Salute to AMAC in Disorienting Times!
By Robert B. Charles March 7, 2019
Breezy times these! Even in these turbulent, disorienting times, we are rightly proud of kids and grandkids, town and nation, ideals and affiliations, even organizations. It may be worth a pause, to be proud of this organization, AMAC. Periodically, a sober look backwards is warranted, proves heartening – on the numbers.
Today, as America contends with a hard gale – i.e. senseless but impassioned promotors of socialism, radical environmentalists, ignorance of basic economic principles, rabid anti-traditionalists, indifference to national debt, misunderstanding of free speech and religious liberty, open borders, sanctuary cities, national security newbies in Congress– AMAC leans into that wind, not away from it.
We live in a curious and testing time for our country, which requires both action and reflection. This moment is one where reasoned argument – based on American history, market economics, limited government, and fidelity to the US Constitution– is often forgotten. Or in some cases, it is never learned.
Still, these cornerstone values are vital. Individual Americans have historically spoken up to defend individual liberties, opportunities for prosperity, and national security. Veterans, hard-working families, and especially older Americans remember that speaking is important. The lessons of history, including defense of responsibility, accountability and truth, matter. If leaders are not reminded, they repeat history’s mistakes.
In this vein, organizations like AMAC matter. Here is at look at what AMAC – an organization dedicated to speaking truth, defending traditional values, filling gaps in understanding, advocating for older Americans, for the equities of veterans, fiscal responsibility, moral compass, and true history – has done. Actually, here is a snapshot of what their members have done.
You have heard about Washington’s pitched battles, where politics often triumph over principle, where voices in the wilderness– vox clamantis in deserto – are shouted down, drowned out by the powerful. AMAC has stood in opposition to this gale, forcefully leaned into it, and amplified voices otherwise unheard.
Known to many, the group is a thinking advocate for older Americans and values that demographic holds in common, from constitutional and security prerogatives to reduced drug costs and debt reduction, policy proscriptions to constitutional fealty. Of course, AMAC has a national presence, offering benefits, maintaining a non-partisan delegate program, holding conferences, and conducting invaluable issue advocacy in Washington.
Centered on education, guided by American history, propelled by a million-and-a-half members, AMAC’s website, newsletters and The AMAC Magazine continue to rise in the public eye. Still, what you do not see is sometimes more powerful than what you see. Put differently, less visible elements are often the most important. That is arguably the case, with AMAC.
While the organization is lauded for defending older Americans, offering material benefits and analysis of the world, that is not all they do. They have strong day-to-day operations, getting things done with method and direction, compass and commitment, often with much less attention.
What are the metrics? The measures that show value, not just to members, delegates, and those who appreciate AMAC’s mission and history – but more broadly? What are numbers that illustrate impact in a world of puff, imprecision, discontinuity and posturing? What does AMAC do beyond serving members, research, writing, offering benefits, making understandable the insensible world?
Well, here are metrics that tell a story. With regular focus on understanding institutions and processes that make America work, emphasis on history, individual liberty and equal opportunity (not outcome), AMAC has been engaged in shaping America’s future – and making it one to be proud of.
Over the past eight years, AMAC’s membership has soared, as this principle-based senior citizens’ group offered insight and advocacy to those who need it – at every level of government. By example, AMAC has dedicated roughly 15,000 hours to analyzing information on policies contemplated and pursued in Washington.
AMAC has held more than 1,000 meetings with public representatives over three years to explain the views of older Americans. They have helped shape public attitudes, legislation and regulation, prevented bad things from happening, helped good ones take wing.
They have collected ideas from around the country, held more than 80 conference-style meetings in dozens of states, led by those who care about America’s future. They have parsed issues, placed them in perspective, guided legislative thinking, and carried the torch of patriotism, historical grounding and responsible leadership forward.
Some will say – fine. That is what America is about, what we should expect of each other and ourselves, whether embodied in an organization that values America’s past, or exercising civic commitment as individuals. They are right of course. That is who we are, at our best.
Some will ask: What is so exceptional about sustained, principled, thoughtful civic engagement? The answer is nothing should be – except that too many Americans are forgetting. They are forgetting that America’s greatness is built on that sort of commitment – to civic engagement. AMAC members are not forgetting.
Now and then, it is just worth pausing – taking stock of the “good fight,” still engaged by everyday American citizens and an organization. We live in a hard gale, swift and twisting, wild and divisive winds, a hurricane of sorts – one in which things thought long immovable, sound and tied down, are being loosed, ripped up, thrown away. In such a wind, even good people become disoriented.
AMAC members are not unique, but they are on bearing. Into this whipping wind they lean with purpose, passion and energy. They know there are principles, policies, people and parts of American history worth being proud of. They know there are things worth fighting vigorously for.
In a phrase they know, as Winston Churchill wrote: “Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it.” So through this blustery wind, raise a salute to AMAC members – for holding course. Breezy times these!
[HFL Editor is an AMAC member and a AMAC Delegate to AZ CD 08]