Cancel 2020? No. Bring it on.
In January, we knew that this year would matter. That the battle over the direction of this country would be decided at the ballot box and that the choice between socialism and freedom couldn’t be more clear. Then, everything we had planned and committed to do came to a screeching halt. Public health officials pointed to models and begged us to stay home, close our businesses and pull our children from school. We obliged because we were concerned about the health impact of a largely unknown virus. We obliged, not knowing that their plans for securing the public’s health would actually put the economy on life support. By the time we learned more about the virus, it was seemingly too late. Left-wing politicians took advantage of our situation to make us more dependent on the government. Governors made their own picks about whose job and whose rights were essential and whose were not.
Now, leftists and anarchists have taken over our streets. They have twisted a soundly American principle of equality into a partisan weapon aimed at silencing those they hate. Mobs have turned against our police officers, assaulted innocent Americans, and demanded we bend our knee to them.
Last week, in two bad decisions issued by the Supreme Court, we saw judicial activism from those we least expected. They betrayed their commitment to the rule of law.
Why are we all of a sudden in a bitter fight for survival?
It is fair to say that while conservatives focused on winning the debate about how our policies were better than liberal policies, the left was waging a war against America.
While we focused on winning free and fair elections, the left was intimidating any elected official who disagreed with them. While we focused on increasing educational opportunities for all Americans, the left was infiltrating our schools and convincing students that America is evil. While we focused on helping American businesses become more competitive, the left was commandeering social media platforms and board rooms to silence us. While we focused on people’s individual rights and their ability to live their lives in freedom, the left was marshalling the forces necessary to crush dissent and banish liberty.
We did everything right. We mobilized to win state legislatures, governorships, the U.S. House and Senate, even the American presidency. We fought to put fair and impartial judges in our courts. We fought to open up American society.
But it is clear those victories are not enough, and are not permanent.
The fights on which conservatives have been focused are inadequate; we need to start fighting for what the left has long been targeting: America.
So what should we do?
First, we should continue to hold the ground for which we have fought so hard and acknowledge that we have had wins. The Sentinel Program has been behind nearly every policy effort since President Trump was elected. Sentinels and Heritage Action were instrumental in outlining the reforms needed to secure the border, drafting the language and providing the political cover for the Public Charge Rule, defunding Planned Parenthood through the Protect Life Rule, passing historic tax cuts, and pushing to open up American society and support small businesses through the PPP during COVID-19.
The Sentinel Program was created to stand guard for freedom and our efforts cannot stop. Our numbers have grown incredibly over the past 8 years since we launched. We have gone from 250 Sentinels in 2012 to 20,000 today. Sentinels know they are the standard-bearers of freedom. They know the issues inside and out and are leaders in their communities. Now, we need to expand our Sentinel reach to mayors and Governors. I am asking all Sentinels on this call today to call, write, or visit your mayor and Governor and ask them to do three things: 1. Quell the violence. 2. Restore law and order. 3. Support the police. We need to apply the same tactics and pressure points we use on Congress to our local and state elected officials. And Heritage Action will help you do just that.
Let’s zoom out for a moment and be clear: The Washington swamp is still swampy, but we are making progress. Too many Congressmen still say they have come to Washington to “get things done...” without thinking through whether the effects of those things are good for America. Until we break this Washington cycle, we will never actually beat the Left. Elected officials cannot withstand the Washington swamp on their own. Elected officials who stand for our shared American values are oftentimes no match for the ideological stormtroopers of the Left. The Left elects activists who use their elected offices to outline their policy agenda and fight for it in and out of the majority. They don’t care if they don’t have the votes. They force the vote.
They are successful because they know the elected official on the right has an almost impossible fight to roll back big government. Even worse, some elected officials on the right welcome the Supreme Court legislating from the bench and even today, refuse to put the Supreme Court in check by passing counter-legislation.
We need our elected officials to be street fighters. Street fighters fortified by the grassroots and provided with policy ideas from conservatives, including think tanks like The Heritage Foundation.
Second, instead of playing defense, we must go on offense and advance American interests and culture. Cultural issues define America and make up our very fabric of freedom, choice, and liberty. Elected officials need to be empowered to tackle those issues head-on, instead of shying away from them. Most of the country knows men do not belong on women’s sports teams, most of the country supports laws to protect born-alive abortion survivors, and most of the country wants to stand with confidence while saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Culture matters at home, in corporate board rooms, on the playing field, and in schools. Our part, as Sentinels, is to stand proud to be an American and remind our networks why. So the second action item tonight is for each of us to commit to telling our story of why we are proud to be an American over the next two weeks as we ready for the 4th of July. Write why you are proud to be an American on poster boards in your windows, sidewalk chalk on your sidewalks, paste an American flag as your Instagram image, use the hashtag #ProudAmerican and see the support multiply around us.
You might ask, “Even if we continue to fight, can we succeed? And will it be in 2020?”
That is where the third and most important point comes in: relentless, informed optimism.
To keep us in the fight and win converts to our side, we are going to have to remember we have both the moral high ground and a sympathetic electorate. Our principles are rooted in reality. We stand on the side of Truth.
It is not just that our ideas will result in better lives for ourselves and our neighbors, it is that our worldview speaks to human beings as they are, not as the Left intends them to be. Our ideas will result in better lives for everyone.
We have to take this message to the streets-- to neighbors, to family rooms, to our schools. We have to break up the policy foothold the left has on swing voters, in particular, and bring them into our movement. We are committed to doing just this and have already reached 1.5 Million swing voters in critical states who agree with our message of freedom, liberty and economic opportunity. These Americans agree with us on policies like immigration, economic opportunity, culture, and jobs. And now we can train them and empower them to go deeper into their own communities. We can’t stop this effort in November. This must be a multi-year, ever-evolving effort in our neighborhoods to talk about the issues all Americans care about and unite them to protect and advance America. This is how we beat the left. How we tackle the momentum of their worldview, which seeks to level society and is fueled by an ideological belief in “progress and history” but which is in fact the opposite of progress and the destruction of our history. We can’t match their media reach, but we can match them locally through individual outreach.
Heritage Action is committed to this fight. We pledge to you, grassroots America, to not let you down. We will stand guard for freedom shoulder to shoulder beside you.
Want to get more involved? Sign up to be a grassroots activist and join the Heritage Action Sentinel Program.