Jim Martin is an American hero. Since 1992, when he founded 60 Plus Association, Jim has led the effort to advance conservatism by mobilizing seniors to action.
I was honored to be asked to pay tribute to Jim at a 60 Plus Association dinner Thursday night honoring him for his unfailing commitment to freedom. It was a bit intimidating to share the stage with the likes of Pat Boone, Charlie Black, Morton Blackwell and Grover Norquist.
Here is what I said:
Earlier this evening I was talking to my 16 year-old daughter. When you are my age, realizing that you have a 16 year-old makes you feel really old… and then I walked into the dinner tonight – a 60 Plus dinner. I represent the -40 crowd.
Jim Martin and I share a few things in common– a deep-seated love of country, a commitment to the conservative cause, we were both journalism majors – I didn’t go as far as Jim, because I was a broadcast journalism major and they told me I had a face for radio. But most of all, we both love to play softball.
Now, Jim is a much more accomplished softball player than I am. He led his 55+ senior softball team to two consecutive appearances in the Senior World Series
Men’s softball, which is really the place where wannabe baseball players go to re-live the glory days, is a microcosm of politics.
In politics, just like in softball, if you stick to fundamentals – your principles – and you treat every election as if the future of the nation depended on it, you can succeed in staving off the onslaught of liberalism and the creeping intrusion of government control.
Jim Martin has been a part of each of the major victories of conservatism in the last 50 years – call them the “transformational elections” – most significantly 1980 and 1994.
And now, he stands in the middle of what could be another conservative transformational election as he leads America’s seniors in the pushback against the greatest threat to freedom they have faced since WWII – a leftist President enabled by liberal majorities in the House and Senate. Jim takes William F. Buckley’s lead in “standing athwart history, yelling Stop!”
And I’m confident that he will succeed, along with many others in this room, in stopping the threat come November.
There is something that will drive the left crazy as Jim takes them on – his unwavering optimism, and his constant smile. They hate it when he smiles – well and that he looks like one of their heroes, Ted Turner.
And that is Jim Martin’s secret – it’s what makes him a “happy warrior” – he’s optimistic and smiles…. Because he knows he is right.
Jim, you are a hero, not just as a decorated Marine, but because you have toiled in the vineyard for five decades. Your fight is not quite over – so let’s play ball!