Conservative Index Add

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019Last Update: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 10:21:15 AM

You Cant Get There from Here

By: Richard Engle

Many of my friends know that from time to time I drive with Uber. I do it mostly late at night on weekends so as to provide a safe, sober ride home for my neighbors. I will admit that I also steal stories from drunk people for use by characters in upcoming works of fiction.

Despite the grid pattern of major thoroughfares in central Oklahoma, sometimes I find myself in an unfamiliar neighborhood being given a destination that makes me want to reply, “You can’t get there from here.”

Of course, you always can get there. It’s just that sometimes the most direct route is surprisingly indirect. I have found myself wondering for more than a moment exactly how one would navigate an efficient route. Even with two GPS systems in my vehicle, it can take a while.

This is how I have come to feel about political activism. You really can’t get there from here.

Of course, one must be clear about where “here” is and where “there” is. Let me suggest that “here” is a woefully bloated government which lost all view of the Constitution in its rear view mirror decades ago.

“There” is a land of constitutional governance. “There” we hold firmly to the principle that the purpose of government is limited to securing our rights to life, liberty and property. “There” everyone would admit that when government does anything more (even really good things) it is tyranny, and “there” everyone avoids tyranny. “There” we have the rule of law. “There” we have an understanding that violating the “supreme law of the land” is a supreme violation of the law. “There” we treasure our liberty, and understand that our personal liberty ends only if and when it violates the life, liberty or property of another. “There” we agree that the powers delegated to the government came from the people, and thus the government doesn’t have any power the people didn’t have first. “There” we don’t have a private sector. We have a very small seldom considered government sector which has little to no impact on the economy or our daily lives. “There” does not exist. “There” is and always will be a utopia, literally.

Sir Thomas More wrote his novela, Utopia as a farce. He understood that a vision of a perfect society would never exist. In fact, the word “utopia” means “nowhere.” He also understood that we should strive for the best, most principled government we can envision. I often say, the only certain way of not hitting the bulls eye is to not aim for it.

My analysis was that the best way to get “there” was through the Republican Party. I will say that I still believe that the most direct route to “there” is and should be through the GOP. That said, there are three entities that are the Republican Party. There are the mass of voters who are registered or vote Republican, the elected officials who have an “R” beside their name, and the party structure. I speak of the structure. It can and should be an arm of the grassroots. It can control the nominating process of the party, securing that its nominees are held to the standards leading us toward “there.”

After decades of activism in the party structure, I have come to agree with the many politicians who freely state that the “Party doesn’t matter.” It neither helps nor impedes the nomination or election of its candidates. It does not and will not hold them accountable, nor will it be held accountable.

It is a fully corrupted entity. In Oklahoma that corruption is so very institutionalized that many Republicans think the corruption to be correct and good. They think the party should be a tool in the hands of the elected officials, even when they violate every plank of the platform. They think it a cheerleader rooting for the team with the same colors even when they run the wrong way down the field.

How is it corrupt? Let me count the ways. To simplify, let’s look at the process of activism in the party structure. You are supposed to go to precinct meetings and choose (elect) delegates to the county convention. Few counties have precinct meetings, and those who do almost never have them in the precinct. Even then the county leadership is most often given allowance to add names to the roster who were not chosen by their precinct. The attitude expressed is “the more, the merrier,” but we wouldn’t have that attitude in our Legislature. Imagine if the Governor said, “I know these people didn’t even run for the seat, and you won it fair and square, but I’m adding them anyway because the more the merrier.” You would rightly find that a gross violation of democratic principles, and you would say it is an effort to override the will of those who bothered to vote. Yet, we accept it in our party structure.

The same happens from the county to the state convention. Once the powers that be know who is coming, they can find sycophants to add to the roster and secure victory for themselves. It happens most of the time. Occasionally, they find themselves to be inept at their own corrupt endeavors.

Those “powers that be” in the state GOP are evading any real power. They work tirelessly to prevent the party from being anything more than meaningless. This keeps them in good with public officials who don’t want the party telling them what being Republican means and they certainly don’t want it to impose any standards based on the platform! It is possible that those politicians are bragging, rather than bemoaning, when they say the party is impudent.

Getting a large group of constitutional, liberty minded, limited government conservatives to get involved will not improve anything. Instead, it will show them that no matter the numbers, those who see the convention registration in advance can always add to the numbers in a way to overrun the properly elected delegates. Sadly, it is a futility to be active in the one institution with the most promise.

No matter how circuitous the route taken, those who wish to reform and reinvigorate the party structure will be shown yet another detour, leading to ever more delays in getting “there” or even to a place that could lead toward that destination.

This corrupt system is even worse in some states (Louisiana) and hardly exists in others (Utah), but it is pervasive across the country. I have joined the masses that have given up.

I have not, and will not, give up on my principles. I will redirect them toward public elections. Sadly, the state is less corrupt in how it operates and I find more opportunity for reform there.

About Richard Engle

Richard Engle is the author of the novel, The Last American President. Richard speaks and writes often on political matters. Richard can be reached at 405.640.9219 or

Other Articles By Richard Engle

No More Mr. GOP

Many years ago when I was still young enough to be a Young Republican, I served as State Chair of...

Abolition Making Victims into Criminals

In the recent GOP gubernatorial primary a premature retiree from the State House, Dan Fisher, ran a...

Schoolyard Bullies Want Your Lunch Money

In the recent GOP primaries and runoffs we heard much about teachers, apples, school kids and all...

A Few Modest Proposals

As candidates for office, from statewide to state house, search for votes, they might want an idea...

A Cornett However...

I was at an event and got stuck talking to a musician. I am not musically inclined, so to make conversation, I asked him about the difference between a trumpet and a cornet. Knowing me he responded, A Trump-ette is likely to be conservative, a Cornett however...

Our Dirty Little (Not So) Secret

Did anyone actually think the Devil would go about with horns and a dark suit tempting people with...

Republicans for Governor

Its early, but any serious candidate has, by now at least, made public their intent to run. The...

Other Constitution Columnists

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Summer 2019
Equality Act of 2019Elections have consequences. The midterms last fall brought Democrats into...

Tim Bakamjian

Hamilton Is Coming, But Im Not Going
Hamilton the smash-hit Broadway musical is coming to Oklahoma. A whopping 48 shows are scheduled...

Steve Byas

The Lesson of David Boren
I remember when David Boren first emerged on the political scene in Oklahoma, running a long-shot...

Linda Murphy

Oklahoma Citys LGBTQ+ Pride Alliance and K-12 Grade Students Curriculum
On June 19, the Oklahoma Gazette published their weekly edition with a beautiful rainbow on the...

John Michener

Governor Stitt, Repent With Us
Repentance: a complete change of direction that involves a conscious turning away from attitudes,...

David Deming

Why an OU Presidency Failed
David Boren was a hard act to follow. But James Galloglys appointment as President of the University...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Fiscal Year Gross Receipts to the State Treasury
Gross Receipts to the Treasury for both the month of June and Fiscal Year 2019 indicate ongoing...

Constitution Staff

EPIC Charter Schools Under Attack
This summer there was great attention focused on EPIC Charter Schools in Oklahoma. The mostly online...

Constitution Staff

Signature Gathering on Medicaid Initiative Petition Begins
On July 31, Oklahomans Decide Healthcare began gathering signatures on an initiative petition to...

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Legislature Vote to Diminish Columbus
Senate Bill 111, passed by the Oklahoma Legislature and was signed by the governor, is a great...

Constitution Staff

Legislators Rated
The Oklahoma Constitution presents the 41st annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating our state...

Constitution Columnists

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Summer 2019
Equality Act of 2019Elections have consequences. The midterms last fall brought Democrats into...

Tim Bakamjian

Hamilton Is Coming, But Im Not Going
Hamilton the smash-hit Broadway musical is coming to Oklahoma. A whopping 48 shows are scheduled...

Steve Byas

The Lesson of David Boren
I remember when David Boren first emerged on the political scene in Oklahoma, running a long-shot...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.