Editor’s Note: This article was first published in in May of 2013 as “5 Signs That We Haven’t Lost America Yet.” It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months… Click here to see the top 40 so far and to advocate for your favorites in the comments.
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Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shore, China’s under martial law
Rock and Roll, cola wars, I can’t take it anymore
Billy Joel – “We Didn’t Start the Fire“
Benghazi, Boston bombings, the Gosnell trial, the Cleveland kidnappings, the IRS targeting conservatives, DOJ snooping on the AP, war games with Iran and North Korea, civil war in Syria…
Last week my ability to mentally process world events felt like a cell phone when the data is throttled — it was almost too much to wrap my mind around. Some days I fantasize about life as a low-information voter, not caring about anything more important than what some Kardashian is up to. Barring sudden brain malfunction, I’m not likely to experience that kind of apathy any time soon, and the fact that you’re reading PJ Media tells me that you’re likely in the same boat.
Instead of spending the weekend wallowing in all the terrible things happening in the country and around the world, I decided to instead consider many of the positive signs around us that all is not yet lost.
And so I bring you:
5 Signs That We Haven’t Lost America Yet:
1. We Are Raising Constitutionally Literate Kids
I don’t ever remember reading the Constitution growing up — or even anyone talking about it. I imagine we must have perused it at some point during a “social studies” class, but we certainly never studied it in any detail. Thanks in large part to the Tea Party, now the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers are again household names. Millions of Americans are raising their kids with a deep understanding of our founding documents and a respect for them that will certainly translate into public policy eventually.
And we are just now beginning to see the maturation of the first wave of an explosion in homeschooling that began in the early 1990s. Studies show that homeschool graduates are far more likely than their public school peers to vote, work for or contribute to a campaign, attend a protest, and contact a public official about a policy issue. They also tend to adopt heir parents’ beliefs, which tend to be very conservative politically.
Is it possible that a young conservative resurgence is bubbling right below the surface? I think it’s very possible!
2. Conservatives Reproduce More Than Liberals
The states that vote for Republican presidential candidates have the highest fertility rates. Utah families have 2.7 children each compared to 1.7 in Vermont. Homeschoolers have 3.5 children per family (thank you, Duggar family, for raising our team average!). One economist who looked at the numbers thinks that even the increase in the Hispanics, who tend to have more babies and vote Democrat, cannot make up for the deficits of the lethargic left. This is a numbers game, and their obsession with abortion, birth control, and one-child families as a part of their holistic carbon-footprint-reduction plan will eventually catch up with them.
3. The Media Is Increasingly Democratic
Besides your parents, do you know anyone who relies solely on the mainstream media for their news anymore? Recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer announced a switch from 7-day to 3-day home delivery service in an attempt to cut costs. In recent years the paper has degraded into little more than partisan hackery (with above-average sports coverage), and it has obviously hurt their bottom line.
The way Americans consume news has changed and the Plain Dealer hasn’t kept up. Gone are the days when the experts at the editorial board could tell everyone in their circulation area whom to vote for. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when voters relied on newspaper editorial boards to choose their candidates. How absurd! Today, instead of a handful of media elites controlling the flow of news, “We the People” can drive the stories and help to create the narratives. The American people pushed the Gosnell story out in spite of the MSM. Benghazi is still in the news despite the best efforts of the MSM to cover it up. Social media, blogs, cable news, talk radio, Plain Dealer — we don’t need you anymore. The gatekeepers are gone.
4. The Church Grows with Persecution
This one is for the Christians. Since the very first days of Christianity, the church has grown through persecution. Severe persecution by Nero in the Roman Empire only made the church more determined and helped to spread the growth of Christianity. In modern times, the underground church in China has exploded under Communist persecution, and it is rumored that the church is growing even in the brutal totalitarian regime in N. Korea. Though I don’t foresee Communist atrocities in the U.S. anytime soon, I think a time of testing is coming to the American church. We saw the first ripples with the infringement on religious liberty in Obamacare, forcing religious organizations and Christian businesses to provide contraceptives and abortion pills in violation of their religious beliefs. Now we hear that the IRS has been targeting conservative groups and individuals, including Billy Graham, Samaritan’s Purse, and pro-life groups, some being asked to disclose the contents of their prayers, as if the government ought to know that. Churches and individual Christians who continue to defend traditional marriage now find themselves outside of the mainstream of popular opinion and will likely face consequences if they don’t enthusiastically embrace a lifestyle their faith teaches is sinful.
Although this all sounds rather dreadful, there is good that can come from it. In recent decades, the American church has been awash in excess, entertainment, and theological emptiness. Pews have often been filled with parishioners seeking a feel-good experience or a mildly entertaining worship event. At a time when Christianity increasingly confronts hostility in our culture, we will see the wheat separated from the chaff. Those who are in it for their “Best Life Now” will beat a path for the exits, and the church, as always, will grow with persecution — not with market-tested church-growth numbers, but in faithfulness and obedience to Christ.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV)
5. The Libertarian vs. Conservative Debate
In case you haven’t noticed, there is a bit of a civil war going on in the Republican Party right now. Back in the days of “McCain for President,” the divisions in the party were between the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and the conservatives. The RINOs, who run as conservatives during the primary and go on to govern as big-government statists once they’re elected, never seemed to fully understand the principles of conservatism, limited government, or free markets, except to the extent that those buzz words could help them win re-election if sprinkled on their speeches.
With the ascension of the Tea Party, liberty is back in style and it’s not kooky to be a libertarian anymore (though if you leave a 10-mile long comment about auditing the Fed on my Facebook page, I’m still not going to take the bait). Even card-carrying social conservatives (me included) are not ashamed to say, “I have some libertarian leanings.” Saying the “L” word doesn’t get you shunned from most social circles or even church circles these days (although if you’re pushing legalizing weed at my Baptist church, there’s going to be a problem).
More and more, the low-information RINO legislators are finding themselves irrelevant in these substantive debates about the size and scope of government. While Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are quoting Tocqueville and the Federalist Papers, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and others of the old Republican guard are busy tinkering under the hood of our behemoth federal government as it spirals out of control.
Very soon the debate in the Republican Party will no longer be “How big can we get away with making the government?” Instead, it will be “How small can we get away with making it?” The RINOs have neither the experience nor the intellectual heft to answer this question, as they only know the formula for growing government.
Of course, the big-government Republicans still control the party. They will fight and try to kill (figuratively, of course) conservatives and libertarians who will wrest from them the power they’ve taken a generation to accumulate. But their days are numbered.
So take courage, my friends. We haven’t lost our country yet. There is much to be hopeful about, despite the bleak headlines.