U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke to a group of conservative high schoolers this week with some advice they may not have been expecting. Haley began her speech for the High School Leadership Summit at George Washington University by asking her young audience if they had posted any messages online reading, "own the libs," a popular phrase among today's conservatives. Most raised their hands and applauded.
But, that wasn't quite the message Haley was trying to send. Taking a different tone, the ambassador suggested the students show more grace to their political opponents. Being so confrontational will not convince any of their peers to join the movement.
"I know that it's fun and that it can feel good, but step back and think about what you're accomplishing when you do this - are you persuading anyone?" Haley asked. "Who are you persuading? We've all been guilty of it at some point or another, but this kind of speech isn't leadership - it's the exact opposite."
"Real leadership is about persuasion, it's about movement, it's bringing people around to your point of view," she added. "Not by shouting them down, but by showing them how it is in their best interest to see things the way you do."
We must always ask ourselves what our purpose is. If your purpose is to win an insult war than have at it and send the best zinger you can. If your purpose is to show these people the errors of their way, then your zinger is counterproductive.
During the question and answer portion of my talks, I am often asked what the best way is to save the freedom and independence won by our founders that is so vehemently under attack today by the Marxist/Progressives (Democrats) and the Republican establishment. The approach of the typical Freedom Loving American today is to hurl an insult, call the other a derogatory name, or use some foolish and baseless defense such as while they did it first or they are worse than we are. This approach is a total waste of time and effort if your purpose is to persuade.
Americans beliefs today, for the most part, are sticker bumper beliefs. If you ask most people on the left or the right why they believe the way they do, the answer is at best a surface answer. For instance, if you ask someone extolling the virtues of socialism, the typical answer would be that it is good for the little guy and punishes the rich. The latter is true, but the former is wrong. History clearly shows that socialism benefits only those in power and hurts everybody else in the society.
The same holds true for those on the right who will support some forms of government growth and spending while denouncing big government. Government becomes tyrannical as it grows and gains control of the lives of the citizens through programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and other welfare programs. Ronald Reagan explained that Social Security is a welfare program and said Medicare, if adopted, would also be a welfare program. When the administration of Franklin Roosevelt argued for Social Security before the Supreme Court, they also argued that Social Security was indeed a welfare program. Today, Social Security and Medicare control many Americans and consequently they dictate a vote for the Marxist/Progressive (Democrat) party to protect their welfare.
The solution to our dilemma lies with the people of America. We must decide if we wish to be a free and independent people or a people whose lives and interests are dictated to us by government. If we wish to be a free and independent people, we must take responsibility for the direction of our country today. We must understand that this socialism creep has come about because we did not exercise our responsibility to remain free. We went to sleep on our watch.
The first step we must take is to understand what collectivism is, how it works, and the devastation it always brings. This can only be done by Freedom Loving Americans committing themselves to spend the time and effort to read and learn. We must then begin, as Sam Adams said, to set brush fires of freedom in the minds of men. We do this by DISCUSSING and not arguing with or zinging those who advocate for and support collectivism. If the discussion starts to become an argument, stop arguing. Remember, leadership is not telling but leading the other to reach the proper conclusion.
We Freedom Loving Americans must also put forth the effort to change our schools from being institutions of indoctrination back to institutions of education. This can best be accomplished by becoming active in local school boards, by supporting all efforts to eliminate any federal involvement in education, and by supporting the reduction of power held by the teacher unions.
We Freedom Loving Americans must also become involved in our city and county governments which have become increasingly more tyrannical through regulations that dictate to each citizen how that citizen is to live their lives and what their interests are to be. Local governments, for the most part, institute more control over our lives and with much less resistance than do the federal government and state government.
Thank you, Nikki Haley, for showing these young minds the proper approach. That proper approach is to understand the beliefs of those with whom you disagree better than they do, understand why you believe the way you believe, and then refrain from the arguing and zinging, and begin to practice setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.