ARMENIA (ANM) – Samuel Forrest was expecting to have the best day of his life while waiting outside the hospital room for his son to be born, but things took an unexpected and unfortunate turn.
“This pediatrician walks out of the room with a little bundle — that was Leo,” Forrest said. “She had his face covered up and hospital authorities wouldn’t let me see him or my wife. When the doctor came out, he said ‘there’s a real problem with your son.’
When Forrest followed the bundle and entered the room the doctors turned to him and told him that his son has down-syndrome, a genetic disorder also known as trisomy 21 that causes the presence of a third copy of chromosome 21.
This news, however, wasn’t the unexpected or unfortunate turn.
Forrest was married to an Armenian woman and he was from New Zealand and although birth defects in New Zealand are accepted much as how birth defects are accepted in the United States, Armenian culture is much different.
“I got the ultimatum right then,” Forrest said. “She told me if I kept him then we would get a divorce.”
Forrest asserts that he was unaware of the customs involving child birth and defects in Armenia, “What happens when a baby like this is born here, they will tell you that you don’t have to keep them,” he said. “My wife had already decided, so all of this was done behind my back.”
Forrest nonetheless kept Leo and his wife filed for divorce a week later effectively abandoning her son Leo in the process.
Because Forrest has bravely and rightly taken the responsibility to raise Leo as a single parent, he wishes to go back to New Zealand and raise his son so Forrest has set up a gofundme page in hopes that people will hear his story and assist him to make life better for him and Leo.
Forrest writes, ‘Leo Forrest was born on 21st January 2015 with Down Syndrome, in Armenia. His Armenian mother and her family abandoned him at birth. His father, a New Zealander, was no longer welcome in the family home because he wanted to ‘keep’ Leo. The mother refused to even look at or touch the newborn for fear of getting attached in a society where defects are not accepted, often bringing shame on the family involved.’
An article out this week by Tim Carney references a Mississippi success story in how one woman overcame protectionist government regulations here to inspire a new industry. The story is about Melanie Armstrong from Tupelo, Mississippi and Conservatives should take notice.
If you peer even further into the interesting nooks of the non-corporate economy, you see people engaging in business who probably wouldn’t even call themselves self-employed. The stay-at-home mom who runs a small day care out of her home — really babysitting three kids — may not think of herself as a businesswoman, but rather a mom who hustles to make ends meet. Same with the hobby photographer who shoots weddings to fill the family’s vacation fund. Or the single mom on welfare who paints postcards to calm her nerves, and then sells them.
These people might not fit your definition of entrepreneurs, and they’re not the standard image of small businesspeople. And again, they may not even think of themselves as “self-employed.”
But these are people trying to improve their own lot, or their own family’s lot through independent hard work. Conservatives concerned with helping people ought to think about these people more.
I thought of all of these matters because of this infuriating story by Melanie Armstrong, who took up African hair-braiding, only to run into insane regulations that politicians claim are for consumer-protection, but are instead for protecting incumbent businesses.
Mississippi finally changed the law to allow hair-braiding without the insane regulations. Armstrong overcame them and expanded, like a true entrepreneur. It’s an awesome American dream capitalism story. But we shouldn’t stop at thinking about her. This was the part that struck me:
Since 2005, I have trained more than 125 women who have gone on to earn a living as natural hair braiders. In addition, my shop in Tupelo has provided jobs for 25 women, affording them the dignity and pride of a regular paycheck.
Most of those 125 women she has trained won’t become hair-braiding moguls. Many will be content to braid on their own back deck, never getting a storefront. They won’t be job creators. But there are many more of them than there are Melanie Armstrongs.
These are the stories of survival and community we should be striving to tell. This is how putting people first and inspiring them to fight for their dreams to create their own opportunities works. This is what reducing big government in favor of people does.
“Progressives spent a generation imposing taxes and other expenses on urban populations as though the taxpaying middle class would not relocate. They protected the defective cartel system of public education, and the union money and votes associated with it, as though middle-class parents would not move to places that had better schools. They imposed burdens on businesses, in exchange for more union money and votes, as though businesses would not shift production elsewhere. They imposed policies that disincentivized stable family arrangements as though doing so would have no social cost.
And they did so while adhering to a political philosophy that holds that the state, not the family or the market, is the central actor in our lives, that the interests of private parties — be they taxpayers or businesses — can and indeed must be subordinated to the state’s interests, as though individuals and families were nothing more than gears in the great machine of politics.”
Melanie’s story is one of thousands around us that show that Conservatism in practice is the solution to the failures of progressive policies. Reality over rhetoric is what relates these facts better than any political game.
John Hart of OpportunityLives.com has an excellent commentary out this week about why Republicans should be talking about solutions. When I first read it I felt like I had heard a faint echo in the wilderness. I’ve been talking and writing about the need for this type of politics for a long time. Unfortunately, while there has been some agreement, there has been no real action by our political leaders.
Our dialogue here in Mississippi, as in much of the country, continues to be more about rhetoric than reality. I have suggested that a change in the dialogue would do more to solidify a place for the thousands of newly engaged Conservatives than anything else we can do. That led to me being personally attacked online by an anonymous assailant who, obviously, is against changing the dialogue.
I suppose if you’ve got nothing else . . .
We obviously have a long way to go. But just like the song goes, we also have a short time to get there (for those under the age of 40 that’s a Smokey and the Bandit reference. Look it up and enjoy). Demographic data clearly points to the fact that the audience is changing, and the first rule of any good communication is to know your audience.
Hart offers 5 reasons in explaining why Republicans should run on solutions and a positive agenda. It is also applicable to Conservatives, whether my detractors like it or not.
1. Offering solutions is a better political strategy.
Hart writes that the deadly rationalization in todays politics is that in order to “do good things” one first has to win. He writes that this leads candidates to refuse to put forward “bold and risky solutions that can be attacked” during a campaign.
This is very well illustrated by the slow unraveling of the connection between social and fiscal conservatism by the consulting class that have controlled the Republican Party for the past nearly twenty years. Rather than grasp the message and educate the public of how social conservatism is necessary in a free society, GOP leaders chose to downplay social conservatism completely. We see the results of that reflected in our culture today.
When the voices of those Republicans who believed in the importance of character, integrity, family and Faith were quashed, there was no longer a platform to spark discussion.
Fast forward to today and the nation has more people on some form of government welfare than people who are working. We spend more on poverty programs than ever, yet the poverty rate is unchanged. We have a larger number of young people putting off marriage and starting a family. We have a growing chasm between the political class and the working class that is not only economic but also cultural. The economic problems we face today are a direct result of moving away from talking about social conservatism and traditional values that drive work ethic and character.
The perfect political moment never arrives to “do good things”. There is always another election to be worried about. So refusing to discuss solutions for fear of losing only means we never get to the solutions, just the next election.
The restaurant analogy is spot on. Normal people don’t go to a restaurant to read a menu. They go for a meal. Political movements are the same. Voters don’t want opinions; they want answers and specifics.
2. You’ll be defined on your terms rather than someone else’s.
As Hart puts it in his article:
“If you are not defining what you are for, the other side will do that for you. Leaving a blank slate is dangerous. Write your own narrative in the language of specifics.”
This may be the most important for us right now in Mississippi. Back in 2012 I began putting together plans for a group called Generation Mississippi. The idea is simple. We have to start presenting solutions to the audience that will be the next generation of voters. It has garnered a little more interest of late for obvious reasons.
In both Mississippi and the nation the conservative message is not connecting with minorities or young voters. In most cases this is not because of a lack of agreement, but rather a lack of communication. Conservative ideas need not change. The way we communicate and engage about those ideas does. We tend to dismiss those who disagree rather than engaging in the discussion. In order to see a move towards a Constitutionally sound conservatism this lack of engagement must end.
Assuming population growth remains the same in our state, in less than 10 years the non-white to white population will be 50-50. That’s only 2 or 3 election cycles aways. I’m no mathematician, but that sounds like we ought to be getting to work.
With all the gnashing of teeth over the race-baiting ads used in the U.S. Senate race, I’ve yet to hear too many people look past their anger to ask a simple question: “Why do you suppose that worked so well?”
My answer: It’s because Conservatives gave up on communicating solutions with minority groups. We did them a disservice by not offering them solid solutions, they did us one back by being easily manipulated to think conservatism is about hurting minorities and minority communities.
Conservative policies will work for minorities. They work for those who want a good education and a good job. They work for those who want to see their communities prosper. They work for those who recognize there are moral issues society should address. All of these opportunities to communicate exist in minority communities in Mississippi, and beyond, and we should be discussing them in a positive way. We should be defining conservatism as a solution so the shysters don’t get to come in, as they did here in Mississippi, and define it for us.
3. You’ll have a mandate.
Politicians and candidates that talk about generic ideas and refuse to discuss solid solutions inspire a generic following and and audience that is easily distracted by slick advertising and branding. Governance is about solutions. It’s about a system that allows people to work for their dreams and to produce something of value to the community. If people can’t make the connection between a candidate’s message and how that would solve problems and allow opportunity then support is at best blind allegiance, an army without a cause. Don’t tell me what you’re against. Tell me what you are for.
Any politician who wants to be a leader has to lead. That means providing the army of followers with a mission, and it means if one finds themselves elected to office they will have, as Hart puts it, “an army at their back.” This means getting things done. Isn’t that the point?
Messaging today is not linear. It spreads like a fire, capturing the tender around it that is ready to burn and occasionally throwing off a spark that starts a whole new blaze. A solid message built on solutions and substance is the match that ignites the flame.
4. It’s your job.
Most of us who are politically active weren’t drawn into it for the pay and benefits. I understand that some lobbyists campaign for clients and get paid big bucks because of the legislation they get pushed through. But for the most part these are the guys that are just throwing money at candidates. Those of us grunts who work on campaigns will be the first to tell you we aren’t getting rich. We do this because we believe in what we do and why we do it.
Thanks to social media, K-Street has taken a big hit. People and conversations are much more important now than back room deals. The ability of people to pull together an army of outrage over an issue can happen in hours.
But, with that comes some responsibility. Conservatives need to be careful to educate themselves and not to jump on just any bandwagon. We must demand a candidate explain what he or she will do specifically.
The way to remind those who want to run for public office that this is more than a beauty contest is to already be talking about the issues, the problems, the solutions and the specifics. The message should be clear: “We don’t need a savior, we need a representative. This is what we believe. If you believe this too we may consider voting for you. But, get over the self-importance right now and realize, if you win, we expect you to do your job.”
In other words, don’t just say you work for us. Do it.
5. The country needs solutions.
For some, it is apparent that politics is a game, campaigns are something we put into a win/loss column. But for people now struggling with putting food on the table for their kids this is more than a sporting event, its about survival.
Drive through a small town in the Mississippi Delta and tell me the people there care one whit about who won the last election. Join me for coffee at my local diner one morning and see how the working class men who start their day there talk about politicians and government. There is a reason the approval rating of elected officials remains consistently in the cellar and why so few people even bother to vote anymore.
Give me liberty? You bet. But give me a reason to want it and believe in it, and you have a winning message.
Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert has made it clear that the Republican establishment is at war with The Tea Party.
House Speaker John Boehner has attacked Conservatives (“the extreme right wing”), the Tea Party and Tea Party leaders time and time again.
In an interview with World Net Daily, Congressman Gohmert let it be known that it is time for new leadership in The House of Representatives and seek out a House Speaker who will recognize who the enemy is- instead of playing golf with Obama- and capitulating to the demands of the extreme LEFT wing, doing deals on the links or in smoke filled back rooms.
Conservatives have come to regard Boehner as weak, adopting the “go along to get along-reach across the aisle” demeanor of so many “Republicans” who are now seen as RINO’s (Republicans In Name Only) .
The Speaker himself is being challenged for re-election in his own Ohio district.
As previously reported, Gohmer has launched a Political Action Committee, to promote, protect and defend both Tea Party and Conservative elected officials, as well as those new to the political scene.
In the WND interview, when asked if Gohmert was actively seeking to replace Boehner, he said: “I’ve already sought to do that. I think we’ll have a new speaker next January. Hopefully, a Republican. I think we’ll have a new speaker because the tide is going in that direction. Because we have got to have someone who recognizes that when we compromise over and over, and when Harry Reid says, ‘It’s my way or a shutdown, no compromise, no negotiations,’ it is Reid who shutting down the government.”
That’s when Gohmert added quietly, “We’ve got to have someone who is smart enough to realize that, so I guess that will take a change in leadership.”
To learn more about Congressman Louie Gohmert’s Conservative PAC to help the Tea Party fight off the Republican establishment and the Consultant Class, help #DefundTheGOP and show America “WE ARE THE PUSH BACK”- CLICK THIS LINK
As an added bonus, you can watch #GOHTeam’s first video, which excoriates the Obama administration, Obamacare, and the media!
Let’s put a stop to this-
We ARE the PUSH BACK!
Follow Harriet Baldwin on Twitter: @HarrietBaldwin
Will Chris Christie require voter registration with the purchase of a dozen Krispy Kremes? Will John McCain enjoy his tossed salad? Will Peter King change his name to “Huntsman”? Does Kelly Ayotte’s vajayjay really speak Spanish? And will Candy Crowley gain 10 more pounds by the end of the broadcast? Let’s find out.
Special thanks to John LaRosa for his comedic satire. For more “conserva-snark”, follow him on Twitter @jslconsulting.