Many of you will no doubt take issue with the title of this article. Obviously, candidate quality and messaging matters in any particular election cycle. In politics, as in life, winning short-term battles is essential. Nevertheless, in the broader trajectory of our culture, individual elections are just one link in a very long chain, and not the most important link at that.
As Americans, we tend to become very emotionally involved in our elections. We often get angry or even depressed when things don’t go the way we want. We spend weeks arguing over why things happened the way they did. For the most part, those are all signs of a healthy republic. If you care about your country, and its values and principles, then you care deeply about elections. However, while we debate over how we are going to win elections, it is important not to ignore the bigger picture.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Here is a truth that is not easy for most of us to swallow. Whether we want to admit it or not, the outcome we get in any given election is exactly the outcome we deserve. Meaning, election outcomes are a direct result of the culture we have created, or allowed to be created.
Cultures are not forced upon people. Every society on earth, and in fact every society that has ever existed, has exactly the culture that the people want. The people are the culture. They are one in the same. Our own culture is not some inexplicable aberration. It is exactly what the majority of the American people want it to be. When we soul search for how to explain bad election outcomes, we have to look at ourselves. The problem is us.
It is important to vote out politicians who do not support our values and principles. Let us do it every chance we get. But tossing out a bad leader does little to stem our cultural decline. The new leader may be objectively better, and may champion the values and principles that we want advanced, but let me ask you a question:
Have you ever noticed that our culture has continued to degrade no matter who gets elected?
How many times have you heard yourself lamenting to family and friends, “Why aren’t we getting anywhere? Why do we never seem to make any progress?”
THE PROBLEM IS ALSO THE SOLUTION
The answer begins and ends with education. How children are educated, and what they are taught, is the single biggest determinant of culture. This has always been the case. Unfortunately, we have been sold a bill of goods that if we only elect better people, we can solve all our problems. That is a fallacy, and a destructive one. We are Americans. Government leaders do not define us, and they are not going to be our saviors. Our Founders would be ashamed of us for such a belief.
There are a growing number of organizations in America who understand this. These organizations know that our future rests upon the education of our children, and they are not waiting around for the government to act. They are all pursuing the same goal, but approaching it from different angles. Groups like Moms for Liberty and the 1776 Project PAC headed by Ryan James Girdusky have taken up the Augean task of turning over school boards around the country and supporting the heroic parents standing up to the education system. Other organizations, like our own, concentrate their efforts on educating children on the shared values and principles that are the foundation of our country. For example, Governor Mike Huckabee’s company offers a range of children’s books and videos called Learn Our History which teach children to take pride in their nation. School choice is advanced stalwartly by people like Corey DeAngelis, and U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) fight for parental rights and removal of federal money from education. Finally, Pete Hegseth uses his massive platform not only to expose some of the more troubling issues in public schools, but also to give a voice to average Americans struggling to protect their children. People and groups like these are leading the charge, unswayed by the immensity of the battle or the media onslaught of hate against them. This is only a small sampling. I could list dozens more.
Our culture is not going to change until we start changing the way our future generations are educated. That is the long game. It has taken generations to get into this place, and it will take generations to get out. Whether you agree or disagree with these individuals and organizations politically, at least they understand reality. At least they understand the only true way to change a culture is through the education of its children. No attempt at cultural correction can be successful without it. That is the immense power education possesses in a society.
To be sure, the education system has been a leading player in the decline of our culture, but it is also the only real solution to that problem. Education is, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, the “true corrective”. We would all be wise to make it the focal point of our efforts.