“We deserve leadership that when told by the press, those in our own party who do not share our principles and the whole world, to move, understand that their job is to plant themselves like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the entire world, ‘No. You move !’”
Those were the words of Life of the Party’s co-editor, Clayton Strang, when he ran for Snohomish Co. Republican’s State Committeeman earlier this year. He was paraphrasing the words of his favorite Marvel Comic Superhero, Captain America, in case you are not familiar with the quote. Although his bid for that office was unsuccessful, he has proven himself to be a man who lives by these words. He has fixed principles on which he will not budge. In politics, that means the Unalienable Right to Life is the first of these fixed principles, which is why I chose him to have a key role in what we’re building here at Life of the Party.
Last Saturday, April 27, was the peak point of one such time that Clayton has demonstrated this quality. For the last several months, like many activists around the state, he has taken part in the forming of a county charter of the national organization, Republican Liberty Caucus. The county charters then make up the state charter RLCWA. Many have placed their hopes in this organization as a vehicle to channel all of the energy, talents and skills of conservative and liberty activists around the state, to be a force within the Republican Party for the purpose of restoring its principles of limited government. Some of us, in fact, most of us believed (or so we were told) that defending the unalienable right is essential for defending liberty and one of the very few responsibilities government is to be “limited” to. Saturday, this organization was put to the test on that issue by Clayton.
With Clayton’s due diligence in crafting a pro-life resolution, the Snohomish Co. charter adopted it and introduced it at the RLCWA state convention last Saturday. Delegates had time to read and discuss among themselves in advance of the state convention. Over and over again, we were told by most of the delegates that they agreed with the sentiment. Some chose to act accordingly, but unfortunately, many chose pragmatism over standing for principle. The resolution failed by a large margin (this from a group with whom we have an estimated 90% agreement).
We heard all sorts of excuses about “why not” from some who told us they agreed, such as: “this could turn away other liberty activists who disagree, it’s too divisive,” “this is a group focused on ‘liberty issues’ and there are plenty of other groups where life is the focus,” as if defending the right to life has nothing to do with a term so broad as “liberty”. There were also a tiny minority of members/delegates, some who hold office in the state and national organization, that opposed what they perceived as the sentiment in the resolution: “the federal government has no business making law on abortion.” We pointed out that the resolution mentions nothing about the federal government. (Most in the liberty movement acknowledge that the states are where murder laws are written and enforced and have jurisdiction on this matter.) Here is the actual text of the resolution:
“Whereas, the Declaration of Independence States “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness;” and
Whereas, it is the sole duty of government to secure these rights for the people of the United States of America; and
Whereas, without the right to life, all other rights which the government should properly secure become meaningless; and
Whereas, the right to life for pre-born humans is currently not secured; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Snohomish County Republican Liberty Caucus (this will be replaced with “Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington” via a motion to amend from the floor) opposes any act of aggression against an innocent individual and his inherent right to life. This includes such acts against any human whether born or unborn”
So, the resolution had no prescription for the federal government. It was just asking the RLCWA to take a stand opposing “acts of aggression”, which is one of the core principles of libertarian philosophy that this group all claims to hold. When that argument failed, the arguments unfortunately turned to personal attacks by the opponents of the resolution. They would have you believe otherwise. To be sure, Clayton does use strong rhetoric in defending his point. Rhetoric like, “You cannot defend liberty without defending life,” actual words that Ron Paul uses. (Ron Paul is the figurehead of most of these liberty activists). And perhaps some of Clayton’s words were even stronger than that, but none so strong as what they have claimed to be. I will not do those false accusations justice here. He even offered a public apology for being “abrasive”, not acknowledged by his accusers. But their mode of attack was to amplify his words to sound much harsher than they actually were.
But why are any of these excuses acceptable for not taking a stand for life? Is the RLCWA going to turn into the WSRP light? (WSRP=Washington State Republican Party). At least the WSRP has a pro-life statement in their platform, even if the politicians they often support do not follow it. The RLCWA wimped out and as a result, instead of offending the libertarian activists, they drove away strong activists like Clayton, the movers and shakers in the liberty movement. They ironically drove away the man who they cheered on when he used similar rhetoric in defending their second amendment rights, calling out a certain Republican legislator, when the GOP establishment scolded him for “being divisive”. What a shame for the RLC to lose him and others like him. He had the potential to make the RLCWA a powerful force.
But Life of the Party is glad to have Clayton on board. We need more like him who are willing to be that “tree beside the river of truth”, even to the point of enduring false accusations.
Check out his motion and speech in favor of the resolution here:
Full Captain America original quote:
Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, you move.”