN and the Democrat party have only served to reinforce the foundational challenge of the Republican National Committee. ACORN and its leadership are undeniably corrupt, but they are out where the RNC should be – in the communities and meeting centers around the country.

Americans, although they might not realize it, identify with conservatism. No matter what economic level, everyone wants to pay a reduced amount in taxes. We all want our neighborhoods to be safe, and our country free from foreign influence. We all want an equal shake – or at least the chance to improve our lives and the lives of our children. Despite what the media reports, this country has some basic moralities, codes of behavior that are at odds with the liberal left. In short, the conservative message is the message of the American people.

We are not getting that message to the people who need to hear it. While we must continue to use the new media that the web and cable provide, the reason why ACORN has been so effective is that they realize that they must go to where the people are. They are walking the streets, holding meetings, rallying people, and lecturing in the classroom. They have provided a face, a voice, and a hand – all in the effort to promote the liberal agenda. We must do the same.

As an instructor and department chair at a career college in Knoxville, I daily interacted with students who come from the demographic that ACORN typically targeted. My students were lower income, high school degrees or GEDs, and usually worked for an hourly wage. While not “book smart”, they were very street smart. Always being careful to present all sides, I would take opportunities in my lectures to present issues and ideas of current topics to my class. In math classes, I would mathematically demonstrate the reason why a Fair Tax would work for everyone, and why an increase in taxes for the rich would hurt those who work for an hourly wage. In political science classes, we would discuss different forms of government and the basis of each. The impact of classical music and art were discussed in the English classes that my wife taught at the same institution. In EVERY case, the students responded to these ideas with enthusiasm and debate. They had never been told that Social Security was not a bank account. They never realized the mathematics behind taxation. They had never been taught the reasons behind the core differences between the parties. Certainly, not everyone in my classes agreed with all the conservative principles I was presenting. But they all had one thing in common – they all asked “Why haven’t I heard this before?”

We need to reclaim the grassroots at these levels. The RNC has done a great job of being in suburbia – but that is not where the fight is. We must be in the community centers of cities. We need to be on our universities and campuses. We must be where the people are, answering their questions, admitting where we have failed, but also educating them how our conservative principles will change their individual and communal lives for the better.

The caveat, though, is that the RNC needs to be united in our message. We cannot be a party of all people, though the conservative principles will indeed benefit all. We cannot be a party of fiscal responsibility yet still abide Congressman and Senators who routinely put pork in bills. In short, we cannot be a party of moderates, but one of conservatives. After we unite our message, our efforts at the grassroots level that ACORN seems to believe belong solely to them will be that much more successful.

Sincerely yours,

Reuel K. Sample

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