At every turn, it seems as though the ideas and ideals upon which this great experiment were founded so long ago are being eroded by time, by culture, by the trappings of money and influence and power. With every passing day, it seems as though our elected officials in Washington, D.C. find a new way to abandon inherently American principles and countermand the will of the people.
Once upon a time, We The People were the driving force behind America. We were informed, we were engaged, we were involved, we were essential. Now, we are little more than Sen. Lindsay Graham’s “loud folks,” or Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “chattering class” — a nuisance, an annoyance, a distraction, part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Suddenly, those of us beyond the Beltway simply do not know what we want, do not know what’s best for our own families, our own industry, our own country.
They think we’re stupid. They think our values are stupid and antiquated, they perceive our picket-fence-and-apple-pie hopes and dreams to be nothing more than empty nostalgia, than some attempt at recapturing a long forgotten time seen on T.V. Land reruns but nowhere else. They, of course, know what is best for America. They, of course, know what we do and do not want for our businesses, our schools, our children. And, darn it, they’re going to do what they feel is right, regardless of what the people say.
It’s easy, nowadays, to fear for America. More often than not, I do. I look at my own life, my own family, and while not a day goes by when I do not thank God for blessing me more than I deserve, I am all too aware that a couple hundred dollars added to or missing from the household balance sheet in any given month can make or break us, can either allow for the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve saved just a little bit or for the momentary relief from everyday burdens of life that only a quiet dinner out or martini-and-a-movie at home can bring, or it can send us on a downward spiral into a hole from which it takes a few months and a little luck to break free and climb out. I think of us, my wife, daugher and I, in this little house on the outskirts of Philadelphia, struggling each and every month. Then, I think of those across this nation who are not nearly as lucky, about how they can hope to survive the hardship to come, about how they may not be as strong in terms of resisting the superficial temptations of the nanny state. And I fear for America.
My wife, daughter and I cannot handle the inevitable downhill consequences and inflationary costs associated with the left’s spendthrift ways. We cannot handle an economic downturn artificially extended by the malfeasance of the elites in our nation’s capital. And we’re not alone. If only the federal government would get out of the way, would allow the economy to find its bottom rather than propping it up, time and time again, by mortgaging more and more of the future of our children’s children, would allow Americans like you and like me to keep more of our own money, to build our own businesses as we saw fit, to secure and stabilize our own lives as we must, we might emerge from this unfortunate slowdown sooner rather than later — and be better off for having done so.
The Beltway elite, however, fail to listen and refuse to care. To them, we’re a thorn in the side of the perpetuation of power, a fat stick in the spokes of their twisted, delusional concept of “progress.” To them, We The People don’t matter, We The People don’t have the experience or perspective they’ve developed during their lifetime spent mired in bureaucracy. As a result, our ideas and hopes and opinions mean next to nothing to them, our protests and warnings and admonitions and pleas nothing more than fodder for side-splitting stories in tight little circles of privileged pretentiousness at the next Georgetown cocktail party.
Yesterday’s so-called “compromise” on the so-called “stimulus” package was a shining example of that manufactured–and undoubtedly welcomed–disconnect. Not only was the bill filled with provision after provision which will provide no ascertainable help to our ailing economy, but legislator after legislator actively chose to disregard the opinions of those who sent them to Washington in the first place. Some legislators, it seemed, found nothing wrong with the idea of spending nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayer money without having even read the entire bill.
Most insulting to me in particular was that the Democrats made no attempt to incorporate the Republicans and their ideas–elections have consequences, don’t you know!–in any part of the process. As soon as it became apparent they had the votes needed for passage, Nancy Pelosi and her minions slammed the doors, shut House Republicans out, and unilaterally acted to extract many of the tax relief measures first put into the bill in an attempt to woo Republican members of Congress. They slipped the “mickey” into our drink, had their way with us, then kicked us to the doorstep and left us holding our own underbritches and with a giant porcine baby on the way.
If the American people were promised anything during this last election, it was a change in the way our government functioned. More transparency, less mystery. More accountability, less blame-shifing. More responsibility and more trust, less bureaucracy, partisanship, and game-playing. Change.
Those promises and more were broken without even a second thought and, for that reason, yesterday was a truly awful day for the United States of America. Yesterday, the many were truly subjugated by the wild-eyed and power-hungry elite, the will of the masses usurped by the selfish desires of the few.
Yes, it’s easy, nowadays, to fear for America — but that doesn’t mean that we must.
In the horror of the past few weeks and months, as difficult as it has been to watch elected officials under the watch of two different administrations make all of the wrong decisions, further burdening our future generations with every misstep, I’ve begun to see some promise deep within the pain. I see focus among conservatives, in and out of Washington, D.C. I see Democrats of all shapes, sizes, colors and tax brackets wondering, “Oh Lord, what have I done?” I see leadership–solid, unafraid leadership–emerging from the shadows. Slowly but surely, on the American political right, the wheat is separating from the chaff.
When it has come to these latest slides down the slippery slope toward socialism, there has perhaps been no better conservative voice than that of South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Throughout these difficult times, he has made all of the right decisions at all of the right times, said all of the right things in the right ways, exhibited stellar leadership where, just weeks before, there had been a noticeable leadership vacuum. He has, time and time again over the past six months especially, displayed unshakeable principles and uncompromised character.
For that reason, I wanted to see what the senator had to say about yesterday’s disappointing and frustrating news from the halls of Capitol Hill. Of course, as I am simply a normal guy with a fairly popular Web site and hardly a journalist of any consequence (if a journalist at all), Sen. DeMint understandably had enough on his plate that entertaining my garrulous praise and enduring my long-winded questions was simply not going to happen. A spokesperson in DeMint’s office, however, was more than helpful and gave tremendous insight into how his boss has approached the latest news about the so-called “stimulus” package.
On what the Democrats have been touting as yesterday’s “compromise,” DeMint’s spokesperson mentioned that the senator “has said from the start that Democrats were hoping to offer a bloated spending bill and attract a few moderates by making small cuts, which is exactly what has happened.” That compromise, he said, has done nothing to change the fundamental problem with the bill, in that it grows the federal government rather than our free economy.
“If those making the compromise truly were concerned that numerous programs in the bill were wasteful and didn’t create jobs, those programs should have been eliminated, not simply given a haircut,” DeMint’s spokesperson told America’s Right. “The Democrat stimulus is nothing more than a grab-bag of pet projects that liberals have been trying to pass for the last 10 years. The trillion dollar bill will not fix our economy, but it will achieve its goal of making Americans more dependent on the government. Instead of giving Washington politicians taking a trillion dollars out of the economy to spend as they wish, Americans families and businesses should be able to keep a trillion dollars of their own money to spend and invest as they see fit.”
DeMint’s spokesperson–who, honestly, I’d love to see in office himself–then pointed toward a video showing Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry on the Senate floor only six days ago, reinforcing in his own words the fact that liberal Democrats simply do not trust Americans with their own money, with the freedom to pursue their own happiness. Apparently, DeMint’s spokesperson said, liberals believe government and its politicians are wiser than the American people, a feeling which manifested itself in this so-called “stimulus” bill.
Asked about Sen. DeMint’s feelings toward yesterday’s closed-door reconciliation conference and the overt breach of many of the campaign promises made by President Obama during his historic run for the White House, DeMint’s spokesperson said that the senator was “disappointed but not surprised.”
“In the first few weeks,” he said, “President Obama has broken a number of promises he made on the campaign trail. He said he’d reduce abortions, but he signed an executive order that allows taxpayer dollars to promote the destruction of innocent human life overseas. He said he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class, but one of the first bills he signed raised cigarette taxes, the most regressive tax of which 96% of Americans who pay it make under $100,000. He said he wouldn’t hire lobbyists, but he has appointed a number of lobbyists to his administration.”
Within these pages, I’ve said several times during last year’s election and as recently as yesterday that this kind of wishy-washiness and blatant refusal to adhere to principles–or total lack of principles to begin with–is the root of the American people’s inherent distrust of and disdain for many who represent them in our nation’s capital. Yesterday, I mentioned the complete lack of principles as a derivative cause of Sens. Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins’ betrayal of their party and constituencies in voting for and facilitating the passage of the Obama-Pelosi “stimulus” bill.
While Sen. DeMint’s representative did not go so far as to cause trouble or name names, he admitted that the credibility gap on Capitol Hill must be surmounted for lasting change of the right kind to ever come to Washington and to America, and the only way to do that is by returning to and once again embracing the time-tested tenets of conservatism.
“Senator DeMint believes Republicans will never regain the trust of the American people until our party unifies around the conservative principles of fiscal responsibility, limited government, strong national defense and traditional values,” the senator’s spokesperson said. “We need more rock-solid conservatives in the Senate who will fight for the American people, not seek the approval of Washington elites.”
In these recent days of hopelessness, frustration and disgust, of course it is easy to fear for America. It’s only natural. Honestly, such feelings may be not only warranted but essential, as they indeed remind us of exactly what it is we stand to lose should we refuse to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Leadership within the conservative movement is not the problem — from this crisis, the cream has risen to the top in the form of DeMint, of Eric Cantor, of Mike Pence, of Mark Sanford, of Michael Steele, and many more. Neither is the message the problem, as the vast majority of Americans who possess even a modicum of personal responsibility undoubtedly practice fiscal conservatism and other conservative principles in their own lives without even knowing it. The problem, as I see it, is disseminating and articulating the conservative message in such a way as to be effective in showing that conservatism is not exclusionary, is not somehow only reserved for the wealthy, is not just relegated to the idyllic, black-and-white societal landscapes of Mayberry and “Leave it to Beaver,” but is indeed the foundation for American prosperity in nearly every situation and circumstance.
This so-called “stimulus” package, as I see it, will present the Republican Party with the perfect opportunity to revert to first principles, and will provide all of us with a similarly perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how those principles will guide America out from the doldrums and despair and will once again cement Her position as a superpower among superpowers — economically, culturally and otherwise.
So, my fellow conservatives, as we prepare to reap the adverse consequences of this belly-flop into socialism, let’s prepare ourselves behind-the-scenes for the coming insurgency. We’ve got the leadership. We’ve got the message. Together, let’s put it all together and ensure that, just as easy as it is today for us to fear for America, it is just as easy in 2010, 2012 and beyond for the Democrats to fear for their beloved party.