Bill Sutton
Guest Columnist
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting the “Faith, Family and Freedom” Conservative Revival. The planning behind the event and the amazing work by the volunteers was apparent to anyone who has planned an event of this size. As near as anyone could tell, the whole thing worked out exactly the way it was planned. We had speakers come to Gardner from all over Kansas. One travelled here from Florida, and one travelled in from the past. It was clockwork and the many people who dedicated their time and energy to make it happen deserve my gratitude, but that’s not the part that left me (almost) speechless.“Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” I’d been cheering on the set-up efforts with Terence Mann’s line in Field of Dreams, but the truth is, none of us knew if this fantastic line-up of speakers would be speaking to a crowd or to empty chairs.
And then the cars began to arrive and the Ray Kinsella moment continued. From Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and, yes, Iowa, cars began parking at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. People streamed in, not knowing what to expect, but knowing that something was going to happen. Their reaction to the event was amazing; I saw gratitude in their expressions and something that looked a lot like relief. The campaign season has been hard, made harder and longer by some really competitive primary races.
Talking heads on television say that we are in a period of severe cultural polarization. Our political discussions have become sharply partisan and we express our disagreements with one another in a more uncivilized fashion than ever before. Anyone who studies history knows that this isn’t at all true. Thomas Jefferson, during a presidential campaign, referred to John Adams as a “hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensitivity of a woman.” They really knew how to bash people back then. Now we just call them Nazis or gin up some fake outrage over something they may or may not have said. Campaigns have been brutal since the beginning of our country’s elections, however, with 24-hour news and social media, it seems today to be pervasive and inescapable, if less artful. As tiresome as this environment may be, this is an important election.
Recent news out of both Texas and Idaho tells us that our churches are under attack, and our most fundamental liberties are being called into question. The eyes of the nation are on Kansas as we decide whether we will choose to continue on the path of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and a focus on job growth or go back to the policies of the Lost Decade of out-of-control spending, ever-increasing taxes and economic stagnation. In the Senate, we will be one of the key votes in reining in the Obama agenda. This race may also determine the direction of the Supreme Court of the United States. Our country is at a crossroads, and the weight of this moment in history is heavy on the shoulders of those paying attention.We are at the time in history that we must repeat the actions of our Founders and pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to insure that our children have a country where they can truly enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are at a point in which we must remember the actions of our Founders when they pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for themselves and the generations to come.
I think that’s the reason the Revival had such an impact; it tapped into a need that everyone feels who has been involved in the conflict this year. A revival is an opportunity for personal renewal. It’s a time to focus on our Faith, our Families and our Freedoms, the most important parts of our lives. It feels good to learn that you’re not alone in your concerns, and that other people are also working for the same goals. Most importantly, it feels wonderful to see the resolve in the faces and hearts of so many companions. I felt it; many felt it, and we all came away stronger for it.
It is an honor to serve the wonderful people of the 43rdDistrict, and I couldn’t end this article without asking for your continued support, and your vote on November 4. I have been, and will ever be, committed to the ideals of faith, family and freedom.
This Election Day, remember that our Founders swore their lives and honor to the cause of freedom. All they ask of us is to vote with the same freedom as our guiding star.