Greetings fellow Conservatives! As you may already know, George Heidcamp, Town of Saugerties Conservative Party Chairman, and the Conservative Executive Committee, resigned their positions in 2008. At a meeting of the County Executive Committee this past December, I was appointed to the position of Conservative Party Chairman in Saugerties. While I did not seek this position I accepted it for several reasons. The purpose of this letter is to discuss the current state of affairs and to explain why I feel conservatism matters.
First, however, I would like to acknowledge and thank George Heidcamp for his leadership of the party these past years. George took up the cause and was active in promoting the party. As a consequence of some of his strong stands he often became a target of our political opponents and has taken more than a few arrows for the conservative cause. I want to thank George and his entire executive committee for a job well done.
I also want to acknowledge the contributions of former party chair Dorothy Dederick. Dottie was chairman when I first registered and her energy over the years is a testament to her devotion to conservative principles.
I would also like to thank you for registering as a conservative. It tells me that you have an abiding affection for this country and the principles on which it was founded. Far from the caricature of conservatives in the media today - portraying us as reactionary and ignorant, conservatism for me embodies the best of America. Conservative thought is forward looking, cautiously optimistic, respectful of our traditions and currently contains some of the best ideas on major public policy issues.
I have been asked what conservatism is and it’s a good question. There are many voices of conservative thought, from social to fiscal conservatives, libertarians, neoconservatives and so forth. For me, conservatism isn’t so much an ideology as it is an approach to life. I believe conservatives have a far healthier and more realistic understanding of human nature. We know man is not a perfect creature and no government on earth can make us so. A basic tenet of conservatism can be found in the proverb “ Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” This simple yet profound insight, I believe, found it’s most harmonious expression in the founding documents of our republic. Our system of self-government, while maintaining civil order, allows us the ability to reach our full potential as individual human beings. As conservatives we value self-reliance, individualism and hard work as some of the prerequisites to a healthy, functioning society. In the course of human history there has never been a system of government that allows mankind more freedom, dignity, and a chance to succeed than the one bequeathed to us by the founders. This is our heritage as Americans and something to be justly proud of.
The so called stimulus bill is now law. This act, along with many other actions the government has taken over the past year is an affront to the idea of self-government. The purpose of this latest legislation is not to stimulate the economy but to stimulate government. It points out, better than anything, the differences between our political opponents and us. They want to foster a culture of dependance. They want and encourage people to look to government for help, and in so doing they can aggrandize more power unto themselves. No one is saying that there isn’t a necessary and proper role for government, but, as Thomas Jefferson said over two hundred years ago, “a government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”
I hope you are as motivated as I am to correct what the liberal establishment is doing to this country. To me it’s reminiscent of the late seventies, a time where our elite lost faith in the abilities and resourcefulness of the American people.
More than ever this country needs to get back to basics and return to conservative values. The best way to do that is to offer common sense solutions to our many problems. I have accepted the chairmanship of the Conservative Party to promote those values and ideas in an ongoing public debate. It will only be with your support and feedback, that the Conservative Party of Saugerties will have a voice that will be heard loud and clear.
For your convenience a blog site has been set up as a forum for conservative thought and ideas at
http://www.coolcons.net/ Please visit and bookmark the site and watch for important news. You will be able to post comments on the articles that appear. I welcome and encourage feedback!
I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Please send me your email address so we can start building a mailing list. The next mailing will be a notice for an organizational meeting. Thanks for your interest.
MARK H. KNAUST