My most recent article argued that homeschooling is the front lines of the Conservative Movement today. Homeschoolers are raising up a future generation that hasn’t been indoctrinated by all the crazy leftist propaganda — that makes homeschooling an incredibly important fight. We are also the majority and leaders of the homeschooling community. It is one small area where we, as Christians and as Conservatives, have influence and strength in numbers. As Conservatives, we should be supporting our local homeschooling community and, even more important, we should be doing anything we can to safeguard the right to homeschool. It may be our best hope for the future of our ideology.
However, when speaking about battles we currently hold the upper hand on, there is another. Seriously, just one more. We are fighting the Left’s ideology on a zillion different battlefields and we are only winning two – for now. The second fight we are winning is the Pro-life Movement.
Pregnancy Centers are making an incredible difference in people’s lives throughout the nation. Studies have been done to show the impact these centers are having on so many lives at the local level. Public opinion is changing too. In the mid-nineties 56% of people considered themselves Pro-choice and 33% considered themselves Pro-life. Those number have changed considerably and today 46% consider themselves Pro-life and 48% consider themselves Pro-choice.
Further, when you consider the specific questions asked in Gallup polls, today, those who think abortion should be legal in any or in most circumstances is at 43%, while those who think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances or should be legal only in a few circumstances is at 55%. Those favoring no abortion or abortion limited to only a few circumstances is a significant majority. That is progress.
Why do I bring up an issue we are all already familiar with? Because it is an area we are actually doing well in! As Conservatives, we are actually winning the hearts and minds of people in this one little area. We need to analyze our success and export it to the rest of our battlefields.
But how? What strategies are we using in these two areas, pregnancy centers and homeschooling, that are allowing us to be more successful while we fail in other areas?
Both of these issues play well to one of our strengths – family. Conservatives believe that a healthy society must be built on healthy families, and both of these issues benefit from that aspect of our ideology. Family is such an important building block of our society but also of our platform. First, it is undeniably true to people who are objectively considering whether a society built on strong families is better or worse off than one not built on strong families. Second, because we believe so strongly in the importance of family, on an individual level most Conservatives work hard to have a healthy, strong family – so it is an area in which most of us personally shine.
Also, both of these issues, Pro-life and homeschooling, are engaged at the local level with real, actionable efforts that can be checked off a list as finished. So many of our battlefields are undefined and intangible. The ability to break these issues down into something a person can actually do is vital.
Additionally, both of these issues are organized and, in most cases, take a local group instead of just one person to be successful. Now, I know some homeschoolers don’t participate in co-ops but most still participate with other homeschool families in different ways and pregnancy centers are the epitome of an organized group. This strategy of working in an organized group helps to chop up the problem into more bite-sized solutions that each person can contribute to without having to go it alone and take on their entire school board single-handedly, for example.
Finally, we like to help people. Pregnancy Centers help women to make choices that they won’t regret and to support them as they face one of life’s challenges. Homeschool parents help their children to develop into the adults they want them to become. If an organization is focused solely on furthering our political agenda, less Conservative/Christians are going to be interested. However, if we can genuinely help people, the organization will have plenty of volunteers. So, beyond the furthering of our ideology aspect, this locally-minded organization should be helping to make people’s lives better on some level.
It’s a tall order but we know it is possible.
With what other issues could we leverage our strength of family? What other strengths does the Conservative Movement have? What other policy issues can we focus on at the local level with clear, real actions to make a difference? What organizations can we form that could help to break up large problems and allow a group of people to work on solving them together? In what ways can we genuinely improve people’s lives while advocating for our policy positions?
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