I took yesterday off. Family, food, friends and football beckoned. A new semester–my final semester in law school–and all of the stresses which come along with that, not to mention finding a job, packing up and selling our house, moving 700 miles and preparing for and taking the bar exam are looming on the horizon. Yesterday off was key.
And, for the most part, the new year started pretty well: my Auburn Tigers won the very first college football game of 2010, my three-year-old daughter finally slept through the night without need for a pull-up diaper, and getting together with family and friends turned out to be exactly what I needed.
During the course of the day, though, I wasn’t completely computer-free. I had the chance to read various articles, peruse various sites, and in doing so I could not help but notice the attitude toward the outgoing year which had ended the day before. “Good riddance, 2009,” one person had written on Facebook. “Hopefully, 2010 will be a whole lot better than this year was.” And it was typical. The attitude was everywhere. 2009 was officially a stinker.
Of course, I can understand it. 2009 certainly wasn’t setting any records. On a personal level, I weigh about five to ten pounds more now than I did at this time last year, and with regard to finances we have even less money in the bank now than we did then — at a time when, faced with bar review costs and all of the expenses which come along with a move, we need savings most. The thing is, we all began 2009 drawing breath, and ended it doing the same thing. And in the days between start and finish, I had the opportunity to kiss my wife and hug my little girl. Sure, our savings account may not be worth the paper the statements are printed on and, sure, we might have had a few health issues pop up in the latter half of the year, but at the end of the day my family is happy and healthy, and that’s good enough for me.
On a political level, I don’t even know where to begin. Is it even possible to boil an entire year of disappointment and outrage into a single paragraph or post? Of course not. But if you look hard enough, there’s good to be seen in it all. For example, the American taxpayers may own General Motors and Chrysler, but if the Obama administration had never orchestrated any of it, Ford Motor Company would never have been able to surprise us all with fantastic numbers in the third quarter, showing America what happens when government stays out. And that, my friends, is a microcosm of why I believe that 2009 will go down as one of the most important years in American history. If the latter half of George W. Bush’s second term as president taught us anything, it was that a complacent American people needed a lesson in freedom. We needed to be shown exactly what a far-left ideology will get this country, and what type of nation people like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to see America become.
We got that lesson. Oh boy, did we get that lesson.
The American people have, for the most part, been asleep at the wheel. They’ve been more concerned about the next American Idol or whether or not the castaways in Lost will ever find their way home, about the latest Hollywood news or the most recent professional athlete to be caught with an illegal gun in his waistband or silicone-filled groupie in his bed. But that’s what made last year so great — blissful ignorance was so 2008. Now, if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
And the American people are paying attention. They’ve stood up to be counted, they’ve spoken up to be heard. And, as a result, they’re not just happy with whomever the Republican Party throws on a ballot anymore, they’re not just taking the liberal agenda at face value — they know that health care reform is not about health care, that cap-and-trade is wealth redistribution masquerading as shallow environmentalism, that man-made climate change is a farce, that the only way to return to and perpetuate freedom is through transparency, responsibility and a limited federal government. The American people have awakened, and if 2009 is known only for being the year that Americans opened their eyes to the steady shift from liberty to tyranny, that’s good enough for the record books.
As good as 2009 might be in retrospect, this year will need no such reflection. We’re looking at legendary times in America, folks. We’re looking at a new American Revolution, one which can be won without a single shot by ordinary, everyday people like you and like me who aren’t going to sit on the sidelines anymore. Politics aren’t taboo anymore. Partisanship isn’t glossed over anymore. The decisions which are being made on Capitol Hill each and every day have real consequences for those of us on Main Street, for our children, for our children’s children, and those decisions need to be debated and are being debated — you can’t go through a supermarket checkout line or sit from the beginning of a haircut to the end without someone talking about politics. And, by God, that was a product of 2009.
To progress, we must question. To learn, we must discuss. To change, we must be informed and we must be active. An American people, herded like sheep by the forces of soaring but empty rhetoric — because of 2009, it can’t happen again, it won’t happen again. Sure, there will always be those who resist, and there will always be those who are wrong, but the difference between one side of 2009 and the other is that those of us who are right, those of us who require more than words are motivated to and capable of explaining why.
Maybe I’m a hopeless optimist. A normal person, after all, would be losing hair over the number of issues I’m going to have to confront and surmount in my personal life, and someone who wasn’t quite so hopelessly optimistic might be a little more concerned about health care reform and immigration reform and energy taxes and mounting debt. It’s not that I’m not concerned about those things — it’s that on personal level I have faith in myself, on a political level I have faith in the American people, and with regard to both I have faith in God.
Awakened and once again understanding that this nation was created with the hand of Providence and carefully designed to be the last great hope for freedom in the growing world, the American people are capable of anything. Therefore, the only reason I say “good riddance” to 2009 is because I’m ready for 2010. I know where, geographically speaking, we’ll be at this point at the start of next year, but physically and financially I simply don’t know. What I do know, however, is that politically America is ready to shine again. On September 18, 1787, at the end of the Constitutional Convention right here in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked what he and the others had given everyone. Franklin responded: “A republic . . . if you can keep it.”
2009, that much maligned year, was us finally getting ready to keep it. 2010 will be us taking our republic back.