Early 2018, for the first time in decades conservative Californians had hope in an election. There was electricity in the air. Leading up to the primary in June 2018, we saw the charismatic Travis Allen who lit a fire across California. People were energized. The more subdued John Cox drove energy and hope for the more establishment and pragmatic Republicans. The battle lines were drawn. We had options. Judge Steven Bailey, a well-qualified candidate for State Attorney General brought a sense of law & order to the ticket. The sweet and mild-mannered Konstantinos Roditis who patiently explained to crowds what a Controller does and why it’s an important role. No one can forget Mark Meuser, with his bright outfits and personality to match. He could give a speech on the spot reciting detailed voter statistics. His passion for election integrity was contagious. The primary wasn’t without frustration and tension but for the first time in many years conservatives were engaged in California politics. We were participating and debating. We were finally having the conversations we had avoided having for too long about Republicans in California. We were sleeping giants waking up and ready to storm Sacramento via the ballot box.
Expectations Have Consequences
Then something astonishing happened. On June 5, 2018, in a “jungle primary” state, we got Republican candidates in all but two of the statewide races. It was unbelievable. Many people took time to lick their battle wounds. Some people had trouble getting over “their” candidate not getting through to the general but things were moving along and most conservatives were uniting.
Over the summer, the air slowly leaked out of the ballon. The new car smell wore off some of the local candidates. The cracks began to show. All the resentment of the past began to seep back in. The sour betrayal from days long ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger betrayed California Republicans while the GOP pissed on us and told us it was raining began to come back into our memories.
We watched as democrats out-raised and out-spent our candidates while we struggled to get volunteers and resources. In some counties in California, the local GOP is silent, can’t be found, the websites haven’t been updated in years, no endorsements are posted and the social media is stagnant. In the case of a couple larger counties, the local GOP are suspected democrats who have just taken over entirely (I’ll say allegedly).
Trump, Come Back!
As the disappointment continued to mount, the one thing California Republicans had to look forward to was a visit from President Trump. During the primary John Cox said POTUS would come to California to campaign. We waited with excitement as President Trump began rallies in various states waiting for our turn. Every encounter I had where two or more conservatives gathered, the topic of POTUS coming back to California came up. Comments were made all over social media. Another devastating blow would come when rumors began to leak out that some candidates were preventing the President from coming to California. This was betrayal! This was shocking. This was sadly typical of California Republican politics.
Something Bigger Than Myself
Many people have worked tirelessly, day in and day out as if their lives depended on it because when you are a conservative living behind the socialist blue wall of California, sometimes it feels that way. Californians are very adaptable. We adjust to the new normals the authoritarian government implements. Occasionally we are given a reason to hope for something that resembles freedom, something that looks like the United States we heard about and read about in the history books. You get a glimpse of that and it keeps you awake for days wanting to fight for your candidates, maybe even be foolish enough to run for a local race yourself. We’ll do anything for that hope of the American dream, just a little part of the United States that we can touch and feel here.
So now here we are. It’s the middle of the night after the election. I’m sitting here in a quiet house for the first time in weeks, no calls to make, no doors to knock on, no envelopes to stuff, no notes to hand write, no walk books to review. Just me reflecting on the year of 2018 so far and thinking about the primary and this general election. It’s been an emotional roller coaster. Just like many other Californians, I am disappointed. We didn’t get the results we wanted. There is no denying that. John Cox conceded and bolted out of the US Grant faster than the valet could park the car. Turning to Judge Bailey, Konstantinos, Meuser, Conlon, Juan Hidalgo… one-by-one, I watched in anticipation as all my hope for San Diego, for California, for the U.S. House of Representatives drifted away. The GOP failed us (again). We failed.
Let’s Focus on Solutions
There are lessons to be learned. We can’t continue to force endorsements for candidates who don’t align with the party platform, who take money and resources away from good candidates. Weak and cowardly candidates aren’t acceptable to the base anymore. Forsaking our President is the wrong move every time. There is a saying that perfectly describes the problem with the GOP in California “If you sit on the fence, you get splinters in your ass”. I hope the GOP and people who consider running as Republicans in the future take that to heart.
Texas Doesn’t Want You
Now, here comes the problem I have with Californians. The moment we don’t get what we want, we throw a tantrum like a child. We don’t act like antifa but the stomping around, whining and complaining and threatening to take your ball and leave doesn’t work. No one cares. What do we do when children have a tantrum? We ignore them so we aren’t encouraging their bad behavior. I subscribe to the theory that you can have your pity party moment (in private) then you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and you press on. You don’t run from your problems. Don’t focus on your complaints. You don’t cower. You don’t give in. You don’t give up. As long as there is breath inside you, you fight on.
My Fellow Christians
There are two scriptures I refer to often, particularly when I think about what needs to be done in California.
Joshua 1:9 (KJV)
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
1 Chronicles 28:20 (KJV)
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.
From my perspective, Christians have been too quiet, too passive and too dismissive for too long. We have removed ourselves (or allowed ourselves to be removed) from culture, from society and from politics. It just seems like the status quo now. If politics are brought up in church, there are far too many Christians rushing to say “church isn’t the place for that kind of talk”. Really? So where should Christians discuss these things? Because if we think politics aren’t affecting the church and the everyday lives of Christians, I don’t know where you’ve been. While politicians you elected, or were elected on your watch are passing laws to teach your children all types of abomination in school without your knowledge or permission, and the courts are saying you, as their parent, don’t have a choice in the matter, where should these matters be discussed? While laws are passed that permit your underaged daughter to get an abortion without your consent or knowledge, where should this be discussed? At school, young children, as young as in kindergarten can be told that their gender is fluid, and you can’t stop them. Where as a faith community can we talk about this? When schools are allowing boys and girls in the same bathrooms, you want to talk now? See, because the “state” likes to make sure the church is clear on the boundaries it created between “church and state” and that you will not cross those boundaries, ever or else there will be consequences. But the state has no problem interfering with the church every chance it gets, creeping its worldly ways in, into your family and molesting your children while you shift uncomfortably in the pew, turning the other cheek and saying “church isn’t the place to discuss these things”.
It’s time to stop running. It’s time to stop sitting silently. It’s time to stop being resentful. It’s time to stop thinking that we must allow people to walk all over us as we politely smile and say “bless you”. We need to be courageous. We need to stand up for our biblical values, vote our biblical values, engage with the church, engage with the culture, engage with society and have the hard conversations. We need to say enough is enough. It’s time to say, No! you can’t have our children. We will not allow you to throw them into the fire as we sit in silence. It’s time to get busy being about our Father’s work. Find your courage. Be strong. Know that God is with you.
This article was written by Tamara, a California conservative Christian and longtime resident.