I want to say thank-you to all of our veterans, those who are currently serving in our military, and their families and loved ones. There is nothing that I could ever do to equal your valor and service. Perhaps the best we can do to honor your sacrifices is to do our level best to stand up for what you have defended, our country and our freedom.
How many times have I said the Pledge of Allegiance? I’ve really no idea. But, standing in a room crowded with freedom loving Americans with whom I had had the privilege of volunteering my time with, that was the first time I can remember getting choked up and my eyes springing a leak when trying to recite those important words. Its not that I had never meant it before, I’ve always had a sense of patriotism. But, there in Anchorage Alaska I had done something more than just say the words, I’d put it into action. The experience humbled me.
I was invited a couple of months ago by Bill Peck to go to Alaska during the final days of Joe Miller’s campaign to be a United States Senator, and assist in those final get out the vote efforts. I was a little hesitant, but it did not really take me long to decide that it would be a great opportunity to actually be more involved in politics, out there on the forefront trying to help a worthy candidate. Now, I know some would question why I would get involved in some other states political business when I have my own state to tend to. Well, I have been involved here in Washington, a friend and I started a local group to address political concerns and Conservative principles. Washington has a completely mail in voting process. So, our little group met and we discussed our ballots and the issues and candidates. We didn’t tell people how to vote, but rather just informed them and encouraged the spreading of the information and the message to exercise our right to vote. I sent in my ballot several weeks prior to the actual election. So, I was indeed involved in my own state politics. But, I can understand the criticism from some who question why I would involve myself with another state. Well, Joe Miller was the true Conservative candidate in Alaska and I was grateful for an opportunity to help him in some small way. The outcome in Alaska is as yet undetermined and I’m still pulling for Joe. It was an honor to meet him and his wife and I think he would be a great Senator.
So, my experience in Alaska was unforgettable and went by very quickly. First off I must say a word about the stunning beauty of the state. I only saw a tiny piece of it. But, from the moment my plane was flying in to Anchorage and I saw the sun rising above the bay I was impressed. The mountains are inspiring in their proximity and beauty. One of the thoughts that I voiced aloud is “how could anyone be here and not believe in God.” I mean His handiwork up there is awesome. I also have to say that I was deeply impressed by the people I had the honor of meeting. Obviously I was only getting a snapshot of Alaska life, and Alaskans, but I was welcomed and got to see the down to earth, live life as it comes prevailing attitude. If I got a sense of Alaskans it was common sense, and a tight knit yet welcoming community.
I was informed that I should be prepared to hit the ground running. So, when my fellow volunteer and friend Don (aka Bestbud) picked me up we went right to a campaign office and were soon assigned an area to go knocking on doors reminding people to vote. We were joined by a young man and his wife who were both enthusiastic and dedicated. So, on went my warm socks, boots and hat, and a knocking we did go. Now, knocking on doors is something I’ve done before, in fact as a missionary in New Jersey many moons ago, but, it had been awhile. Still I was grateful for the chance to get out there and do something, even if it was uncomfortable. Comfort too often leads to apathy and apathy is the great instigator of non-action, and I think I’ve done away with apathy when it comes to politics. So, it was fun to talk to strong supporters, but I also have to say it was good to come across less than friendly responses as well. We have to be willing to take a stand and speak up, in an appropriately cordial way.
Later that day we were able to meet up with another friend from the online world, an Alaskan native. She took us to the famous Moose's Tooth where we enjoyed some fabulous pizza and a totally informal environment. Even later we ended up going to Rum Runners, get this, it really is a restaurant and there were kids there that were like 5, scandalous I know.
I was welcomed into a home, where I enjoyed a comfortable stay. My hosts were very kind, and I appreciated their willingness and openness at having me there.
The next day I was able to attend an LDS Church service. Again I felt welcomed and relaxed by the members. Later, I was able to attend another Church service with my friends at Anchorage Baptist Temple Several of the candidates introduced themselves there including Joe Miller. It was a great service led by Dr. Jerry Prevo, and I was touched by the amount of community involvement this Church had, they were truly making a big difference in the lives of a lot of people. Afterwards it was great to see people mingling with and around the various candidates.
Than we headed out to the Mat-Su Valley, and had particlar interest in visiting Wasilla. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kind of a supporter of Sarah Palin :) It was a little surreal to be in her home town. We got to stop by several of the sites that she mentions in her book Going Rogue and that played a role in her life, including city hall where she served as Mayor. It was a delightful experience and it was again an honor to meet some amazing people there. It’s a beautiful town, and I’d love to go back someday.
The next couple of days were focused on the campaign. For me and Don that meant we spent a lot of time waving signs on the corner of Northern Lights Blvd. That was actually rather fun. There was a bunch of Miller supporters there with us, all excited and enthusiastic about not just Joe Miller, but Conservative values for America. It was always fun to get honks and waves. And can I tell you I did think it was fun to have the people that gave us the thumbs down, or the middle finger up. We would just smile and wave happily, that way the surrounding cars could assume it was a positive response from them :)
We were able to attend a fun concert in support of Joe by Bryan White and Andy Griggs. Andy had a great song called Amen that people should definitely check out; boy did we all get into that.
Then Tuesday evening there was the big gathering of supporters. We all were anxiously awaiting the results. I stood and chatted with people I’d not met before that night while we watched the returns from all over the country. Cheers ensued and than of course some groans of disappointment. But, lets be honest Election 2010 was an amazing one for Conservatives, especially with a historic takeover in the House. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from this past year, Sarah Palin has outlined some in a tremendously clear and concise way. Like I said I’m still pulling for Joe, and we’ll see in the next couple of weeks how that all turns out. But, all in all it was an inspiring if tiring evening.
I think I got choked up during the pledge because I felt I had finally started making some headway on keeping that pledge. No longer am I complacent or content to watch my country deteriorate, I’m determined to do something, to step up and speak out.
Progressivism has been around for over 100 years and has been doing its damage for that long. The Tea Party activities, which I certainly identify as a part of, have been around for about 1 and ½ years. Look at the amazing effect it has had on just this most recent election. I think the media and certainly Progressive Democrats/Republicans would love to see the Tea Party fade away. Sorry that’s just not going to happen. I for one leave the 2010 elections pumped up to continue and grow my involvement in the political process. I’m in it for the long haul, and I’m far far from alone in that sentiment.
We move forward. When people say we are being extreme we say ‘yeah it’s extreme, extremely sensible and extremely necessary.’ We keep standing up and speaking truth. We keep trusting in God, and we keep seeing what is good and right about America, because there is much goodness here because of the goodness of the people.
If you’d be interested you can listen to my most recent blog radio program The Grizzly Hour here where you can hear more of my and my brother’s take on the election and also an interview/chat between Don and I while we were up in Anchorage.