A pure strain DNA Clear Creek Gambusia. One the most endangered species in Texas. (Matt Briscoe)

My dad might would have said “it’s just a damn fish,” or something like that if you were to mention the Clear Creek Gambusia to him and the conservation efforts surrounding them. But deep down he really did care, and in his fiercely Republican heart he knew that God had put those tiny fish there for a reason and he knew that we had a responsibility to protect them. It boiled down to just being practical.

But I didn’t come here today to talk to you about the Clear Creek Gambusia and how I think we ought to try our best to save the minnow from extinction. I came here to talk with you about my thoughts on social responsibility.

You see, I am very lucky to be able to take my stepson with me on some basic assignments. He has gotten to learn civics first hand from State Senators, learn about conservation from Federal Wildlife managers, history from real historians and pick up plenty of other little interesting gems along the way through our journeys together. I am a big believer that social responsibility starts at home. I know to most conservatives, those two words stink in their noses. But as President George W. Bush once said “social compassion grows social responsibility.”

Matt’s Stepson with Federal Wildlife Manager Scott Walker tending to some Texas Fatmuckets. (Matt Briscoe)

You see it is up to each of us to do our part at home, at work and at play to spread this idea of social responsibility. As a Latter-Day Saint, I see first hand how you can help people with socially raised funds and still respect the persons dignity, pride and sense of self worth. My religious beliefs speak of and act upon the very principals of being a “Compassionate Conservative,” and in the end seeing it work is more than satisfying.

Now I would not vote for Bernie Sanders if my life depended on it. But I would not vote for Trump either. Given the choice, I would just leave the blame with everybody else. But let me tell you this, being a Compassionate Conservative is probably what this country could use a little bit more of. Maybe a little less Trump and Bernie and a bit more Reagan and JFK. Then, if we do that, maybe just maybe we can make a move to Make America Great Again.

Social Responsibility starts at home. Maybe we have a conversation that homosexuals are not bad and that an abortion is a choice that you make—just like the act of making the baby in the first place. Religiously, I believe that it all boils down to something that in my faith we call “Agency.” For those outside of my faith, it is simply a choice.

Caring for the environment means teaching responsible practices at home and living them each and every single day. Same way with things like humanities, civics and justice. You practice it at home FIRST.

It is not such a hard concept to think about but if we all use our own conscience and start thinking “all for one and one for all,” and less “hard headed Americanism” we might actually have a decent Conservative base again. Now, I know what you are thinking—this sorry sack of trash is a RINO. I’m not—I am a Compassionate Conservative.

Think about that one.