By Ann Kercheville, Shotgun Life
When we first opened Joshua Creek Ranch for hunting and sporting clays, I was very cautious about the terms used to describe our business, using words like “game preserve” and “harvesting game” to soften the impact on anyone who might be offended by wingshooting or deer hunting. When asked what kind of work I did, I preferred to lead with the fact that at JCR we shoot clay targets rather than jumping right in with the truth that the primary targets around here are birds and deer. The last thing I wanted was to be confronted by anti-gun or anti-hunting activists. Even when I was confronted, I’d listen politely, reply with something like “to each his own,” and escape the scene as quickly as I could. I always avoided situations that might erupt in confrontation if I started delivering volumes of facts and figures about the valuable effects of hunters on wildlife populations and their habitat, or about the positive impact on crime rates when citizens own guns. I was too kind, not wanting to offend anyone; after all, they had a right to their own opinion. I was one of many naïve people who thought that the freedoms we enjoy in America weren’t endangered and couldn’t possibly be lost, at least not in my lifetime.
It seems like overnight things changed and now I’m one of millions of Americans astounded by the rapid and radical advancement of socialism in our country. And like many people, I have been at a loss to know what I could personally do about it. I’ve always been “apolitical.” (Ever notice how that word starts out just like the word “apology?”) Yes, I voted, and always conservatively, or so I thought. But you’d never find a political sign in my yard or on my car. No, that might be offensive to someone in my realm of contacts, or worse, someone might confront me about my political preference. Well, in the last year, I’ve gotten over that for many good reasons, uppermost being the preservation of the freedom to make choices in pursuit of the American Dream.
My husband, Joe, and I have lived the American Dream. We’ve started two businesses that are alive and well after 23 years. We chose to work long days, skip vacations, invest our savings. We take great offense at the suggestion that we didn’t build these companies. Yes, we have benefitted from the infrastructure of roads, etc. that were built with taxpayer money, and yes, we’ve had extraordinarily dedicated employees along the way who have taken good care of our customers. But with the help of God, we’re the ones who risked our own hard-earned money to buy a ranch, clear it of brush, plant seeds and fertilize fields in hopes it would rain in time to make a crop. We’re the ones who sweated out how to make the payroll when cash was tight, we’re the ones who faced escalating insurance premiums because frivolous law suits were out of control, etc., etc. Our employees have done what they needed to do which was deliver extraordinary service to our customers while we did what we needed to do, which was provide the resources and commitment to continue the survival and even growth of our companies. We’ve worked hard, never given up when the going was tough, been fair with our customers and employees, and it’s paid off; we’re successful. We’re happy about what we’ve done and have felt rewarded by it. That is, until someone like the president of the United States comes along and tells us we didn’t build these businesses. And beyond that, tells us and others that we’re selfish, unpatriotic, and not paying our fair share in taxes. That kind of absurd untrue rhetoric along with deceit about gun running schemes, neglect of our country’s economy, adding trillions to the national debt, and endless buck-passing is more than enough to get my dander up and turn me from apolitical to activist.
My days and nights were already filled with daily management of a business (including the growing demand to meet new and expanding regulatory requirements) as well as planning for future development of ranch facilities and services. But somehow I’ve also made time in the past year to become an active advocate for the election of true conservatives in our government at every level. Together, my husband and I have become financial supporters of organizations and political candidates across the nation whose conservative values are tried and true. (Translation: endorsed by FreedomWorks.org) We are actively soliciting other supporters by hosting gatherings to introduce those organizations and candidates. We are proudly wearing our Romney/Ryan buttons and T-shirts while driving our SUV’s and pickup trucks displaying bumper stickers for our conservative candidates. The yard signs at the entrance of Joshua Creek Ranch create a near traffic hazard on our little country road, but nothing like the one caused by the gigantic electronic sign at Kercheville & Company on Interstate Hwy 10 at Loop 1604 in San Antonio. There Joe continuously streams messages from our Founding Fathers along with other conservative commentary. Of course, the internet is a favorite tool for sharing conservative speeches and articles with a vast email list. We’ve also taken our message to Colorado where we spend significant time in the summers. Even there the “Closet Conservatives” are coming out daily in support of a return to the principles established in our Constitution.
Our passion for restoring conservative values in government is delivering a whole new set of rewards to us. People we don’t even know go out of their way to support us with words of encouragement and gratitude for taking a stand. Others we know well have joined us in the efforts to make a difference in the 2012 Elections. We’ve made a wide circle of new friends whose dedication to preserving American freedom is as great as our own. And we’ve humbly gained a better understanding of the reasons for the commitment made by generations of Americans before us to protect and preserve the right to pursue the American Dream.
In these final weeks before the 2012 Elections the commitment of true patriots to take a stand is vital. The election of conservative leaders at every level of government is the only route for taking America back to its historic position of honor and strength among nations of the world…. America, the bastion of freedom and opportunity. I encourage you to be courageous, talk to your friends, relatives and co-workers about the importance of voting conservative on November 6th. Be generous in financially supporting the conservative organizations and candidates who will stay in the fight for preserving our constitutional rights. When you look in the mirror on the morning of November 7th, see the face of someone who did all they could to keep the American Dream alive beyond 2012.