How Did We Get Here, and How Do We Get Back?

Published April, 2012 in The Town Messenger

Individual freedom is something we cherish and most of the time take completely for granted. We assume that tomorrow we will enjoy the same basic freedoms that we do today with the same confidence that we believe the sun will rise in the morning. We joke about our freedoms slipping away one by one, but this is no laughing matter. If you are not sobered by the fact that you are not nearly as free as you think you are, then you have already been affected by the desensitization that liberty’s enemies (which have very real names and faces, by the way) have been spoon-feeding us for decades.

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding a piece of legislation that would strip every one of us of our individual right to choose. In an effort to reclaim states’ rights and protect our individual freedom, Texas and several other states filed suit regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate of Obamacare – that requirement that every American citizen, regardless of preference, purchase their (the government’s) approved healthcare plan or pay a penalty. The fact that a mandate regarding what we as “free” American citizens spend our hard-earned money on is included in ANY piece of legislation should make our cumulative blood boil.

In March of 2010, when Nancy Pelosi stood up in front of Congress and the American people and said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can, uh, find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy,” (view video) the ground rumbled as every one of our founding fathers rolled over in their graves, emitting an other-worldly chorus of, “What the …?” And on this side of the grass, millions of us sat in front of our televisions, computer screens and smart phones, dumbfounded that an educated woman could stand there and make such an asinine statement with a smile on her face as if she were discussing with her grandchildren why we they have to go to bed early. This one statement (and the reasoning behind it) goes down in the historical recesses of my mind as evidence of the unfathomable irresponsibility with which our current “leaders” govern this country. And the fact that she and her cohorts still have their jobs speaks to the fact that too many of us still just don’t get it.

Does our healthcare system need reform? Absolutely – but not at the expense of our individual freedom. Friedrich Hayek said,

“Freedom can be preserved only if it is treated as a supreme principle which must not be sacrificed for particular advantages.”

Voting for a bad piece of legislation just because it’s the only thing currently on the table (instead of sending it back and demanding something better) is just as foolish and irresponsible as sending a man to the White House based primarily on his skin color (yes, I’m going there). Before you get your undies in a wad and start throwing around the “racist” label, hear this: I would have loved to see a black or Hispanic or female president long ago. I think it’s long overdue. But it must be the right person – someone who will lead with integrity and character, who is not afraid to stand up for what is right and who puts the good of the country and every American citizen above his/her own political aspirations. Whether that person is black, white, brown, green or purple is of no consequence to me. What I look for is someone I can trust. Voting for someone just because they are black is just as closed-minded as not voting for them for the same reason.

Getting back to individual freedom, once we let them get away with mandating that we must purchase healthcare (or anything else) or face punishment, the door is open for them to control every other aspect of our lives. And for the record, the “they” I am referring to here is not some nameless, faceless group of strangers. They are men and women from our own towns and communities that WE VOTED INTO OFFICE. And if the next words out of your mouth were going to be, “Well, don’t look at me, because I didn’t vote,” save your breath. You are the reason we are in this mess. It is the stunning silence of the milions of Americans who do not bother to vote that screams to the power-hungry, “Go ahead. Do what you want. I don’t have time to care. What time does Dancing with the Stars come on tonight?” How’s that for throwing personal responsibility back on the table? Let’s see who picks it up.

“People never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” ~ Edmund Burke

How did we get here? How did we lose sight of our most treasured and foundational personal freedoms and allow a handful of self-focused, power-crazed people to take us so far down the road to destruction? We took our eye off the prize. We forgot how precious the right to vote really is. We fell for the lie that said that our lone little voice would not matter, so why bother? We failed to exercise our God-given right and responsibility to send people to Washington to look after and represent our interests, rather than their own or those of the lobbyists. Once we silenced our own voices by not voting, we stopped watching what was going on in Washington once our elected representatives got there. When they passed legislation that allowed them to exempt themselves from the same laws they impose on us, we allowed them to keep their jobs. It is as plain and simple as that. If Congress (who is employed by you and me, by the way) had to live under the same rules and regulations they require the rest of us to, there would be a huge difference in the kinds of laws that get passed.

Just so you don’t think that the problem rests solely with Congress, here are a few more little tidbits for you to chew on. On March 16, 2012, President Obama issued an Executive Order authorizing peacetime martial law. Read that sentence again. Two weeks ago, our president empowered himself to take absolute control of our natural resources, among other things, ANYTIME HE WANTS TO (see story). During the hearing last week in the Supreme Court regarding Obamacare, Justice Elena Kagan was quoted as saying,

“Why is a big gift from the federal government a matter of coercion? In other words, the federal government is here saying: We’re giving you a boatload of money. There are no matching funds requirement. There are no extraneous conditions attached to it. It’s just a boatload of federal money for you to take and spend on poor people’s health.” (see transcript)

And to bring it home, this same spirit that is trying to undermine our individual freedom is not isolated to Washington, DC. I sat in a meeting of citizens, church leaders and business leaders last week in one Williamson County town where the Mayor, when questioned about whether a particular decision would make the voters mad, was quoted as saying,

“Sometimes it’s not about the voters. Sometimes we have to make decisions, and let them get mad!”

Did you catch that? It doesn’t matter what the voters want. We (the ones the voters elected) know what is best, and we have the authority to do what we want whether the voters like it or not. This power-drunken attitude comes not from D.C., dear reader – it comes from a small Texas town in your backyard.
We must identify every enemy that raises its ugly head against our freedom and wage a full-on war against them. They don’t all look the same. Sometimes it’s the Marxist/Communist agendas that have been operating in our country for decades. Sometimes it’s the anti-American texts being taught in our schools at every level (see video). Sometimes it’s the good-ole-boy approach to local government that says, “You look the other way while I lie, cheat and steal, and I’ll do the same for you.” Even with all these players on the field, our biggest and most dangerous enemy is apathy – a culture that is more interested in who will win American Idol and when the next witchcraft or vampire movie will come out than in knowing (or caring) who is making life-altering decisions on our behalf and how to stop them before it goes any further.

I heard someone say today that a particular manager of a store didn’t have any good employees and always ended up getting in trouble for the slack job her employees did because she coddled them and did not hold them accountable. He said, “I would fire them.” We need to be reminded that unlike other countries, where a monarch or dictator or other ruling figure leads as they see fit with no repercussions, our government is made up of individuals who work for us. We answer to them, but only as far as they answer to us. If they pass laws and engage in activity that does not best represent our interests, we can and must show them the exit door and replace them someone who is better suited for the position. It’s just good business. It’s what any smart manager would do.

It is time to awaken the sleeping giant that is We the People. This is our time to shine. This is the hour when we must hold ourselves and our elected officials accountable. They are not there to babysit us. They are not there to coddle to the lobbyists and exempt themselves from the very laws they pass. They are there to protect our interests. If we don’t hold their feet to the fire, then we have no one to blame for our future (and that of our children and grandchildren) but ourselves.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ Jesus (John 8:32)

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