Updated 2.15.22 | JoAnn Fleming
We spend quite a bit of time talking about why conservative activists do what they do, but we neglect to revisit what we learned in battle simply because we’re quickly off to the next one.
During this lifetime of conservative activism, I’ve learned a thing or three – sometimes the hard way. Inquiring minds frequently ask how to do it right. Because I believe in steering fellow activists away from landmines, here are my Top 10 Undeniable Rules for Successful Conservative Activists:
- “They” will not like you. Get over it. If name-calling and confrontation make you want to throw up or cry, don’t sign up for the front lines. If your heart beats faster when a politician walks into the room, and faster still when they know your name, and if you live to be loved and approved of by politicians, you are a political groupie. You worship politicians. Do Liberty a favor – confess and repent or – Get. Out. Now.
- You must earn the right to lead. Self-anointment and self-appointment don’t make you fit to lead anybody. Recommended reading – a short, but powerful blueprint for servant leadership – John Maxwell’s “The Right to Lead: A Study in Character and Courage.”
- Stay out of sandbox fights. If Activist A has a personal beef with Activist B, let them duke it out. Do not allow yourself to be pulled into personal skirmishes. Do not share, forward, or air dirty laundry and personal beefs via social media. It makes you look small, petty, and like you never left grade school. Giving confidential advice when asked is not sandbox. Know the difference.
- Be a team player when the team has the right goal, but do not lose your own identity and credibility to go along with the crowd. Truth never depends on consensus.If 100 people do something foolish, it’s still foolish.
- Participate in group conservative efforts with a liberty-principled focus. Remember to stay tight on the fight to preserve and advance Liberty, while fighting bipartisan Big Government, political corruption, a God-less culture, and the “don’t rock the boat” trap of pragmatism. Remaining unwaveringly true to liberty principles means you must always be willing to be the skunk at the party, the hard-liner at the compromise table, and the toughest person in the room. Be ever aware of snares that lurk in privilege, special recognition, and being accepted in certain circles. (Avoid the shallow, juvenile, “cool kids” rating system.) If you can stay true to the mission while working in a group effort, do it! Just remember, you are in the fulltime persuasion business for bold, principled liberty. Lose your credibility, lose your ability to persuade.
- Do not bear false witness against a neighbor, candidate, or officeholder. Do not spread rumors, which are unsubstantiated claims. If there’s not enough evidence to prove the case in court, then it’s hearsay. Discard it. Big Government candidates and officeholders have plenty on the public record to oppose. Don’t exaggerate or tell half-truths. To do so is to lie, which will destroy your credibility and potential success because you have badly deviated from God’s Way.
- Work hard to persuade those you can, but don’t waste any more time on the perennial ostriches with their heads stuck in the sand. They like it that way because it’s safe, less painful, or popular. Shake the dust off your feet and move on.
- Strive to do what is right, at the right time, for the right reason. Wisdom dictates that you don’t always speak just because you can. Too much speaking for the sake of doing so will blend you into the wallpaper and reduce you to background noise. Be judicious in strategic planning, tactics, and execution, which donot belong on social media billboards. Smart commanders do not advance transmit anything until it is tactically advantageous to do so.
- Fire only when ready. Follow Davey Crockett’s advice: “Be sure you‘re right, then go ahead.” Never pretend to be an authority on something you know just enough about to be dangerous. For meetings with public officials, speaking engagements, and media interviews, be prepared. Do your homework and know your topic before you open your mouth. Knowing your topic includes plenty of listening.
- Never forget to say “thank you” to the folks who have your back – the team. Successful activism happens when a group of very committed, principled people with varying gifts and talents work together on a wise course to achieve a goal. Some are made to be on the frontlines. Others are best suited for behind-the-scenes work, coordination, strategy, tactics, and resource gathering. Frankly, the most valuable people in the world are those who say, “I’m praying for you” and really mean it. – JASF