Jamie Freeze Baird
Will the real conservative movement please stand up? (Part 2)
By Jamie Freeze Baird
September 16, 2009

Last week, I unwittingly unleashed the monster of the conservative movement. I knew that I would step on some toes by questioning my fellow conservative's methods of protest. I expected tough questions. Foolishly, I didn't expect the mudslide of vitriol that I received via email from readers. Today, I am still wondering why my column triggered such an angry response from conservatives. As I mulled over numerous comments, I realized that conservatives don't take criticism well. They are so used to being right, that they refuse to accept the fact that they may be wrong.

Last week, I pointed out the faults of the conservative movement and said that we are losing ideological ground due to mudslinging. Oddly enough, many conservatives responded by throwing mud at me. However, at the end of the day, I had soap to wash away the mud while the folks who threw mud went deeper into the hole. Instead of tossing mud back, I am throwing my fellow conservatives an escape rope so that they can climb out of the hole. That escape rope is my plan of action for the conservative movement.

My father, who gave me a lot of good advice, often told me to be part of the solution — not the problem. The conservative movement is riddled with problems: we have no clear agenda; we have little to no good leadership; and we are embroiled in debates and demonstrations that have stripped us of our logic and integrity. The time for change is now. The solution or plan of action for the conservative movement is three-fold: reject fringe issues in favor of pertinent issues; refuse to engage in dishonorable behavior; and resolve to pursue integrity. Here's your change.

1. Reject fringe issues in favor of pertinent issues.

While many readers ignored the main point of my column last week, several people rabidly attacked my statement regarding the validity of Obama's birth certificate. Many accused me of hating or ignoring our Constitution simply because I dared to suggest Obama was a legitimate citizen. I urged many readers to research this issue carefully instead of relying on talking heads to spoon-feed them talking points. During the 2008 campaign, Obama released his birth certificate. It was challenged by many conservatives as being falsified or forged. However, officials at the Hawaii Health Department verified the birth certificate. They were widely quoted attesting to the legitimacy of the document. Furthermore, independent, non-partisan fact checkers examined the document and confirmed its validity.

Still, conservatives (one might argue sore losers) felt this was not enough, and many are still claiming our President is not fit for office due to his non-citizenship. These folks are wasting time, energy, and resources on a moot point. Obama, the savvy politician that he is, allows the debate to rage because as long as we are focused on this issue, attention is deflected from pertinent issues like health care reform. At this point in the game, believing that Obama is not a natural born citizen requires the suspension of disbelief.

2. Refuse to engage in dishonorable behavior.

Apparently, I hit a nerve with readers when I asked them to refrain from emotional, disrespectful outbursts at town hall events, etc. Let me be clear: I am NOT asking you to stop protesting, but I am asking you to leave the disrespect, hostility, and dishonorable conduct at home. As a twenty-something-year-old, my gut reaction is to allow emotions to rule my conduct, but wiser influences in my life have cautioned me against this reaction. They admonished me to step back from the situation, analyze it carefully, and make decisions based on all the facts minus emotions. My father, an avid Star Trek fan, often reminded me to act more like Spock (who used only logic and no emotion) instead of Captain Kirk (who often wanted to fall back on emotion instead of logic). Emotion does have a valid place in the conservative movement. We should use our anger and frustration to motivate us to work for change. However, we cannot allow our emotion to rule us.

The plague of double standards is rampant in the conservative movement. A few years ago, we condemned liberals who yelled and screamed at President Bush. We told them to respect their President even if they disagreed with him. Now, we congratulate people like Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) for disrupting President Obama's speech by shouting. We are supposed to be the loyal opposition. We must hold the President accountable, but we cannot treat him as someone unworthy of our respect — doing this disrespects the office of President and condemns the conservative movement to double standards. Keep in mind, a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.

3. Resolve to pursue integrity.

As a child, my parents instilled in me the principle of integrity (unwavering adherence to a strict moral or ethical code). My father often told me that at the end of the day, it was better to lose a battle than to lose my integrity. He cautioned me that compromising my integrity meant losing the war. As a Christian, I am called to integrity. My principles are supposed to be unchanging and unmovable. I refuse to sacrifice my principles to win a game of politics — even when the stakes are high. Conservatives need to drop the mentality of, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." We need to realize that we do not need to steal plays from the left's playbook in order to win.

If we sacrifice integrity for temporary gain, what good have we done? If we sacrifice principles, what will we stand on? We don't have to fight dirty to win — we are on the right side, and we will prevail. The question is whether we are willing to stay on the right side.

As a fellow conservative, I implore you to grab the escape rope and get out of the hole of insanity and double standards that we've created. In a hole, all you see is the dirt and darkness; outside of the hole, you will gain perspective. When you get out of the hole, seal it with truth and logic. I'm not standing up looking down on my fellow conservative. There was a time when I helped dig the hole, and I jumped in gladly. But I came face-to-face with my folly and realized I could get more change accomplished by leaving "bumper sticker phrases" on my car and not in my debate. I could learn more about the opposition by listening to them instead of shouting at them. You can't strategize if you are shouting. Fellow conservatives, I implore you to return to integrity and leave the disrespect and hostility at the door. For the sake of my future and your future, I beg you to leave a legacy of respect, honor, and integrity. Don't win the battle and lose the war.

© Jamie Freeze Baird


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.


Receive future articles by Jamie Freeze Baird: Click here

More by this author