I’ve heard this old adage time and time again: insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’ve been thinking about those words recently in terms of the political change we need to restore liberty.
Most of us, whether Republicans, Democrats or anything in between, do the same thing every time the elections roll around. We suck it up and vote for our party, despite what the representatives in our party have been doing for or against the Constitution. We chalk it up to fighting for the party line or choosing someone bad from our party over someone bad from the other party.
It’s a disturbing trend.
We’re frustrated with the way things are going; we’re unhappy with our representatives for various reasons — the most serious reason should be their abuse of the Constitution — and yet we still vote to put the same people in office, or we replace the old representative with a carbon copy of the old representative.
We’re never going to see the political change needed to restore liberty if we keep doing this over and over. It’s the literal definition of insanity: we keep putting the same people in office over-and-over while expecting different results.
What if we did something bold?
What if we stopped paying attention to political parties, talking-points, emotional jargon, and big-name endorsements and started acting like the employers we are? What if we began measuring every job candidate against the Constitution, both state and federal? And what if all of us worked collectively to produce a new kind of candidate (even for smaller local races where the individual running has no opposition in his or her race) to challenge the party establishment for failing to fulfill his or her ultimate job description: protecting and defending the Constitution?
We’re used to “doing politics” a certain way in this country. We pick a few issues about which we feel strongly, or as studies show, we pick a party and then take our cues from that party. Either way, we’re operating off of the barest amount of information, and the little information we get is thickly laced with emotional resonance. If a party line or an issue is deeply emotional to us, that’s about all we need to make our political choices.
Politicians establish the party line by giving us the cues about which topics we should care about while they also pander to us by highlighting and focusing on these topics.
It’s a weird chicken and egg dynamic. Do the people simply respond to the politicians and agenda setters (media, political elite, etc.) or do the politicians respond to the people? It’s likely a combination of the two, and since the study of human behavior is an impossible endeavor, we’ll likely never know for sure.
But what we do know is that American politicians operate in broad-based talking points, emotional jargon, and big-name endorsement realm with little connection to actual reality. They have a limited, confined job description they hope we ignore as they boldly proclaim how they plan to fix issues not in their job description.
For instance, I recently spoke to a Senatorial candidate in my state and asked him to tell me why he was running and to explain specific goals within his job description. One of his goals was “America First.” Interesting. So, I asked how he specifically intended to do “America First.” He had little to concretely give me other than more talking points. They sound nice but they are irrelevant to the job for which he’s interviewing.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since we’re doing the same thing over and over, why should we expect anything different from one cookie-cutter politician giving us his or her fancy talking points than the other?
What if instead of simply throwing our hands up and saying we have to vote for the party regardless of whether or not they know or follow their job description (the Constitution), we decide to challenge the party? What if, instead of justifying the continued support of party officials who either don’t know or don’t care about their job description because they can get away with it, we start showing them they can’t get away with it?
What if we risk it all by voting for the political change needed to restore liberty?
This will require that we, the employer, know our employee’s job description and know if they’ve been performing accordingly. Further, we must fully understand why they need to know and follow their job description (Hint: avoid arbitrary power). We need to move away from simple threats and take action.
What if there’s a state level politician in your party who you know has voted in favor of legislation that violates the state Constitution, but you decide to keep your party in power because your candidate is running unopposed? Are you going to be OK with your representatives continually trashing their job description? Are you willing to turn a blind eye because of the R or D next to their name?
What if we stopped doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? What if we rallied for a new write-in candidate — one who knows his or her job description and one who threatens the power of the “shoo-in” party establishment candidate?
What if the new candidate won? Change would happen.
What if the new candidate lost? Change could still happen.
Why? Because the comfortable incumbent might suddenly realize that platitudes, talking points and vague excuses for not doing their job will no longer do. They’d better start paying attention because their employers are paying attention to them.
Would the founders of this country have succeeded if they’d continued to write letter after letter to the King pleading for a respite or change? They could’ve kept trying, but then they’d be doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. No. They had to risk it all. They had to declare independence and challenge the greatest military in the world knowing that failure would be worse than living like they were at the time.
Dangerous liberty was worth it. Nothing would change otherwise.
Our risk, stepping away from blind party support is mild compared to our forefathers. We always talk about “taking the risks” for liberty, but when push comes to shove, we do the same thing we’ve always done expecting different results.
Friends, it’s time to take a risk. It’s time for a little rebellion. Liberty is worth it.
This article has been edited. It originally appeared on The Liberty Belle and is used by permission.
Christin McMasters is a South Carolinian now residing in North Carolina and has a Ph.D. in political science. She is a budding blogger and political science instructor, and her passion is politics.
Using her keyboard as her weapon of choice, Christin imparts some of her excitement, passion and knowledge about American government on her website, TheLibertyBelleNC.com.