- Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Facebook friend asked me this week why I’m taking a public stand against a group of people calling themselves “grassroots conservatives” who are asserting themselves in Republican caucuses and conventions in town after town and state after state across the nation.

More specifically, the question was, why would I, as an outspoken conservative who’s been speaking, writing, and fighting against the “woke” agenda for over 20 years at the local, state and national level, speak against the leaders of this movement? Here’s my response.

Simply stated, it’s their all-or-nothing view of politics. It’s their “If you’re not with us — on every issue — you’re against us” cocksureness. It’s the stunning pride they seem to take in destroying members of their own party rather than focusing on beating the opponent.

It’s their shocking ignorance of the principle of “divide and conquer.” It’s their blindness to the fact that a house divided cannot stand. It’s their cluelessness that they’re being played by those who see them as “useful idiots” to further the neo-Marxist cause. It’s their destructive rhetoric of accusing battle-hardened conservatives who have been in the trenches for decades.

The strategy of these Marjorie Taylor Greene wannabes is not only strategically suicidal, it’s arrogant. It’s akin to a smug lieutenant who has never taken fire while accusing Gen. Patton of not being a true soldier. It’s like watching a pretentious millennial tell a World War II veteran he’s a coward or reading about a Black Lives Matter activist asserting that William Wilberforce was pro-slavery. It’s the condescension of a first-time parent suggesting that Grandma and Grandpa know nothing about raising children.

Many in this new crop of conservative activists treat time-tested conservatives who have fought many more battles than they have as if they were sellouts. Their divisiveness is destroying the Republican Party, and their incompetent leadership has effectively dismantled decades of conservative progress in counties and municipalities across the country. And if the antics we now witness in Washington tell us anything, it appears they are determined to do the same nationwide.

I understand the frustration with “Republicans in name only” and share it. But what our grassroots friends fail to see is that their penchant for calling everyone who dares disagree with them a RINO is more of a problem than a solution. Alienating and maligning your own army’s proven warriors is not a winning strategy.

While it may seem admirable for all these acolytes of Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene to be willing to go down with the ship, can’t we at least agree that it’s foolish to drill holes in the boat to accelerate its sinking? Rather than calling for everyone on board to man the pumps and patch the holes, these grassroots conservatives actually seem to think there is virtue in the scuttling and that the enemy is the one who dares suggest that they might want to put the drills down before they drown us all.

Another Facebook friend of mine recently commented: “When the left gets together, they tend to concentrate on 80 to 90% of the issues upon which they agree, but when the right gets together, way too many of us tend to concentrate on the 10 to 20% of the issues on which we do not agree. We spend more time fighting each other than we do fighting the enemy. If we don’t fix this, they will bury us!”


Conservatives who want a country that is safe and sane for our children in the years ahead need to remind themselves of two fundamental principles of war and football. The first is the principle of unity. There is no “I” in “team,” and there is no such thing as an army of one. Only those willing to compromise for the sake of the whole win the game or enjoy victory in battle. Smug athletes sit on the bench, and smug soldiers get shot.

The second is the principle of incrementalism. You can’t throw a touchdown pass every time you have the ball. Three yards forward and 1 yard back is still a move in the right direction. Grassroots Republicans besmirch incrementalists to our detriment. When we shoot our own for the sake of a minor skirmish, our adversaries smile as they win the war.

Democrats are laughing at us right now. All they have to do is get the popcorn, sit back, and watch the show. The Republican Party is destroying itself from within. As Pogo said some 50 years ago, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” If we don’t stop marshaling the circular firing squad, we will end up with four more years of progressive rule that will destroy what little remnants of the republic we have left.

• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host.

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