To My Fellow Federalists

We must learn and engage the art of coalition if we are to avoid becoming yet another principled movement whose talk was tough but left empty its list of achievements.

Many and various have been the arguments, in this new political era we find ourselves in, that we are experiencing the age of unprincipled movements, fueled by resentment and identity as opposed to values and ideals.  While I believe this sentiment is true about the loudest and most visible portions of our society, it is not the whole truth.  Hidden from the general coverage of media surrogates (both right and left), is an ever-growing list of principled and grassroots movements trying to make their voices heard amidst the partisan squalor.  So far, they have all been drowned out by the concerns of agenda and the passions engendered by the controlled narrative.  Based on my brief engagements in many different small and principled movements I have come to some conclusions on their failures: their visions are too wide and their dogmas are too narrow.

I have never made excuse for personal ideologies, singular as they are.  My outlook is unique and often creates difficulty fitting into organizations and associations characterized by rigid ideology.  I’m often too conservative for centrists, too pragmatic for conservatives, too “neocon” for libertarians, too libertarian for moderates, too partisan for independents, too independent for partisans, and just generally not fitting in while often being too brazen with my own opinions.  Perhaps this is why I am enamored with pluralism and have come to believe in the art of coalition.  This is why I feel blessed to have discovered the Federalist Coalition and to be allowed the opportunity to become anxiously engaged in its focused and purposed efforts to craft an alliance out of diverse views, finding common cause in reasserting the basic and proper processes of our republic.

There is nothing wrong with being impassioned towards a cause.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to cry every belief we feel strongly to be true from every rooftop in every city.  But, at some point, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work finding and enabling what solutions are presently at our fingertips.  The fervor of idealism and the zeal for rediscovering and completing our great nation’s unfinished revolutions must ever burn in our hearts, but we must learn to temper our intensity and direct our energies towards concrete results that are near at hand.  Wars are won by winning battles and only victory can beget victory.  And, the key to winning battles, the foundation of accomplishing victories is in the strength of numbers.  No coalition of forces ever assembled has had the strength to persevere towards victory which did not lay down the specifics of their discord and rally towards a common cause all could hold in fidelity.

We must find common cause in federalism, in the proper means of government.  We must be willing to work with those whose ideals do not always match our own to accomplish our just ends.  There are growing portions of every ideology and political party whose hearts are softening and whose minds are considering the efficacy of federalism, of the proper checks and balances of our constitutional republic.  It falls to us to make the case for federalism.  Those of us who have studied the Constitution and Founding Documents as we would scripture must craft our message and open our own hearts to find the common cause which can embolden a coalition of true and lasting change. 

The time for petty squabbles and ideological intransigence has long past, my friends.  It is time to get busy re-educating our fellow citizens on their form of government.  It is time to make the case that properly checked and balanced government is in the interest of all citizens across the political spectrum.  It is time for federalism to become more than our singular philosophy, we must champion it as a common cause.

Justin Stapley writes articles for the Federalist Coalition’s website and currently serves on the organization’s inaugural council. He studied History at Southern Utah University for several semesters and has recently returned to school to complete his degree. He currently resides in Bluffdale, Utah with his wife and daughter.

The author is a subject area expert. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

In Depth: Federalism

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