From the chair – One of the great ironies of living as an Asheville conservative is your validated credential as a non-conformist.
Traditional non-conformity measures like anarchy, gender exchange, atheism, and addiction are so “in” in Asheville that rule-of-law, gender clarity, faith, and realism are now “out.” Anyone functioning outside the mainstream is a non-conformist and conservatives in our community are definitely on that road less traveled.
For those raised here, who saw this coming? Some did – and there’s argument it could have been stopped had city leaders in the eighties and nineties been more outspoken and less dedicated to “Anyway You Like It” accommodations. Now, barring a big bang, we’re stuck on the same conformity track that finds San Francisco and Seattle on the druggie, panhandler and lawless hot list.
Back around the turn of the century my son and I took one of our annual “explore the world” trips. This time it was Rome. We stayed in a Catholic nunnery, and through that and other good fortune connections, we had an opportunity to spend deeper time at the Vatican.
It was all special but witnessing beautification ceremony 30 feet from Pope Paul was extra so. We came away with the sense the Catholic faith struggles with the same “good vs. evil” trials as our own – and that at that point, the contest had similarly not been secured.
One memorable evening was spent with a Bishop over a 2-hour Italian dinner. He was birthed amidst a wealthy and sophisticated heritage and spoke something like seven languages. In English he told me something that, with the passage of time, has become increasingly relevant.
“The first generation of Saints were essentially those who were martyred for the church,” he said. “The second generation of Saints were great teachers, healers, and spiritual leaders. The last generation of Saints will simply be people who can be normal in an abnormal world.”
Twenty something years later, we’re there. Normal is no longer normal and abnormal is no longer abnormal. In our community – like many others – abnormal is as surely rewarded as normal is punished.
In today’s America the left has successfully sold the idea that normal doesn’t exist. May we at the BCGOP suggest that is silly nonsense?
98.6 is a “normal” body temperature. 70 degrees is a “normal” room temperature. That place between constipation and diarrhea is also rather fondly described as “normal.” In healthy cultures there are social values and behaviors that very much fall into that same categorization.
Those claiming otherwise are simply trying to water down our social morality code so as to more freely license their agenda. Most alcoholics would like to water down the DUI breathalyzer thresholds for the same reason.
It is not my wish to limit this conversation to a “good guys versus bad guys” epistle. Although the struggle between good and evil surrounds us, in the case of politics, if we’re not really careful, we can find ourselves stumbling into a “bad guys versus bad guys” scenario. If we’re attempting to counter left-leaning values we see as a sanctuary for darkness, then we must be of the light.
Amidst the increasing chaos in our community, the Buncombe County Republican Party works to stay on the right side of normal. We know that doesn’t happen by accident.
Defining normal begins with drawing from the time-tested wisdom of those who have gone before us. We understanding that valuing smart traditions propels more often than it impairs.
We also get that our country was founded and grounded in the Christian faith – and even go further in suggesting the Bible and Judaeo-Christianity have made our world. If you don’t believe it, look around at the systems of education, governance, finance, and law flavoring the international scene. Discernment will quickly mark the Christian faith’s broad touch.
The point of all this? We believe faith has a place in politics as surely as anything and our Christian values frame our sense of normal just like they frame our Constitution.
For a quick faith-based template for normal versus abnormal consider the Seven Deadly Sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) versus the Seven Godly Virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope and charity).
In recognizing our faith, we’re not attacking those with a different view. We’re simply recognizing that values like these provide a platform for normalcy. Importantly, we’re savvy enough to keep a grip on the one who brought us to America’s extraordinary dance.
Speaking of platform, Buncombe’s Republicans operates out of a Party Platform and set of Principles that serve as a compass toward normal.
Need an example? Our Party’s Platform and Principles suggests that 60-million abortions are a problem – not a solution. We consider our opposition – a political movement that believes otherwise – to thus be functioning in abnormal territory.
There are other beacons that help us stay on normal ground, but may I take liberties in suggesting my favorite? One of the best ways to determine what’s normal and not is that normal is always harder than abnormal.
That brings us to the crucial difference in the Republican way and that of Brand-X. Everything they sell comes in an easy package that’s neither normal, truthful or sincere. Our way is harder – but that makes it real – and normal.
Amidst our community’s growing abnormalities, Republicans are reaching for normal. We get it that Brand-X is selling an easier option – not a better one…
“America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy;
not revolution but restoration.” Warren G. Harding