11 May 2014 ~ 6 Comments

the call

A little over a year ago, I heard murmuring about a guy named Greg Brannon who was going to run for U.S. Senate in North Carolina. A bunch of the Liberty activists I knew were pretty excited about him.

I met him first at the NC GOP Convention last spring, where he spoke passionately about restoring government to its original Constitutional intent, not utilizing the law to punish or reward one class of society over another, but rather applying it to protect the liberties of the individual. (Incidentally, this libertarian notion of not hurting other people and not taking their stuff sometimes gets called “extreme right wing” by the establishment in both parties—that’s right, the political class who loves wielding the power of government to hurt people and take their stuff.)

As I grow in Christ, I find dangerous where the state tries to fulfill the role Christ gave to the church. It is troubling to watch a coercive force try to establish “fairness” through redistribution rather than free markets. Through the lens of history, it is axiomatic that socialism leads to poverty, whereas freedom leads to prosperity.

Anyhow, Greg was not part of the political class, but an ob/gyn who had spent the last five years studying the Federalist Papers and founding documents, growing in conviction that he would pass on to his posterity a less free America than the one he was born into. This is a bona fide statesman in the mold of Samuel Adams, I thought. And at the state convention he was asking folks to host house parties and come bring their friends out to meet him. A liberty U.S. Senate candidate in my house? Oh yeah!

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And the only picture I got with Greg was focused perfectly on my kitchen cabinets.

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As the months of the campaign unfolded, I discovered that the Brannon family also homeschools, and later that they use the same curriculum we do! His family adopted 3 children from China, and just last week I heard that he attends a Reformed Baptist church! Crazy, the connections we had with his family from the outset!

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During the campaign, I actually had a dream one night that he was elected a U.S. Senator and called me up to be some kind of economic policy advisor for him in Washington. I woke up unsure if it was a good dream or a nightmare to relocate to the District of Criminals. I thought, the Brannon family isn’t totally like the Gjertsens, in that they feel called to restore and reform that mess that is the culture of Washington, while I am most of the time content to try to ignore it.

While I didn’t actually get that call, I did get a call from their campaign to check out an office space in downtown New Bern for a regional headquarters. Sure, I can do that. The next day: could you pick up the keys from the landlord. Absolutely. After the grand opening, who should I give the keys to? John, we think you should hold on to them.

Like Bilbo Baggins was swept out of the Shire by a crew of dwarven strangers to fulfill a dragon-killing quest, I was thrust somewhat unaccountably into a crew of activists statewide busting their butts to pull off a grassroots victory. There were Pattie and Pat in Winston Salem, who I believe may have worked harder than any of us. Donna in Raleigh. Jay in Wilmington. Vallee in Charlotte. Many other activists statewide I’m forgetting.

I became John in New Bern.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t just vote for a candidate and tell my friends about him. I made cold calls. I distributed flyers and posted yard signs. I gave money on more than one occasion. I wore a button everywhere I went in public. I created memes and shared them on Facebook. I took a vacation day to work the polls and witnessed how many people were content to just ask me how they should vote. Anyhow, fast forward to last Tuesday. In a crowded primary of eight candidates, Greg came in a very respectable second, with the crony capitalist, pay-to-play establishment favorite bankrolled by progressive lobbyists winning the primary.

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Sigh.

It’s hard to imagine a worse candidate to represent the Republican Party in the fall. Big Government Right vs. Big Government Left. Oh well.

I can’t say it was unexpected. When you’re a Ron Paul Republican, you get used to seeing people buying the storyline about the left vs. right that the media feeds them, unaware of the Constitutional crisis we’re in, preferring instead what Samuel Adams called “the tranquility of servitude” over the “animating contest of freedom.”

When Greg set out to win a Senate seat five years ago, I’m sure he never considered it to be an easy task. He did it because he felt God calling him to run. He did it as a servant citizen who loved the cause of liberty more than his own comfort. In his first foray into politics, Greg Brannon did not win. He was obedient, but he didn’t get the outcome he was hoping for.

In our first attempt at rescuing frozen embryos, we did not get to see our baby grow or hold him/her. We were obedient, yet the unfinished calling remains in our hearts. Next week, we try again (please pray for us).

And I suspect a man of Greg’s character does not view his first election defeat as the end of a calling, either. Whenever he decides to run again, this hobbit will be better prepared to join him on the journey.

Filed under: Liberty

6 Responses to “the call”

  1. Pat Kleinmaier 11 May 2014 at 11:31 pm Permalink

    Oh John, We share so much of the same feelings about Dr Brannon. Pattie Curran and I heard him speak at the honor your oath rally in Jan 2013 when the new legislature took power in Raleigh. We could talk of nothing else all the way back to Winston-Salem. By the time we got home we had planned a big tax day rally for April 15th and she was going to call him the minute she got home. He honored us by saying yes to our idea. We had no location, no one else to speak but we had Dr Brannon. Fast forward to July and Pattie hosts a house party for him. I sat beside him and listened to him speak of things I had only dreamed of hearing from a politician and felt so empowered by his speaking that I grabbed my check book and wrote him a check there on the spot. His words inspired me to toss my hat in the ring for the WS city council in a ward that is 6-1 democratic. Did I win… well heck no but the campaign bug got me full force and when Pattie asked me to be a neighborhood coordinator I jumped at the chance. I had no idea that would require a 4 month commitment of going to our little office each day and finding volunteers, setting up phone banks and walk lists, writing personal letters to the people we spoke with on the phone, more opening of the check book for stamps and supplies and donations. Working in Harris’ hometown was a challenge in itself as most of the really good Rep women volunteers were all supporting the opposition and they turned on us Brannonites like rapid dogs not to mention the treatment we received from our own Tea Party groups. But we worked and worked and spent days at the polls first in the rain and then in the 90degree sun. I wouldn’t change a minute. I love Dr Brannon and his family and already know I will work just as hard or harder the next time. I love this country and don’t want it to go down the path of socialism. At 65 I don’t have a lot of time to turn things around and leave a better place for my grandkids. I will pray for your family and know that this time you will be blessed.

  2. Cindy Godwin 11 May 2014 at 11:31 pm Permalink

    This is a wonderful reflection of everything he spoke on and how the people who supported him truly felt. I am so sad that Tillis got the nomination but it is what it is. I pray he will try to go after Burrs seat and now that he has some serious name recognition he should win the nomination.

  3. valleebubak 12 May 2014 at 1:17 am Permalink

    Thank you, John, for this beautiful write-up of our shared experience. This was a big journey to be a part of and I believe that God’ Kingdom was blessed even though we didn’t see victory in man’s sense — the votes. We never know all the reasons we are put into a situation, but I can reflect and see how friendships blossomed, God’s love was shared and discussed, we learned more about the role of government, and we also learned who we could not trust.

    We had many heartbreaks through this journey with people — and even friends — rejecting us because we didn’t go along with the status quo or their agendas. Those people who disappointed us also helped us to know them better and the “system” so that we would not be fooled at a later time when perhaps the consequences are even greater.

    Like John, I’m grateful to the Brannon’s and to the call that God gave Greg. Even though I am sad and feel beaten down after losing, plus fearing six years of Tillis or Hagan, I am wiser and blessed for the experience. I hope others will join me in praying for our country and to remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”

    What we see as failure, could be success to God. I pray for myself and others that we will seek God’s Word, His knowledge and peace as we heal and move from sadness to joy.

  4. Diane Hamersley 12 May 2014 at 2:02 pm Permalink

    Great story and great involvement. We will be praying for your procedure’s success. Blessings, Diane

  5. S 21 May 2014 at 4:29 pm Permalink

    Man, I’ve lived in DC for over a decade now, how did I get this far without realizing it was really the District of Criminals? Maybe I’m actually one too, and just didn’t know?!?!

    I’m obviously being facetious, but please know that the District of Columbia is home to many law-abiding, patriotic, productive members of society and you do a disservice to all of those tax-paying yet disenfranchised citizens (Maybe they won’t let us have a senator because we’re all criminals? We could be on to something here!) and to your own argument when you engage in ad-hominem, name-calling attacks. Also, just to be a snotty Washington elitist, here’s a pro tip: most people around here actually identify the federal government, National Mall, etc. as being Washington, while the real city, with real people living and working there, is the district. But hey, implying that I’m a criminal because of where I live (and around here, you can be a “criminal” or have an insane commute; I’ll take being a “criminal” and getting more time with my family), is a great way to convince me that you have cogent, rational arguments for your cause.

    • John 21 May 2014 at 8:10 pm Permalink

      haha… of course not everyone living in D.C. is a criminal. The nickname is earned as a result of the political class which largely exists to line its own pockets and the pockets of whatever industries and lobbyists can do or owe them favors. And not even every politician is self-serving in this way, just a whole lot of them. Certainly didn’t mean to imply the whole city was made up of evildoers.


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