Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, October 30, 2010


“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” Thomas Jefferson

Among the many civic lessons Americans either never learn or quickly forget is that Congress is responsible for the budget, not the White House. The Democrat party has controlled Congress since January 2007, controlling the budget process for FY 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

For FY 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed President Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In other words, Obama inherited a deficit he voted for and then voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20, 2009.

Not long after that, Congress passed The Stimulus Plan in February 2009. They promised the $787 billion economic stimulus package would jumpstart economic growth, and save between 900,000 and 2.3 million jobs. The economic stimulus bill allocated funds as follows:

• $288 billion in tax cuts.
• $224 billion in extended unemployment benefits, education and health care.
• $275 billion for job creation using federal contracts, grants and loans.

Although the economic stimulus package was to be spent over ten years, the bulk was budgeted for the first three fiscal years: $185 billion in 2009, $400 billion in 2010 and $135 billion in 2011.

The Plan’s proponents bragged that by October 30, 2009, over $241.9 billion had been spent: $92.8 billion in tax relief, $86.5 billion in unemployment and other benefits and $62.6 billion in job creation grants. By October 8, 2010, the program had spent $554.4 billion: $243.4 billion in tax relief, $163.2 billion in entitlements and $147.8 billion in contracts, grants or loans. However, the graph below shows what really happened:

The size of the federal government grew by 10 percent. By the end of 2009, there was a minor loss in jobs, one-tenth of one percent, in local government. By July of this year, it had gone down to nine-tenths of one percent. State government jobs only began to show a minor decline in the Spring of 2010 and by July, the loss of jobs was one-tenth of one percent.

Meanwhile, the private sector suffered – and continues to suffer – a job loss almost in direct proportion to the growth of government jobs. It was actually a little above a ten percent increase in the Spring, but dropped slightly by summer. These government jobs are jobs and labor unions which our taxes must support.

The official number of unemployed workers in the United States is 14,671,614. The actual number, which includes those who’ve given up looking for work is 27,002,026. The U.S. has a work force of 139,676,621. But the number of U.S. Income Taxpayers is 110,181,609. That’s roughly 29 million people who don’t even make enough money to pay income tax and that number will increase as the economy tanks further.

Another 20 million of those who are employed are government workers whom are taxes are used to keep employed to say nothing of the 44 million food stamp employees. Private sector employment improved slightly this spring after having fallen to seven percent. And if the boasts of the Stimulus proponents are right, those jobs were only created on the backs of the remaining taxpayers or created out of Monopoly money.

Those who are on the fence can dither about social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and global warming (whose remedies will put the finish on our economy). But you can’t argue with the bottom line. And the bottom line is getting lower and lower.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Celebrity Robocalls

You’re sitting eating your dinner when the phone rings. You say, “Hello?” and are answered by a recorded voice. They want to help you lower your mortgage rate. Or they want to sell you satellite television. Or they have a great offer on a house in the Poconos if you’ll come to their meeting at the Sheraton in Fairfield. Eventually, you learn to read the Caller ID beforehand. If it’s a number you don’t recognize, you just let it go to your voicemail. One beep and it’s all over.

But every once in awhile, you forget to check the number and get hooked. Only this automated call had a familiar voice. This not some nobody from Indiana; it was Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor, the Man of 9/11. It was only a recording, but I was so impressed by this celebrity robocall, that I listened through it anyway, as he endorsed Roland Straten. If he’d called to endorse the other guy, I would’ve hung up.

It may have been a robocall from a famous politician, but he was endorsing a genuine person, not a career politician. It always helps to check out these politicians’ websites, do a little homework. Be a little curious. What was this ship, the USS Pyro. Cool name for an ammunition, though it seems to me you had to have a lot of guts to serve on a ship like that. Guts is what it’s all about.

That’s what I told employees at my company, today. Used to be, in better times, we celebrated Halloween with costume contests. They were an awful lot of fun. Employees designed some really funny and unusual costumes. Those days are over now. Everything we do, even in Public Relations, must have a business angle.

I’m really in the Communications Department, but I’m still part of the Public Relations Department. Since we weren’t really celebrating Halloween, I could still get away with some Halloween Dress-Up if I combined it with a serious initiative like getting out the vote.

The designers weren’t in yet, so I had to make my own Remember to Vote sign out of cardboard files that I glued together. The printing and design wasn’t the greatest, but what the heck. I started out on the fourth, and gloomiest, floor of our office building and made my way down, wearing my Molly Pitcher costume, complete with ramrod and Badge of Courage badge (borrowed from the Wizard of Oz section of the Halloween store) and a striped apron I made out of a dish towel.

Some people knew who Molly Pitcher was, some didn’t. Those who didn’t enjoyed hearing her story, particularly the women employees. Many of our employees are customer reps so I couldn’t call out loud. I’d tap on their cubicle walls a few times until they saw the sign. When they saw the costume, they laughed anyway.

Other employees I was able to stop and chat about politics with for a few moments. As a PR person, I’m not allowed to endorse candidates. However, it was interesting to hear their feelings about the election. Republican or Democrat, they felt that the best candidate for office would be George Washington.

One woman declared that she would not be voting. When I asked her why not, she said, “Because they’re all politicians. They’re all alike.” I told her I didn’t see how we could quite around that problem, even if All Saint's Eve is coming up on Sunday.

“If George Washington were running for office,” she said, “then I’d vote.” Her aisle mates all agreed, even though they were clearly on opposite sides of the political fence. They all felt that we needed to get back to the way the Founding Fathers did things. That would mean having to return to the horse and buggy days, even before trains.

But maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. New York was the first capital, and then Philadelphia, and finally Washington, D.C., which brought the capital closer to the Southern states while not being too far from the north. Since travel was difficult and dangerous in those days, they only met four times a year and didn’t stay any longer than they had to.

Instead of Nancy Pelosi, and her successor (let’s hope), flying around in private jets, maybe they would go about the business of the country more efficiently if it took them two weeks to get to the Capitol. Along the way, they’d meet real Americans. They also wouldn’t be inclined to write any more legislation than they absolutely had to.

Washington, D.C., was originally a swamp. Maybe the Founders chose that disagreeable site so no one would want to go there any more than they had to. However, it had the side effect of attracting disagreeable creatures who thrive in such an environment. Decent people don’t want to live in a swamp and are all too happy to observe term limits and return to their homes. George Washington couldn’t wait to go home to Mount Vernon.

But if you’re a snake, or an alligator, or a leech, you’re right at home in the swamps of Washington. Should the decent people get elected this year, eventually, they’ll want to go home again and other decent people must be ready to take their places. Otherwise, the snakes, alligators, and leeches will fill the void the decent people have left behind.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dirty Politics as Usual

I’ve come to expect it of the Democrats – dirty tricks. Years ago, they masqueraded as Secret Service agents at a political rally for George H.W. Bush, confiscating and destroying signs the rally participants had made. Two young ladies were busy taking the signs. When I challenged them, the one girl said sheepishly, “Maybe this really isn’t the right thing to do.” Her companion replied, as she tore up my sign, “The ends justify means.”

Then at a debate a William Paterson College (University), the Democrat candidate went over the time limit and kept on going over it, even though the moderator reminded him several times that he was violating the rules. The audience cheered his audacity.

This year, reports have come back that Bill Pascrell’s minions have been destroying his opponent’s lawn signs. Last night, in their final debate, Pascrell evidently violated the rules by grandstanding and introducing an Iraqi war veteran. I don’t know whether he did it on his own time or Straten’s, but Straten made a formal objection.

But there’s still more. After the debate, Pascrell’s son is said to have verbally attacked Straten. Then Pascrell himself physically threatened Straten (a much larger man) and according to Straten, had to be restrained by the police.

The Bergen Record reports that it was quite a feisty debate. Straten didn’t take Pascrell’s verbal abuse – including calling Straten a liar – lying down. When Straten objected to the veteran being introduced, Pascrell countered that introducing a veteran is never out of order. However, it was out of place in the debate, an unfair play Straten could hardly counter. Pascrell is a veteran of the Army, Straten of the Navy, serving aboard the USS Pyro, an ammunition ship, during the Vietnam War. Both men served, during the Vietnam War era, and Pascrell can hardly paint himself as the superior champion of veterans.

Pascrell brags about garnering funding for the repaving of our roads and repair of infrastructure of our bridges. But with Straten’s education as an engineer and his MBA, with some emphasis economics, not only could he tell you how much such work should or shouldn’t cost the taxpayers, but he could probably also tell us whether the engineers had done a proper job and whether the bridge will stand for the next 100 years, or crumble in ten.

The fact that Pascrell had to be restrained by police (which did not make the Bergen Record’s report) doesn’t bode well for his campaign. Did he think that Straten, a newcomer to national politics, was supposed to humbly cede to his political resume? Are we supposed to impressed that Pascrell is a “career politician”, a career spent taxing us, discouraging businesses (except for pharmaceutical companies, apparently), then benevolently returning the money to us in the form of bridges that will probably have to be rebuilt again, at even greater expense?

Rush Limbaugh tells us that if the new Conservatives are elected, they won’t be allowed to keep their own staff, but will have “insider” staffs forced upon them, who already know the drill and will make certain that Washington politics go on as usual. Few of the 1994 Republican Congress remained for more than a term or two and weren’t able to accomplish all that they hoped and promised.

Who is the better candidate? Someone who knows Washington politics, or someone who knows what they’re doing?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dining with Grizzlies

According to grizzly bear experts, a grizzly bear not only considers what is his, his, but what is your as his. Growing up two brothers and a six-foot two Dad, and later, a six-foot four nephew to take his place, I understand this fact of life all too well.  They have been known to break into homes, garages, garbage cans, and even cars in their search for sustenance.  The bears, that is.

Watching two teenage brothers, and sometimes their friends, not to mention the father figure, devour everything in sight was an intimidating spectacle. There was no such thing as seconds for slow eaters at our dinner table. So I became a food hoarder. Always hungry at the start, and fearing nothing would be left for a second-helping, I overstocked on my food. But it always more than enough to satisfy me and I frequently had food leftover.

That’s when the grizzly bears appeared, growing and snarling because there was food leftover on my plate that they could have and would scarfed down their maws if it had been left in the serving dish. They declared I was very selfish and even my mother, though sympathetic, would scold me.

That was forty years ago and more. I now help myself to proper portions; I don’t hoard my food in fear of vultures flying away with it. In fact, recently I’ve had to “scale back” as my scale was telling me that I had exceeded my limits.

Argyle Fish and Chips Restaurant is a Scottish restaurant renowned throughout New Jersey for its excellent seafood menu. It’s so popular that groups hire their chefs to prepare meals on-site at their venues. I don’t know how the Scottish feel about it, but New Jerseyans love it.

Our local Methodist Church held a fish and chips dinner this week, featuring fish and chips from Argyle’s, cooked on-site. The church auditorium was packed with local seafood lovers. Mom decided she wanted to go there. My younger brother was working, but my older brother joined us.

As soon as the waitress set the plates on the table, my brother frowned and asked, “Mom, is this an all-you-can-eat deal?” We laughed at him and told him, “Nooooo.” Now this filet was a pretty big piece of fish. It overhung the dish on both sides. Clearly, it wasn’t going to satisfy my brother’s bearish appetite.

He finished his fish and his french fries (chips) in record time. Soon he was looking avidly at my mother’s plate. But Mom is 86 years old. You don’t mess with a Mama Grizzly, although the fact is he didn’t want to take it because she’s looking thinner and frailer than she used to and doesn’t eat much. She would have given practically the whole thing to him if he’d asked.

When I saw him eying her plate, I knew trouble was coming. He couldn’t very well beg or intimidate or tablemates, who happened to be former schoolmates of mine. His ursine eyes to me and my fish dish. Here we go again, I thought. His eyes narrowed into a sneer. I was instantly reminded of a photo of a bear a friend of mine, took. I remembered looking at the picture and thinking the eyes looked so human, somehow, and so familiar. Now I knew why.

“You’re not going to eat all that fish, are you?” he growled. It wasn’t so much a question as a command. Looking down at the plate, I thought: I certainly had intended to; it’s delicious. “We know you’re not going to eat all that,” he continued, more threateningly.

Who was “we?” Our younger brother wasn’t there. Dad’s up in heaven someplace watching a boxing match or reading the New York Times. The Nephew is up at school. Mom wasn’t paying attention and would have turned into a Mama Grizzly if she’d known he was about to steal my fish.

My brothers operate under the delusion that I’m still seven years old, trying to guard my meager plate from their encroachment, reaching crane-like for whatever was still in front of me. If I hadn’t finished eating by the time they finished, it certainly meant that I was done. As far as they were concerned. He was finished with his fish, which meant I’d better be done with mine.

‘You are SO pathetic,” I thought. It’s not that I can’t finish this; you just want more and can’t find any other way to get more. It was so fascinating, he was such a study in the psychology of the food chain, that I cut off half the fish and put it on his plate, along with my french fries. If I didn’t need the fish (which I did), I certainly need the french fries as I’m on a diet, and he was welcome to them.

He didn’t even thank me. He just looked away sulkily, too selfish himself to even realize how greedy – or at least hungry – he was. I had a lot of nerve making him feel guilty when I knew what a poor eater I was – in the second grade. My classmates saw all this. I was quite thin when we were little and now they knew how I’d gotten that way.

He reminds me of the Liberals who constantly throw the past up in Conservative’s faces. Even though the Civil Rights Era was some 40 years ago, the exact same time my brothers were conniving me out of my dinner. They tell us Conservatives that we’re too wealthy and don’t need all our income and would never use it anyway, as I would never finish all the food on my plate.

It’s just unfair. The poor, like bearish brothers, are more in need than their wealthy, thin sisters. There are more of them, just as there was more of my older brother. Considerably more. Naturally, their needs were greater. It was only fair to take away from those who didn’t need it and give to those who did.

The Liberals, like my older brother, think nothing of castigating Conservatives for their harsh, selfish attitudes. We’re so selfish that they feel they must make charity compulsory. In 1913, the income tax was established, although not every state accepted it. Then came Social Security in the 1930s and welfare and Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. It was an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of entitlements. As a result, our government is seriously bloated, out-of-shape, and out of control.

Obama said just today that, “The government is the only one who can do anything, fix anything, run anything.” Something like that. Was it a promise or a threat or a command? They don’t create jobs; they create cribs into which they place a swaddled public. We don’t need any help cutting our meat, finishing our dinner, or taking of ourselves. The latest news is that we will have to get prescriptions from our doctors for all over-the-counter remedies.

California is always the leader in the latest socialist fads, like legalizing marijuana. After dinner last night, I now understand why the grizzly bear is on their state flag.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Those Dastardly Tea Parties

Where has The Washington Post been these last 18 months? Since the Tea Parties began in April 2009, they’ve been trying to figure out who we are. Certain that it’s some vast, right-wing conspiracy funded by corporate billionaires and cable television networks, they’ve left no stone, pebble, or boulder unturned.

Apparently, they’ve searched every closet, cabinet, and cubby hole looking for our skeletons. Liberals have planted ringers in the midst of our rallies, trying to draw us out, drawing only quizzical stares instead.

With the 2010 Mid-Term Election only a week away, they’ve finally discovered our secret: we’re just normal, average Americans who aren’t particularly interested in getting tangled up in political machines. We’re not on a crusade to create a Third Party. Some of us have helped out with campaigns, but we’re more likely to be found campaigning to our family, friends, and neighbors about returning our country to its classical, conservative roots, about the importance of a small, fiscally conservative government.

Certainly, there’s a top echelon of political celebrities like Sarah Palin leading a national charge, supporting such Conservative candidates as they can find. Sarah’s about as close to an average American as you can find in the inner political circle. They’re well-funded and well-organized, criss-crossing the country meeting with Tea Party groups. The Tea Party Express will be in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey on Oct. 31st.

But the original Tea Parties, the Washington Post discovered, really love their independence. They love the fact that they have no national leader, as it were. The Tea Party Express and the Tea Party Patriots do their national thing – and the local tea parties do theirs.

The Washington Post learned that the local Tea Parties come in all shapes and sizes. Some number in the thousands, most probably in the hundreds, and they unearthed one Tea Party of one. Well, one man (or woman) can make a difference. But there is no national leader for papers like the Washington Post to skewer. There’s no one of note that they can smear and publicly humiliate. No one worth their time, at any rate. No one anyone in the halls of power and Big Media have ever or will ever hear of.

Rush Limbaugh is right in that the Liberal strategy is to appear as though they’re worried about a huge rout of Democrats and then when the Republicans don’t win as many seats as the Liberal Media predicted, they can crow that the Tea Parties weren’t as effective as they thought they would be.

According to Rush, he’s already getting calls from worried Conservatives who fear they’ve lost the race and that whatever Conservatives are elected will betray them by compromising their Conservative values. He says the Media are already feeding those fears with stories of Republicans vowing to “work with” the President.

We’re stronger than that, though. We’re not going to go sheepishly into that good night of complacent obedience. Whatever the outcome next Tuesday, we’ll be waiting. We know our work is far from over. We’re sentinels who must keep a vigilant watch over our freedom. In this mortal world, we’re never more than step away from servitude so long as men with corrupted hearts yearn for power.

A swarm of gnats has taken up residence in my bathroom and kitchen due to the unusually warm, humid weather our area has been experiencing. Every morning, I despatch a swarm of them, only to find another swarm greeting me when I come home in the evening. It is a distasteful chore ridding my house of these pests (without poisoning my pets). But I never let their superior numbers daunt me; I hunt them down ruthlessly until I’ve at least reduced their numbers, if not eliminated them completely. This is my house and I will have order.

No matter how many Liberals come swarming at us during these last days before they election, we must not waiver. We must despatch them with truth and true love of freedom. We must not let our country become the repository of vermin and lice, gnawing away at the foundations of freedom and feasting on its decay. Decency and honor demand that we prevail.

Monday, October 25, 2010

League of Loyal Americans

What began as a progressive socialist minister’s effort to indoctrinate schoolchildren in 1892, has turned into an affirmation of patriotic devotion for conservatives and a nightmare for the minister’s progressive socialist heirs.

Baptist minister Francis Bellamy’s original version was sparse and loosely defined. The cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy, he wrote the pledge for a children’s magazine to honor the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. Supposedly, the idea of the pledge was to promote the magazine and sell American flags to kids, in league with the National Education Association. This is Bellamy’s original pledge:

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

That same year, the pledge was slightly modified, although modern grammarians would have allowed the original to stand:

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, the pledge was better defined, with “the” replacing “my” and adding "of the United States" so that you knew you weren’t just pledging your allegiance to any old flag:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Just a year later, in 1924, just in case anyone didn’t understand which United States were being honored, the words “of America” were added:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Then, thirty years later, in 1954, in order to make sure the oath had the stamp of Divine Providence, God took His rightful place in the pledge:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Congress officially recognized the pledge as the official national pledge on June 22, 1942. The pledge went through a battle in the Supreme Court. In 1940, in Minersville School District v. Gobitis, the Court ruled schoolchildren could be compelled to say the pledge. In 1943, the Court reversed its decision in West Virginia State Board of Education, saying it violated First Amendment Rights.

Along with the Pledge, Bellamy added the rite of a salute that would later resemble the Nazi salute. Pres. Roosevelt replaced it with the hand-over-heart gesture. On June 14, 1954, the words “under God” were officially added, amending the Flag Code enacted in 1942, after a Presbyterian minister gave a sermon on Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and his use of the words, “under God.” Docherty had though the pledge was missing something that would make it uniquely American.

The pledge has undergone many challenges by atheist groups and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who consider such a pledge idolatry. In the most recent ruling, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the words were of a “ceremonial and patriotic nature” and did not constitute an establishment of religion.

Still, the Progressives rail against the use of the pledge, particularly with the words “under God” included. Historians argue that in the meaning of Abraham Lincoln and his times, the phrase meant "God willing" - that is to say, in modern lingo, "if God's okay with it" or "as long as God thinks it's a good idea."

At a debate sponsored by the Illinois League of Women Voters between Democratic incumbent Rep. Melissa Bean, GOP challenger Joe Walsh, and Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer, the audience protested loudly when the ILWV moderator Kathy Tate-Bradish refused to include reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the proceedings

Videotaping was not allowed at the debate. Still, someone managed to digitally record Republican Joe Walsh’ reaction to the public rebellion. The audience’s reaction is inaudible and Walsh seems to be nodding in agreement, when in fact, he was nodding in agreement with the audience.

With Walsh in the lead, his hand over his heart, the 300-member audience stood up and recited the Pledge of Allegiance anyway. Tate-Brandish scolded the crowd afterwards for disrespecting her, claiming that not reciting the pledge in no way disrespected the American flag. She blamed the outburst on the Walsh. LWV executive director Jan Czarnik (a former ACORN Project Vote worker and member of People for the American Way) also condemned the recitation as “a phony patriotism issue.”

Both women have been members of the progressive movement. Ms. Tate-Bradish was an active supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and even hosted campaign events for the then-Senator in her own home.

An Island Lake resident and U.S. Air Force veteran named Joseph Ptak claimed responsibility for requesting the Pledge to be recited at the debate, calling it a “proper way to begin the event that was in a high school and had student participation.” Many veterans were in the audience that evening and he objected to his sincerity being questioned.

Though Liberals and Libertarians (like my father) may accuse American flag-loving Americans of jingoism, they just can’t seem to douse America’s passion for her star-spangled banner. They tried burning it in the Sixties, sewing it onto the backs of blue jeans, and committing all manner of flagocide. But it only deepened America’s love for their flag and what it represents.

The fervor has gone through cycles. Flag-waving was popular during the Bicentennial. Then it enjoyed a resurgence with the election of Ronald Reagan. Then it waned again for awhile, though the ember never died.

Then came the 9/11 attacks. The passion for the American flag blazed forth as it hadn’t done since perhaps the end of World War II. American flags were everywhere. They hung from every light pole in my town. They hung from overpasses, fire trucks, and hometown porches. In Wildwood, that weekend after the attacks, the annual Firemen’s Parade was cancelled. So the New Jersey firemen got up an impromptu American Flag Parade. Americans would never again take their flag – or the Pledge of Allegiance – for granted again.

They just needed an excuse to keep on waving them. The grief for 9/11 had to subside sooner or later. But just in time, along came the Tea Parties, and Old Glory was once again in her glory.

The Supreme Court ruled that you can’t force someone to recite the Pledge, which is true. The Pledge can only come from the heart; it shouldn’t be forced, although there’s nothing at all wrong with teaching schoolchildren about patriotism and love of freedom by having them learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Perhaps they only recite it by rote when their young, but practice makes perfect for the day that will come when they’re mature enough understand the significance of the Pledge and recite it out of affection and respect, not blind obedience.

Those 300 audience members in Illinois were not schoolchildren. They were not compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. They volunteered to recite it; they requested to recite it. When they were refused, they defied the edict and recited it anyway, from memory and from their hearts. Then they applauded. Later, they were scolded for their bad behavior and disrespect for the moderator.

At that debate, America literally stood up to bureaucratic tyranny and socialist shrewishness. The very fact that they rose up against despotism said as much about their love of America and freedom as reciting the Pledge itself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Violence is Not an Option

At least, it's not a very palatable option.  Reading through the Declaration of Independence, I cannot find much of anything in Thomas Jefferson’s language that relates to violence, other than that “as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

Jefferson does refer to abolishing or altering forms of governments that are destructive of the ends of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (including ownership of private property). To that end, the Founding Fathers had a realistic expectation that Great Britain would not simply acquiesce but would use force to prevent the rebellion of what it considered its colonies.

“Violence is an option that is on the table,” was a rather unusual stance for Stephen Broader, a Dallas politician and preacher to take. Is he a war-monger, or simply a realistic like the Founding Fathers, who knew their enemy would go “all the way?”

Our enemies are not three thousand miles away, but right next door, down the street, or in the next town. Before the riots of the 1960s, the last time America experienced a sustained conflict on her own shores was during the Civil War. Our commitment to freedom has been compromised. We are a representative government, and with that understanding, American citizens devolve their governmental responsibilities to representatives in the local, state, and federal government.

For generations, Americans have been aware of the corruption inherent in politicians. They’ve taken it as a given, the price they pay for not having a participatory democracy, which would be impossible and impractical. Their only recourse has ever been the voting booth. That is supposed to be the way of a civilized society; the difference between a sentient, educated state and a barbarous dictatorship. That is why you see Greeks rioting in the streets, French youth burning cars nightly, and union workers threatening “scabs” (people who cross a picket line), while decent Americans go home at night to their families. The Tea Parties are the closest Americans have ever come to “taking to the streets”, which they did peaceably.

Supposing we were to start a violent revolution? Supposing the oppression did become too much to bear? Broden is right, that that day may come, especially if medical panels start deciding who will live and who will die, if people are fined or even imprisoned for speaking their minds, and thugs are permitted to beat women and children in the streets.

Supposing the president of the United States, in concert with Congress, abolished the U.S. Constitution and submitted us to the rule of an international government? It’s not that hard to imagine such a world; we’re on its very brink. Violence is usually the illegitimate child of tyranny and corruption. The very first rule of such a government is to outlaw insurrection.

So who should be the first to die? My vote would be for the drug dealers. The death penalty should be instituted for anyone who deals drugs. Law enforcement should have carte blanche in dealing with any armed drug dealers: shoot to kill. Following that, anyone purchasing the stuff should be thrown in jail for a very, very long time with only bologna sandwiches and water to sustain them. No gymnasium equipment, no computers, no cell phones, no television. The biggest mistake we ever made was to decriminalize drugs.

But what do we do with the rest of them? Who should go next? Muslim terrorists? Eco terrorists? Executive criminals guilty of ponzi schemes? Shall we throw foolish college activists into solitary confinement for their stupidity? Lock up all the bureaucrats who’ve chained us to the monster Ted Nugent calls “Fedzilla”? Send all the teachers who’ve taught our kids false environmental science and indoctrinated them into progressive communism to reform school?

Do to them what they’re planning to do to us? In the play “Amadeus”, a frail and elderly Salieri says to the priest, “It’s one thing to consider murder. But it’s another thing to actually do the deed.” And have the blood on your hands.

If we take the attitude that ‘electoral’ failure is not an option, perhaps we won’t have to worry about those messier options.