Editorial-Opinion January 2016

Steve Burch makes the case for sportsmen to vote on Super Tuesday.

Steve Burch | January 3, 2016

We are less than 60 days from Super Tuesday.

On  March 1, Georgians and voters from 12 other states will cast ballots to pick the candidates who will square off in November to determine who will replace the current president.

From a professional viewpoint, as publisher of this magazine, I have been watching sportsmen for more than 30 years.

I have also been watching other groups over that span, and I think I have noticed something that is basic and profound.

It is common for me to hear some folks criticise anyone in politics. Many of these critics are also defeatists. They essentially say, “A pox on all of them!”

And then they sit down in a huff and don’t vote. Some won’t even register to vote.

These folks are a real head-scratcher for me. I wonder how they have energy to complain, but not the energy to stand up for themselves at the polls when they get a chance.

I wonder how you feel?

I wonder if you are registered to vote? I sure hope you are. I wonder if you will show up to vote?

There is a very real and significant reason I wonder these things.

Sportsmen are a large enough group to make a difference in this country and in this state. Every night on television, the news media shows us just how politically powerful well-organized, or just well motivated, small groups can be in this country.

Clearly, the most successful small group has to be the gay rights movement. We’re talking about less than 2 percent of the population. Fifty years ago, there was no political platform on this issue—yet today that certainly can’t be said. Those seeking rights wanted something to change.

That trait defines how this country moves. There is another group, made up mostly of people who just want to be left alone. They don’t particularly want or feel a need for change. These people and the groups they identify with are often referred to as conservative. Over the past four decades, the arc of society has moved from traditional, conservative positions toward more liberal positions.

There have been exceptions, yes.

It is in these exceptions where conservative progress prevailed that the truth about our country and our future can be found.

Many of you will remember the election cycle of 2010. This was less than two years after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The liberal party in this country controlled both the House and the Senate, and now they controlled the White House. Pundits claimed that the Republican Party would be the minority party forever.

Then, in the strangest place—on a very liberal  cable TV channel—a financial pundit decided that he had been Taxed Enough Already. His three-minute rant launched the TEA Party, and that TEA Party created the change they wanted.

If you peer further back down the political landscape, you will bump into  a Contract With America, written by a Georgian, that laid out specific changes that would occur if Republicans were elected to the House. That Contract, that promise for change, won a stunning election and ended 40 years of a Democratic-controlled House. It also moved to balance the federal budget at a time when no one thought it possible.

The point to all of this history is that if you think that you just want to be left alone, you are easing the way for those who you oppose. But, if you want to change things, then the odds are in your favor. So now, there is this important national conversation about where our country is headed and who is going to lead us as president.

For instance, it is likely that the next president will appoint a number of Supreme Court Justices. The Second Amendment barely survived a challenge at the Supreme Court by a single vote. Depending on the next appointment or two, this individual right to keep and bear arms we hold so dear could be “interpreted” out of existence. I want to ensure that the Supreme Court has Justices that honor the constitution as it is written. We need a change in the court that tilts toward more constitutional protection, not less.

I feel we need to keep a Republican majority in the House and Senate, and we need to also elect a pro-constitution president. Most candidates in the current Republican field meet that test. I am registered to vote, and I will vote March 1. I ask that you please join me. Our country needs us.

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