Roger L. Simon

Changing Minds in Crunch Time

We are in crunch time in our politics. It’s late in the fourth quarter and the lead is swinging back and forth.

Unfortunately, we don’t have Kobe or Lebron to bail us out. We only have ourselves. We are the ones who must save our country.

I thought of that rather obvious analogy while reading the comments — a number of them unfavorable — about my last column, “Is Liberalism Dead?”

What I had written of liberals for my conclusion is what particularly irritated some readers: “But secretly – I am more than ever convinced — many of them know they are wrong. Our job is to bring them over. To make them comfortable. But we must bring them over soon before it is too late for all of us.”

Those readers were angry that I wanted to give any quarter to liberals. They appeared to despise everything about them and were quick to point out that we shouldn’t waste our time reasoning with liberals. For liberals, their ideology was a religion. It would never change.

Well, I was a liberal once. So were many others I could name and still more I have never met or heard of. People came over to the right from the far left, the near left and the center.

Were they not sufficiently “religious” about their liberal-leftism? I have no idea. I don’t really know why people change. I don’t even fully know why I changed, even though I wrote a book about it. I just know that I did.

I also know that not enough of us have changed yet and, as I said, we are in crunch time.

I thought that most of us assumed that too. And realized the necessity of putting our shoulders to the wheel and helping to effectuate change, as difficult and rare as that may be, one individual at a time, if need be.

In other words, I didn’t think I was writing anything the slightest bit controversial.

Evidently, I was wrong. Many readers disagreed and a few went so far as to suggest we are headed for a shooting war with the left. A couple even seemed as if they wanted one. (These people may, of course, have been trolls — at least I hope so.)

That has clearly been disturbing me — otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. I am wrong about many things — if you want to see just how wrong, check out some of my early posts saying Rick Perry had a lock on the Republican nomination — but I am not wrong about this: we must try to get people to change and must do so unceasingly until we are victorious. As Churchill famously said, “Never, never, never give up.”

I address that to those people who attacked me on my previous post because I deigned to think this was possible. You will note I did not quote anyone here by name or handle. (People can scroll down the 189 comments and see for themselves, if they wish.) I am not out to pick a fight. I am out to change heads.

Meanwhile, the time is late. We all have work to do and it is not bickering with each other or wondering whether our candidate is conservative enough or whether he will betray us. You have already had three and a half years of Barack Obama. Do you have any idea what another four and a half will bring?

I for one do not want to know. The question is not whether to change people or whether they can be changed. The operative question is how they can be changed.

We here at PJMedia think about this every day. One of the things we consciously attempt to do is provide you with some ammunition, talking points across the table or at the water cooler. I’m not saying we’re so great at it, but we try.

And speaking of trying, let me leave you with this little mindbender from the Zen monks: “You can’t get there by trying, but you won’t get there if you don’t try.”

Don’t ask me to explain it, but it works for me.

(Thumbnail based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)