Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Stuff of Nightmares.

It is the stuff of nightmares.

I’m standing outside my own home, my wife and children are huddled alongside me, and my precious baby granddaughter is asleep in the arms of my eldest.

I am peering through the window, and in the house - my house - are faceless thieves. They are methodically stealing everything I have worked for in life – stuffing it into a sack that is bottomless and seemingly able to hold anything they are capable of lifting. I don’t know why, but I am powerless to stop them, frozen in place and mute.

All my life I thought that I was protected from this. I thought that what I was witnessing was impossible; after all, I worked hard, I saved, I was a good citizen, charitable and community-minded. I was, along with my neighbors, my fellow Americans, enjoying the bounty of a carefully planted and nurtured garden. What did I do wrong?

This wasn’t supposed to be happening. There were locks on the doors, defenses in place. There was a magical document (I had seen it!) which guaranteed that what I was witnessing could never, ever happen in this country. My father, and countless other fathers, sons, brothers and loved ones, fought to defend that document, and far too many paid the ultimate price to ensure its safety for all future generations.

They didn’t want to die, but they did. For a few lines of ink on an old piece of paper.

I'm confused. I don’t understand why the ones who are supposed to be protecting me from this crime are instead standing guard at the door, so that I cannot stop the looting, stop the destruction. I chose those protectors, and I pay them – very well. They are supposed to look out for us, especially for my grandchild, so vulnerable, so trusting, and with her entire life ahead of her. Her name is Emma, and she sleeps on, blissfully, with no idea that I am watching them steal her future.

What will Emma have if they take everything?

I realized as I watched in stupefied horror that they are snatching up all the things that made the house my house. Little by little, into that cursed sack has gone the precious freedoms that made me unique, that made me an individual before the eyes of God and man, the freedoms that guaranteed that I could take care of my family – I, not the thieves – to the best of my abilities, the freedoms that guaranteed me the right to make my own choices in life, according to the dictates of my values and my conscience.

In stunned silence, I watch them as they substitute their cheap, ugly and degrading ideas for mine. As they work, they mumble about my "greed."

After a while, I cannot recognize my house – oh, the foundation is still there, but it’s cracked and all manner of damp mold is forming. The frame is racked and worm-holed, the roof leaks, the plumbing's rusted, the wiring frayed and dangerous.

It has become ugly. There is no secure life there anymore. There is no presence of God; no grace.

The house, once so strong and safe, is now vulnerable. Unlocked as it is, vagrants wander in and out, gleefully stealing what they can. The protectors tell me that these strangers, the ones who had no part in building the house or working to make it what it was, have as much right to be there, to help themselves to the fruits of my labor, as does the peacefully-sleeping child in the arms of my son.

I wonder when I will wake up. I will wake up, won't I? This is, after all, just a nightmare.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michael McMahon's Time for Choosing...

Sooner, rather than later, there will be a bill before Congress that addresses health insurance reform in the United States, and when it happens, it will be Congressman McMahon's time for choosing.

If he utters the word "YEA" on any of the bills now before the various committees, it will be the Congressman's way of telling us that he supports his party's thinly-veiled contention that the age of rugged individualism is dead. His yes vote will indicate his belief that the Age of Statism has come, because, grown fat and lazy both physically and intellectually, the American voter is less concerned with hewing his own path to success and prosperity than he is with being led down the gently-sloping paved road created by his federal government, replete, as it is, with low-hanging fruit to be effortlessly plucked from trees planted by stealing the labor of others.

This is not the excuse that will be given, of course, but make no mistake, it is the underlying truth. We will be told that the cost of doing nothing is greater than the trillion-dollar cost of another government boondoggle - oddly enough, however, no free-market solutions will be entertained. To the current administration, the only road to problem-solving runs through Central Planning City, loops around Entitlement Town and terminates at Dependency Depot.

All Congressmen wear two hats; that is understood. And when it comes to delivering the requisite tonnage of pork to his district, Congressman McMahon pulls into Staten Island driving a fully-loaded semi with admirable regularity. Bringing home the bacon requires skills, to be sure, but little tough decision-making.

However, when the Congressman dons his other cap, he becomes a legislator voting on issues that affect not only every individual in his district, but every individual in the country. It is then that a choice must be made; whether he will vote to uphold the liberties endowed by our Creator and guaranteed to us by our Constitution, or whether he will vote for the marginalization of those rights, and that document, by the moral busybodies of the left - who wish to substitute their best judgment for our own. There really is no middle ground.

The country is more divided now than it has ever been in my lifetime, and that includes the era of the Vietnam War. This great rift has not occurred because the Right has moved further right - Conservatives want what they have always wanted, to be left alone to earn for themselves and their posterity the best life possible, and to enjoy the freedoms that our Constitution was created to protect.

And as always, Conservatives continue to believe that capitalism is the single most moral political and cultural system in the history of the world, allowing, as it does, for the possibility that the individual who is the least among us can to soar to unimaginable heights - an opportunity no other system could have afforded him.

The Left, however, is a different story. This chasm between us has become immeasurably vast because the Left has drifted so far from our founding principles that it has rendered Democrats unrecognizable. They are clearly no longer a party that believes in the liberty of the individual; they have become naked collectivists and re-distributionists - indeed, such ideas were enshrined by our current President in his college thesis.

Liberalism is beginning to reek with the stench of the oppressor, and it tries to cover it by bathing in the sweet-smelling perfume of government handouts. It requires no great leap of imagination to see this for what it is - a systematic approach to creating a permanent underclass, so dependent upon government largess that they will unthinkingly supply enough votes to keep Leftists in power for generations to come.

So a simple "NAY" vote by our Congressman will not do; not if it is based on some minor funding technicality, or other innocuous and transparent bit of cover.

What it is necessary is a resounding repudiation of the underlying philosophy.

Congressman McMahon is now charged with taking a real stand. Will he vote to uphold our Constitution and protect the liberty of the individual men and women who made this country great and strong? Or will he vote to give it up to the collectivists?

Will he have the courage to demand free-market solutions, or will he vote to continue the headlong rush into American decline? The 13th Congressional District of New York waits and wonders.

Time to check the moral compass, Congressman McMahon, and let us know in which direction it is pointing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

"I'd like to go somewhere where I can be free..."

"I’d like to go somewhere where I can be free."

That’s what I said to my wife this morning at the kitchen table, after hearing the news that the New York City Council passed a law banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

I’m much more sensitive to that kind of thing now – this willy-nilly diminishment of my freedoms - and that’s what’s really at the heart of the Tea Party movement; a last-minute, almost desperate attempt to protect what’s left of our individual liberties. I guess, in our hearts, we know this is going to be an uphill battle, because the barbarians are not only at the gates – they're inside the fortress walls.

In a sense, we owe Barack Obama and his administration a debt of gratitude. The chip, chip, chipping away of our individual liberties had been going on for quite some time - we just slept through it. Because of their ham-handedness, though, we’re awake now; maybe even in time to do something about it.

Sneak thieves in the night, camouflaged as our elected representatives, have been stealing our liberties while we slumbered, filching a little independence here, a little autonomy there – hey, after a while it adds up. But here comes the Obama administration, stumbling and bumbling and crashing around like the novices that they are, grabbing everything in sight, stuffing it into their sacks, and making no attempt to be the least bit quiet about it.

Now, the rule is if you don’t make a lot of noise, and you only take the small stuff, I’m probably gonna keep sleeping. However, when you’re clumping around like a bunch of asses wearing cement shoes, trying to stuff the baby grand into a pillowcase, or the triple-dresser into a tall kitchen can bag, I’m pretty sure I’m going to sit up and take notice. Probably even raise an alarm. Call the cops.

It’s when the cops turn out to be the thieves that you know you’re in big trouble.

So, what’s the upshot of all this? And why the big fuss over flavored tobacco products? I don’t use them, and frankly don’t know who does – though the law is ostensibly on the books to protect children. I guess, when the synapses in my brain (aided by my morning coffee) really started firing, I came to understand that the City Council had decided that I couldn’t do a proper job teaching my children about the dangers of tobacco products – at least not to their satisfaction. So they took that right away from me and assumed it for themselves.

Along the way, they trampled the rights of the smokers who might have used and enjoyed the products, the retailers who sold the products, and, in essence, they mandated lower revenues for the companies that produce the products. Additionally, it’s not too great a leap to imagine that down the line this will lead to some measure of increased unemployment. But what chance do these “rights” have when there’s social engineering to be done?

If you’re reading this I’m pretty sure you’re not sleeping anymore, though you may still be sitting up in bed rubbing your eyes – probably in disbelief. And maybe, like me, your first reaction is to want to pack up and go to that mythical place – that place where we can be really free again. But, sadly, that place doesn't exist. In a famous speech, Ronald Reagan related this story:
“Not too long ago two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are! I had someplace to escape to."
In that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

That speech was delivered on October 27, 1964, 45 years ago next week, on behalf of Barry Goldwater. It is perhaps the most famous of his speeches, certainly one of his most beloved. The title given to those remarks is A Time for Choosing; how much more prescient that speech could have been I cannot imagine.

It is, indeed, a time for choosing in America, because I believe that very shortly, meaningful “choice” in the manner in which we are governed might well disappear.

So we, the Tea Party movement, suffer the ridicule of our more “enlightened” friends and neighbors. We are routinely insulted, mocked, denigrated, vilified and marginalized as a fringe group. Did you ever imagine that people who believe in the Constitution of the United States, and the individual liberties it guarantees, are now a “fringe” organization?

But still we do it, and if you ask yourself why, the same great man can provide the explanation:
"You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here.

We did all that could be done.”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You're In the Army Now.

Maybe you’ve already served, and thought you were done. You’re not.

Or maybe, like me, you were caught up in traveling life’s highway and took America for granted, believing that the United States was the greatest country in the world and always would be - with or without our help. America didn't need us to do any fighting...

Well, guess what? We’ve been conscripted.

Think about how your personal world – and your country – has been flipped on its head in the last eighteen months or so, starting around the time you realized that Barack Obama could indeed become the Democratic nominee, and hence, might very well assume the helm of the ship of state - the most powerful state in the history of mankind. I suspect that the term for what you felt is “icy shivers.”

It was the stuff of political potboilers: "Our government falls under the control of nefarious characters - bent upon the destruction of the Constitution and the moral tenets that made us great..." This might be the subject of a “gripping” Cold War-era novel, but any such plot rooted in these constructs was purely fictional and always would be. That's what we believed, anyway.

So we slumbered. And worked. And raised kids. And shook our heads in wonderment as one-by-one, the institutions, morals and values with which we were raised became corrupted and politically incorrect.

“My, my, are they allowed to say that on television? Are they allowed to show that in a movie? I can’t say what without offending anyone? Am I really a racist, a xenophobe, a homophobe, unenlightened, misogynistic, uncaring, selfish and condescending? I hadn’t realized…”

While we slept, they crept. While we were engaged in out-of-hand dismissals of their attacks on the innate goodness of our country and political system, or watching the “counterculture revolution” happen from afar with bemused smiles, they worked insidiously and studiously to change our world. We accommodated them by staying busy with just plain making a living, and naively handed over our most precious legacy – our children – to their influence and instruction.

So now we find ourselves under the control of statists, socialists, a few communists, some failed 60’s revolutionaries, radical academics, revisionists, race-baiters and entitlement agitators. And that’s just in the White House.

Congress is really bad, because to all those characters listed above you must add another group: cowards. Lord knows there are plenty of those on Capitol Hill.

At the head of this motley collection sits a man with no qualifications for the job he holds – actually, he wasn’t even qualified for his previous job, and only barely so for the one before that, which was, as Mark Levin calls it, as a back-bencher in the State Senate of Illinois.

He came to office with no accomplishments other than a solid radical upbringing, nurtured by mentors and friends for whom the destruction of the United States was a consummation devoutly to be wished. And devoutly is the way he is following the script.

The time-honored premise that the government which governs least governs best has been shredded in less than a full year. In choosing to believe that human self-interest is greed, our President feels justified in subjecting such self-interest to a test: does it benefit the greater good? That such a philosophy will inevitably lead to a diminishment of personal freedoms and a country ruled by political elites does not concern him. Indeed, it is the goal.

These radicals, who have hijacked the Democratic Party, have already started to put in place the mechanisms by which they will perpetuate their power, including slowly but surely dismantling the guarantees of liberty Americans have taken for granted for more than 200 years. To get their way they will legislate if they can, but if they cannot they will regulate, tax, harass, restrict and intimidate.

They will expand the single, ever-growing constituency that will insure their elections in perpetuity: the entitlement class; the slaves that are beholding to the federal government for their food and shelter, insuring a permanent underclass that will go to the polls as instructed and vote for he or she who will provide their next meal.

Worse still, they will defend their actions by couching them in moral terms. C.S. Lewis said:
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
To get their way they will spin the judiciary, ignore the Constitution, and make great use of the mainstream media to convince the people that their goals are lofty, enlightened and necessary.

They will demonize the right and try to control or silence its voices.

They will engage in census shenanigans – in full view of the American public – to re-shape electoral boundaries in a way that will ensure their party’s continued electoral dominance.

They will hammer away at the second amendment and completely bury the tenth.

They will try to create a two-party system in name only, with the Republicans merely providing a convenient cover for their one-party rule.

They will continue to use our own freedoms against us. Inherent in a democracy is the right to dissent, and within that right fulminates the cancer that gave rise to current Administration. Indeed, the free Americans they wish to subjugate are, in many cases, actually trumpeting the rights of the destroyers to do so.

We have met and defeated foreign enemies, and American blood has been spilled for the cause of liberty since the birth of our nation – but we now fight an enemy of a different stripe, an enemy within, and our military cannot help us now. Shouldering the burden of this battle is a task that falls to the citizens.

That would be you. And me. And while this war will not be fought with guns, or by force of arms, it will nevertheless be long, exhausting and brutal.

The challenge we face is real, and it is immediate. The 13th Congressional District of New York is currently represented by a Democrat, a good man but a man who will, when the chips are down, vote with his party on a preponderance of issues. I will not besmirch Congressman McMahon by accusing him of casting his votes for political expediency; I will trust that he has told us the truth when he said his votes are guided by his moral compass.

But his compass and mine point in different directions far too often for me to be comfortable with his continued representation. We are obligated, unless the Congressman does a philosophical about-face, to work against his re-election.

We have laid the groundwork. We have held the Tea Parties, marched on Washington, read the blogs, and watched our numbers grow. That was the easy part; the hard part is yet to come – translating our beliefs into concrete actions, actions that will make a real difference.

Be prepared.