Michael Steele got an enthusiastic welcome, and he didn’t disappoint. He joked about having endured the Democratic convention in Denver, saying that he had just come down from Mount Olympus to travel to Minneapolis. However, he took a serious turn within moments, discussing the decision to pre-empt the convention for service during Hurricane Gustav.
Steele quickly turned to Sarah Palin, saying “I know Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a friend of mine. You don’t want to mess with Sarah Palin.” He talked about the “relentless assault” on Palin, and equated them to the relentless assault on the values shared by the people at this conference. It reveals the hostility among the congnescenti to the ideas that most Americans hold sacred.
Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, Steele said, but don’t forget to render unto God what is His. Gathering in these forums allows us to gain strength for the kind of battles we face in this environment. But we have to be prepared to engage that battle. He pointed to the banner behind him and pointed out the word action. It doesn’t say. “FRC go-and-party”.
“Are you prepared to go back home and do something, fight for something? If not … you’re bringing the rest of us down.” We need, Steele says, people of principle who understand fundamentally what’s at stake. How children are educated, how people start new businesses, how we run our communities starts with people who are prepared to show leadership in their communities.
The story of Sarah Palin, Steele says, shows the power of this commitment. She took up the call to action, and look where it has led. He ripped Charles Gibson for attacking Palin in a way he never would have done with Barack Obama, but she held up well nonetheless. She has proven herself in her community already. “She shoots moose,” Steele joked, “and what do you think she’s going to do to a donkey?”
The only way to effect change is to follow Palin’s example. Think about the kind of change you want to make — and then stop thinking about it and do it.