The People of Conservative California Versus the Culture

The People of Conservative California Versus the Culture

A homemade sign in support of God, the country, and Donald Trump on Mike Briard’s fence in Martinez, Calif., on Feb. 6, 2024. (Keegan Billings/The Epoch Times)

Jonathan Madison

Jonathan Madison

4/22/2024

Updated: 5/1/2024

“Why ask any conservative in California to stand up against a radical left culture that all but dominates our society?” This was the sobering question I received from a disheartened California Republican in response to a column I published recently.
The column boldly called to action conservatives, libertarians, and freethinkers alike. I dared to invoke the belief that even in states such as “blue” California, we can reclaim the hearts of our generation with the same values that built this nation, that together, we can bring new light to a culture darkened by left-wing agendas.
To say the least, this avid reader was not convinced by these hopeful sentiments. Challenging me, she went on to suggest that I was living in a “different world.”
“According to what I can see,” she stated, “we are in a culture that prioritizes defunding the police over protecting victims, a culture of open borders, rampant crime, and a culture that cares far more about policing speech than policing criminals.”
Moved by the truth in her sentiments, I continued to read.
She then made an unsettling request: that I give her one reason to sacrifice her time for an effort that appears all but hopeless. She went on to share other demands in life to which many of us can relate—managing her challenging career, working to put food on the table, prioritizing her family, and raising her children.
She concluded by raising a difficult question: Why should she go out of her comfort zone to make a difference when she does not see any evidence to suggest things will improve for our state or nation? In short, she raised the question “Why must I fight?”
I will be the first to admit it. I did not have answers to her challenging inquiries. Nor could I articulate a reason persuasive enough for her to drop other valuable commitments for the conservative cause in California.
Deeply moved, I was challenged not just because she pointed out truths that are evident in our culture, but also because her sentiments forced me to acknowledge that, quite frankly, I am tired of hearing conservatives give the same “lip service” to Republicans about how great things are for our party. These same politicians completely ignore the real and unpopular problems that thwart our party’s efficacy. The truth can be painful, but it’s the only solid foundation on which we can step forward.
Riddled throughout the avid reader’s sentiments loomed a question that I am all too familiar with as a lawyer: Where is the evidence? In court, evidence is that which you can see, hear, or touch—a tangible thing. To that end, the reader successfully made her case. Based upon the plain evidence of what we can see—a conservative minority outnumbered and dominated by a leftist culture—it’s never been a more challenging time to be a conservative in a state such as California.
After weeks of garnering the courage to respond, I came to the conclusion that the reader’s sentiments did not fully resonate after all. I was reminded of something that many conservatives in California often forget.
I am not a Republican because it is easy in the state of California. I am not a conservative because it’s the popular thing to do in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nor do I expect a herd of people in our culture to amass in support of liberty’s great cause. Like many battle-tested conservatives, each morning, I make a conscious decision to stand up and fight for the ideals I believe in regardless of who is behind me.
I am reminded that speaking truth to power has rarely been popular. History reminds us that Socrates was executed alone by the Athenian government before his controversial philosophy on truth was embraced by billions after him. The admonished teachings of Jesus Christ caused the Roman government to crucify him long before Christianity was embraced worldwide.
The same can be said of our nation. Crispus Attucks was among the first who fought and died for what Great Britain once called a naïve and meritless cause in the American Revolution.
The birth of the Republican Party in 1854 was anything but popular. Created to combat the widely embraced economic engine of slavery, the first Republicans consisted of those who were not politicians, but rather Protestants, factory workers, farmers, and those divinely inspired to eradicate involuntary servitude. President Abraham Lincoln walked a lonely and unpopular road in his quest to abolish slavery in our beloved nation—a controversy that historians attribute to his untimely death just 12 months after the birth of the Republican Party.
In looking back on unpopular “traitors” of the culture, we are reminded that standing up for what’s right is often a lonely path. It’s a path that we honor, not ridicule, our greatest leaders for taking. Through the isolated and difficult path, these movements remind us of what William Ernest Henley said more than one century ago: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
We are reminded that, for a time, lies often ring louder than the substance of truth. Yet, as William Cullen Bryant once said, “truth crushed to Earth shall rise again.”
Despite our culture’s reliance on tangible evidence, we can never see the invisible force responsible for shaping the reality in which we live: belief itself. Yet our unseen beliefs are what compel us, even drive us, to reshape what we can presently see into that once only envisioned. The Apostle Paul said it best: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”
To that end, it is incumbent upon us not to reach for what we can see, but to envision a better culture and society. With this faith, we must use every means at our disposal to manifest that unseen vision into tangible reality.
To the reader who ardently expressed her frustrations with the conservative cause in California, and to those who share her perspective, I say this:
If we are unwilling to stand up for the values we claim to strongly believe in, no matter how rejected they are by mainstream culture, it is only a matter of time before we find ourselves unwilling to stand up for other values we supposedly hold dear—our traditions, families, and dear loved ones. The moment we allow the challenges of life to drown out our willingness to fight is the very moment we begin to lose sight of what’s right.
To the concerned parents standing up against teachers empowered to teach our young children that gender identity is a choice: Keep fighting. To the unseen victims of vehicle theft unsatisfied with California’s refusal to impose real law and order: Don’t lose heart. To the small landlords unable to pay their mortgages because their tenants are empowered by law to remain in their properties “rent free”: Don’t stop fighting.
Lest we succumb to the culture empowering the problem, we cannot stop fighting for that which we know is right.
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Jonathan Madison

Jonathan Madison

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Jonathan Madison worked as professional policy staff for the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services. He regularly provides opinion on Fox Business Mornings With Maria and has appeared on the following networks and television shows: Saturday Night Live, KRON 4 News, NBC Bay Area News, and KTVU Channel 2 News. As chairman of the Alameda County Bar Association Real Estate Section, Jonathan leads a team of real estate attorneys in educating the County of Alameda in simple and complex legal matters. Beyond this, he leads a prison ministry at the San Francisco County Jail. He is lead attorney at The Madison Firm and can be reached via email at Jonathan@themadisonfirm.com.

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