Thursday, October 25, 2012

Avoiding Irrelevance

“The art of governing consists simply of being honest, exercising common sense, following principle, and doing what is right and just.” – Thomas Jefferson

We have made government complicated and in the process we have made it much larger, intrusive, and less effective by stretching, pushing, and forcing it into every nook and cranny of life.  In response to our wishes, politicians were all too eager to supply our budding addiction.  This is the path we blazed to our current situation.  We have an administration that rose to power by promising to make it all better and have provided many Americans the distraction they voted for.  Real solutions are not sought, for they may result in pain or sacrifice.  We prefer the comfort of throwing our hands in the air and putting our heads in the sand.  I see President Obama’s election and very possible reelection as the culmination of our nation’s current era of irresponsibility.  While a change in momentum seems to be in the works, the still irrational and unsettling closeness of this campaign makes me feel as though I am watching a car accident in slow motion and I am powerless to stop it.   How do you get people to look beyond themselves, beyond their inherently selfish desires?  How do you get people to reject the allure of being provided for in favor of having to earn their own way?  How do you get people to demand true leadership, when most do not know what it is or what it looks like?  How do you convince people that it is in their best interest to select the more difficult path of responsibility, and that a responsible life is true freedom?  And how do you get people to regain an appreciation for something they have taken for granted for so long?  The frustration for me is that I don’t know the answers to these questions and yet my country’s future depends on it.

“Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.” - John Adams

Nothing is as sad or absurd as self-induced pain.  By denying that this current administration has reached heights of corruption not previously seen while regularly exceeding and abusing its constitutionally limited power is to be complicit in the loss of your own relevance in our system of government.  The citizen voter is the seat of power and the broker of authority in the American republic.  To forsake this position is to dismiss the sacrifices of all that came before us and condemn those that will come after us.  We must remain the affirmation that the regular citizen is capable of self-government and able to persevere in the face of the unrelenting proposition to exchange liberties, freedoms, and accountability for the deception of a benevolent national caretaker.  Freedom is not always easy or fair, and it requires patience, logic, responsibility, and vigilance of those that wish to continue to enjoy it.  Self-rule is difficult for it demands a much higher level of understanding and awareness, while being ruled is easy as it is simply surrender to the will of others.  Self-determination is fragile and the ultimate prey of political power.  Only a people that acknowledge these truths, and are willing to resist the constant temptation of a life of dependence, will long retain the right of self-rule.  It is a shame so many are so anxious and willing to abandon the power of choice for the convenience of indifference.  True freedom does not care what you think you deserve, it only bestows that which you earn.

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry

Government is not to be trusted as it is driven by an insatiable hunger for power.  Government wants to rule, control is its very essence.  When government purposely misleads the country or obstructs the path to truth it justifies the citizen’s innate suspicions.  The hope of just representation is shattered by the realization that honest government is a rare and fleeting thing.  Deception as a means to a desired end is completely justifiable in the minds of most politicians.  The Obama administration has shown themselves disciples of this canon.  With two glaring examples of this transgression in less than four years in office, they have selected a dubious area in which to overachieve.  The Fast and Furious gun running fiasco and the Benghazi debacle are two politically untenable situations capable of inflicting tremendous damage to the carefully crafted image and sense of competence surrounding the president and his staff.  Their reaction to these tragedies speaks volumes about the character of our elected “leaders”.  To hide and distract are not actions associated with integrity.  This tactic does nothing but substantiate the natural assertion that a falsehood or culpability must exist or other courses would have been pursued.  The corrupt reputation associated with politicians is well deserved and this administration has exceeded all of its predecessors in this shameful category. So many foolishly convinced themselves he was different, he was better.  Actions speak louder than words, and different has manifested itself in the form of being worse.  We have seen an unprecedented dismissal of the US Constitution, a complete disregard of the rule of law, and an arrogance that has denied the American people and especially the families of five dead Americans the information and answers they deserve.  This administration has not been historic for the reasons so many hoped it would be.  While this president will be long remembered, it will not be as a great leader that took our nation to previously unknown heights, quite the opposite; it will be as the man that presided over the nation’s greatest systematic decline in its global prominence, national prowess, and legendary exceptionalism.

“I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” - Thomas Jefferson

It is truly sad that we have allowed ourselves to fall into a situation of such massive public debt.  We did not defeat the Soviet Union in combat, we vanquished them through the supremacy of our free market economy over their government controlled and restrained economy.  Prosperity was our key to victory.  Though it was not long ago, we seem to have forgotten it was our economic viability that that proved to be our Excalibur.  Now we have elected and very well may reelect a president that has amassed six trillion of a sixteen trillion dollar debt.  In less than four years his policies and ideology have created over sixty percent of what all other presidents combined accounted for.  In 2008 Obama railed against President George W. Bush about his unpatriotic, and up to that point unprecedented, accumulation of massive public debt.  Hypocrisy is a common thing in politics, but for this administration it is much more, it is their very foundation.  They are comfortable being a contradiction because only an aware electorate will notice and hold them accountable at the ballot box, while a dependent citizenry is a willing conspirator.  It seems the prudent course to exercise restraint with stinging critiques of massive government debt when you espouse a political ideology that relies on a large government bureaucracy and numerous public assistance and entitlement programs.  Creating government dependence is expensive, not only in terms of money spent, but also in ambition and prosperity lost.  This president feels no need to exercise the aforementioned restraint, he is emboldened by an increasing segment of our society that seems to believe the money will never run out and consequences will never have to be addressed.  Debt is such a great threat because it irresponsibility.  Irresponsibility is contagious and infectious, a growing cancer that spreads like wildfire.  If we are comfortable spending money we do not have, saddling our future generations with an increasingly unbearable burden and placing our financial solvency in the hands of other nations, it reveals a very dark realization – we no longer care.

“When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object.” – Patrick Henry

Being naïve, or even worse unaware, is not an excuse.  The last four years have been a methodical reduction of our once great nation.  We have been isolated from the true results of our irresponsibility by a government we elected to do so.  A life without consequences is not the dream many believe it to be.  For when you forsake the power of choice for the opportunity to claim the role of victim, there is no turning back.  Government doesn’t let go of power once it has wrenched it from hands of the governed.  Dramatic increases in food stamps, almost two years of unemployment benefits, countless mortgage and credit relief programs, and a general trend toward the acceptance of the idea that one’s fate is no longer a product of their own actions but shaped by powers beyond their control, have numbed us to the true situation at hand – we are collaborators in the demise of our birthright of self-determination.

“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” - James Madison, Federalist No. 58

The greatest hindrance to the current administration’s ideology and campaign is the attentive voter that believes and embraces the opportunity to be the master of their own fate.  I am middle class, educated, former military, non-envious, a supporter of the limited government envisioned and originally created by our founders, and a staunch advocate of personal responsibility.  I do not believe that it is the role of government to provide charity in any form, manage my retirement fund, or provide me health insurance now or when I am old.  I am tired of the incessant preaching about a misinterpretation of the American Dream and the inaccurate spin of a core belief in universal equality outside of liberty.  I believe our nation to be special because it is founded on the principle of individual determination, and I relish knowing that both the successes and failures of my life are products of my decisions.  I distrust the motives of government, but fully understand that government is necessary for a civilized state to exist, and believe that our democratic republic is government in its highest form of evolution.  I believe our nation’s improbable path to global superpower to be not just the culmination of a brilliant idea conceived and nurtured by a determined people, but also a sign of divine intervention.  I believe the world to be a better place because the United States is the most dominate nation on the planet, and while we are far from perfect that no one can hold a candle to us.  We are different, special, and exceptional.  We are wonderfully unique and deserving of praise and respect as we gained our prominence not through suppression of the masses, but through liberation of the individual.  We are the embodiment of man’s most natural civilized state, the world’s last and best hope of proving we are a species capable and worthy of the ultimate responsibility and blessing of free will.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An Obvious Choice

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” - Winston Churchill

As I see poll after poll consistently showing how close the 2012 Presidential Election is, I want to break into a rant about how incredibly irrational the American people have become.  This really isn’t a tough decision, and we shouldn’t try to make it one.  How can anyone chose to vote for a man that had no tangible record before being elected president, and has spent the last four years creating one of nothing but division, incompetence, inconsistency, arrogance, and pandering.  He is the very definition of a demagogue, and yet somehow he is still believed to be a superior selection by many to a man whose life is the very definition of success.  Instead of holding up Romney’s impressive record of achievement as a scarlet letter or badge of shame, perhaps we should appreciate it for the notable resume it creates and tap into it by electing him.  But no, instead close to half of the electorate seems determined to reelect the corrupt Chicago political machine’s favorite son.  A “leader” that has only succeeded in emboldening our enemies, making our allies doubt us, and moving us further away from the beliefs that made us the nation that the rest of the world looks to.  Though we live in an age where information is more readily available than at any other time in history, we have reached a level of oblivion that is unprecedented.  I understand that news is now so influenced by the media’s heavily liberal personal opinions and political ideology that it is closer to propaganda than straight facts, but the truth is still out there for those willing to simply pay attention.  Is it that we have become so apathetic that we no longer demand our leaders to be the best of us, or to even be leaders?  Is it that we have already traveled too far down the descending staircase and are simply no longer a special and discerning people?  Or is that we have become so self-absorbed and obsessed with trivial gadgets and the next big mindless thing that we no longer have the slightest clue as to what is truly important?  Where have our standards gone?  What happened to common sense, logic, and accountability?  Why are so many so gullible? 

“Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” – George Washington

For those with even a basic level of general awareness, President Obama’s time in office has been filled with contradiction and a total disregard for the duties and constraints of the office he holds.  What good reason could justify giving a man a second term that has wholly proven to be not just a poor president, but also a man that preaches and supports a repressive and dependent America?  Obama is a legend only in the minds of those that refuse to see the effects of his ideology, a legend not born of tangible results, but a façade bordering on the divine.  He was the recipient of an undeserving mandate, and the cult of Obama that was created in 2008 is apparently still alive and well.  He has cultivated an adoring following that heaps underserved devotion upon him.  He seems impervious to having to answer for his violations of the Constitution, his failed foreign policy of appeasement, and his blatant favoritism of political supporters and sympathizers.  Such things mere mortals would be held to task for.  Denial is a powerful thing, but it has been taken to new heights by his devotees that accept and regurgitate the ridiculous spin and fairy tales handed out by the Obama administration and his campaign.  It was naive to elect him the first time; it would be downright pathetic to reelect him.  Whatever the reason for the results of the 2008 election: angry with the Republicans, wanting to be part of something historic, or simply believing we could do no worse than the previous administration; we have been resoundingly shown that Obama was not the answer; he was a mistake.  The only good thing about a mistake is that you learn what not to do.  Only fools repeat mistakes and expect different results, so to repeat this mistake answers in the affirmative that we are we are no longer worthy of the responsibility demanded of the American citizen. 

“Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.” - Alexander Hamilton

We deserve only what we allow.  President Obama blatantly flaunts his contempt for the rule of law, the responsibilities of the office he holds, and the sanctity of our government’s structure and constraints.  He is completely comfortable choosing to be a guest on an afternoon talk show over meeting with his international counterparts during a time of rising global unrest.  Funny how a sitting president chooses campaigning over doing the job he is attempting to retain.  Wouldn’t being a good president be the best way to campaign for reelection?  Normally it would be, but apparently not for about forty-seven percent of American voters.  That kind of thinking would just be too logical, and that kind of behavior no longer applies.   He has the audacity to make the proclamation that a rapidly increasing $16 trillion debt is not a problem right now and that those that pay nearly half of all taxes are the ones that are not doing their fair share.  He feels no need to conceal his actions because our growing ignorance makes it easy.  When very few are paying attention, why expend the effort to hide the fact you are the most destructive president in the nation’s history.  Why did Obama look so unprepared for Wednesday night’s debate?  He didn’t feel the need to be.  And the fierce defense, some drifting into the area of absurdity, by his still ardent supporters reinforces his strategy.  President Obama and his campaign team understand and embrace the general ignorance of the people; while the Republicans continue to have an unfounded faith in the American people’s logic and common sense.  It is unfortunate, but the odds are always better when you bet on stupid.

“Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” - George Bernard Shaw

We are selecting the leader of the free world, and yet people are more interested and informed about the new IPhone than we are about the two candidates running. I guess it really isn’t all that surprising we are on the verge of reelecting the disaster of the last four years.  We have become a nation so thoroughly confused about our priorities that we may be beyond the point of salvation.  When we are better versed on the specifications of a smartphone or the statistics of our favorite NFL team than we are on the true records of the two men running to be President of the United States, a positive outcome is not likely.  We are the perfect patsy, ripe to be taken advantage as willing participants forsaking our birthright as the keepers of mankind’s most audacious experiment.  Every great civilization falls, and if we make the wrong decision future generations will point to this time and this election as the pivotal moment where we failed them and our legacy of exceptionalism was lost. 

“It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope and pride. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts.” - Patrick Henry

I would rather have a president that is a perceived elitist with a solid record of applicable experience and success, than have a president that claims to be “of the people” all the while never being held accountable and continuing to thrive on unearned affirmation.  We are angrier at someone who calls us out on our poor behavior than the one that takes advantage of it.  Honesty is sometimes hard to hear, but hear it we must.  The current used car salesman occupying the Oval Office tells you what you want to hear and smiles like he is doing what is in your best interests, the whole while he laughs at how easy it is to relieve you of your ambition and distract you from your duty to restrain the expansion of government power.  Regardless of how much he proclaims he understands you and wants to help you, his ideology will not allow it.  He believes government is the ultimate instrument of decision and the dictator of each person’s station in life.  The very ideas we rejected in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.  Self-determination and responsibility are the antithesis of President Obama’s political beliefs and the socialist society he is attempting to cultivate here.  If people believe they are the most influential force in their own lives and then own the results of their actions and decisions, the influence and perceived need of a government helping hand or safety net is eliminated.  The source of Obama’s appeal is cutoff and he is exposed as the peddler of dependence and mediocrity he truly is.  He is wrecking the magnificent creation that is the United States, and some unexplainably want to reward him for it.  In the past, success was celebrated and sought after; today it is vilified and discouraged.  In the past, we were the essence of exceptional; today we are on the verge of a mighty fall.  Our great nation is descending into the ranks of mediocrity with the exuberant support of many of its citizens.  It is unfortunate we seem to be losing the necessary mix of perseverance and defiance to remain the pinnacle human civilization.

 “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” - Abraham Lincoln