Thank you to Kevin for allowing me to blog for him. I promised that I would help out as soon as the 2008 Election was complete.
Now that the election is over, I think its appropriate to transition to this blog as I discuss what I took from the this election:
In 2006, I became involved with politics at a state and nationwide scene. My commitment to the pro-life movement no longer was shuttered, but became wide open once I realized the political forum which its played in.I learned of Senator Sam Brownback Presidential Campaign from Billy Valentine and Terry Schilling, two great pro-life student champions.
Sam was raised in Kansas from very rural roots, and has defied all odds to become one of best senators of all time. Brownback's commitment to protecting life was not just merely opposing abortion, but became a pro-life, whole life philosophy, something that I really liked. I decided to extern for his campaign last spring. Little did I know that this would be one of the most grueling, yet most enjoyable times of my life. Our work was all grassroots, working to identify like-minded voters and converting them to support Senator Sam Brownback. We never ran on television or radio ad, funnelling our money in phone calls, door to door, and get out the vote efforts for the Iowa Straw Poll. We were able to deliver a hard fought 3rd place victory for Sam. Although this was well earned, I couldn't bring myself to help with the caucus team, since this would've take me away from my classwork, and I was only a year away from graduating.
It was difficult thereafter for Sam to take off due to the lack of fundraising and lost momentum after the straw poll.When Sam dropped out on October 21, 2007, I immediately supported Mike Huckabee, a evangelical Christian leader from Arkansas. While I respected Brownback's decision to support John McCain, I felt that my true loyalty lies in the pro-life movement, and that we need to elect the best pro-lifer into office. I never seriously worked on his campaign due to time constraints, but I made phone calls in a couple of key states, such as Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida.
Fortunately for pro-lifers, Mike's victory in Iowa helped to pave the way for Mitt Romney's downfall out of the race and prevented a flip flopper from receiving the nomination. While many conservatives criticized Mike for staying in the race longer than he needed to be, it helped to keep John in the news. I knew Mike wasn't going to win, but it prevented the Democrats from taking over the debate.
Therefore, it was easy to choose John McCain because of his pro-life values, conservative principles, and he was definitely the best candidate to go against the Democrats. However, the catch-22 for McCain was George Bush. Either Bush's endorsement was a no-win scenario in this election.My support for McCain early on was minimal at best. I was never really that excited about John McCain until Sarah Palin was chosen as his VP, an event I had the opportunity of witnessing. Once McCain wised up and felt we needed to energize the conservative base was when I really was brought on board. I signed up to volunteer 3 times a week at the local Victory Center, and decided to establish the College Republicans at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. I knew that we had hope for once, and it actually came in the polls in September when McCain was leading. However, the financial crisis became too much to bear. It was difficult for McCain to cut himself loose from the strains of the economy as well as the general dissatisfaction of the campaign. Obama and the Democrats prevailed.
What are the essential items that I will take away from this election:
1. Its not the most electable candidate, but the best candidate who will prevail. This was certainly true as all the front runners: Giuliani, Romney, Thompson; all were denied the nomination for the GOP. McCain was nearly bankrupt and totally out of it. Brownback had more money at one point. It goes to show that the American people can't be bought in any election.
2. The pro-life movement is down, but not out. Our nation is moving towards the center-left in this election, and that we are going to miss some more pro-life leaders. However, we still have much hope in state and local offices which will promote pro-life candidacies.
3. McCain's call to serve. John McCain called for a generation of Americans to put country above self, that we need to have a leader who won't merely satisfy the selfish desires of Americans, but bring about a commitment to serve our country. He was successful in instilling that in me, as I learned about McCain's service to America, and our duty to serve her country, to cherish and respect her for who she is.
4. While I don't support Barack Obama, I do believe that his election represents the breaking down of tremendous walls that at one point seemed impossible to scale. Many never thought that they would see a black man become President one day. His election represents the walls tore down, and that blacks have opportunities they thought they would never have had.
This election really brought me into the realm of the conservative movement. It also comes when the conservative movement has hit rock bottom. But I have hope that we can prevail, when we can broaden our base and reorganize.