By Lady Liberty
We've got a problem in America, and it's not just our politicians. It's us. We like to blame the politicians, of course, and sadly, they usually deserve it. We even like to chastise them by reminding them that they work for us, not the other way around. And yet we all to often forget that fact ourselves.
One of the reasons I think we tend to let things slide is because we don't think about it until it's our own ox being gored. We're committed to our own interests, but that's as far as it goes. Sometimes we can't even say that much.
In recent months, we've seen an unusual number of people get fired up about taxes. Tea Parties are being held across the nation, and with good reason: taxes are going up, and proposals currently on the table in Washington make it likely they'll go up a lot more and soon. On April 15, I attended a local Tea Party and was thrilled to see so many people ready and willing to take action. Faced with a hard hit in the pocketbook not to mention the debt their children would owe, it seemed plenty of people had plenty to say.
Three months later, Tea Parties were planned for Independence Day. I was quietly making my plans to attend when I received another email from organizers advising the event had been called off. It seems that people were complaining that they wanted to spend the day with their families or out on the town rather than attend a protest. The majority of them apparently had something better to do.
I will readily grant you that I'm probably a bit more committed to the cause of freedom than many. I spend more than a few hours a week writing and talking for freedom, and I read incessantly to keep myself up to date on the relevant topics and to learn as much as I can in the defense of freedom. Want to see some even more tangible commitment from me? Take a look at my new tattoo (no, I'm not kidding). Now that, my friends, is commitment!
Rest assured that I don't fault anyone for being committed to their families. I'm not going to criticize those who take a break on a summer holiday for picnics and fireworks. I'm certainly not going to recommend anybody rush right out and get themselves their very own patriotic-themed tattoo! But what I am going to say is this:
Your commitment to your children means a commitment to their future. That future is being mortgaged to the hilt and beyond right now with this bailout and that stimulus—and still more stimulus is on the horizon. Isn't it worth ten minutes to make a phone call, an hour or two to attend a protest, or the time to attend a couple of meetings or write a couple of letters if it will go towards saving your kids from being forced to try to salvage a bankrupted country?
Your commitment to family and fun has got to mean a commitment to ensure that you and others like you can continue such a lifestyle. At this very moment, action is being taken in Washington that will usurp still more of your liberties and take up still more of your paycheck. Would it really be the worst thing in the world if you arrived at the picnic an hour or two late?
Your commitment to your job is admirable, but it's worthless if you no longer have a job. Legislation currently being negotiated in Washington will quite literally decimate small businesses and destroy some larger businesses—those it doesn't either nationalize or force overseas. This wholesale slaughter of the free market will result in far worse than Congress claims it's trying to fix.
What's it worth to you to keep your home? To buy groceries? To take a vacation every now and then? I won't suggest you take vacation time to be an activist, or that you call in sick when you're not. But you might consider tacking a little time onto your regular 40 hours every week to be an activist in whatever way you choose. Isn't holding onto freedom your job, too? And isn't the salary at least as valuable?
Your commitment to caring for your loved ones can't be faulted. But if the president and some of the most liberal members of Congress get their way, no amount of caring will save those unfortunate enough to be ill when they're old, or who are born or become imperfect and thus are "burdens" on others. Your failure to act now doesn't make your commitment to caring any less. But it will make that commitment quite literally all but worthless in the very near future!
While you're pondering your own commitments, let me tell you something else: Your politicians are committed, too. They're comitted to cronies or beholden to lobbyists. It's painfully obvious they're also committed, no matter how ill-advisedly, to their party leadership, too. But those things are only skin deep. Want to know what's permanently tattooed on each of them? Their commitment to votes.
No matter what many politicians think privately or what they've said publicly, almost every single one of them will do a 180 degree turn if they think they're losing votes and their jobs are in danger. Obviously, there are a few whose own commitment runs deep for good or ill. But the majority? Ah, the majority secretly does remember it works for us, and it's utterly terrified the boss will show up and fire them.
Congress is taking a summer break. Members are coming home for a few weeks to tell us all how they're committed to us and our well being. I say we greet each and every one of them with the fact that we know precisely where their commitment lies, and that we're well aware it isn't with freedom or a remotely pleasant future for us or our country. Then I suggest we make the point to them that, if they don't change their path, we'll commit ourselves to seeing to it they don't get another chance to betray our trust — or the Constitution of the United States of America. Getting some of these freedom-hating folks out of office won't fix everything, but it will be a fine start.
Lady Liberty, a senior writer for ESR, is a graphic designer and pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House, at http://www.ladylibrty.com. E-mail Lady Liberty at email@example.com.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!