A Passion Born of Necessity

I was talking to a coworker today about the upcoming elections. “I don’t really follow politics,” he said. “I rarely even vote.” Of course my colleague is not alone. Voter turnout is usually around 60% of those eligible to vote, and traditionally below 50% in a midterm election. Compare that to Iraq, where under threat of death, over 90% of eligible voters turned out to vote. Could it be that we don’t appreciate our democracy in America?

It is amazing to me that people will follow football with a passion bordering on fanaticism and yet remain uninvolved in their elections. Not that there is anything wrong with a passion for football, fashion, or fishing, but who represents us in the White House and Congress (and, by extension, the judiciary) is the most important thing. We the People get to decide what kind of country we want to be and what kind of government we want to have. The answers to those questions will affect our liberty, our prosperity, our everyday lives and our posterity’s future. Our founders embarked on a grand experiment to see if a government could be of, for and by the people. In order for that to happen, the people have to pay attention, and they have to vote.
I am not suggesting compulsory voting. Those who don’t want to vote probably shouldn’t vote as they are less likely to be informed on the candidates and issues. But why don’t people want to vote? Are they cynical about the impact that a citizen can make?

Some of my friends may see me as overly obsessed with politics and issues. It really has become a passion of mine in the last couple years. However, it is a passion born of necessity. I would rather live in a world where I can focus on swing dancing, Ultimate Fighting, or heck, even dating, while having utmost confidence that our elected officials are free of corruption, faithful to our constitution, and looking out for their constituents above all.

The reality however is that power corrupts, our constitution is often subverted or downright scorned, and elected officials are bought and paid for special interests and big business. We the People are the only line of defense against the failure of this grand experiment. Our Declaration of Independence asserts that government gets its just powers from the consent of the governed. Don’t we need to know what we are consenting to?

The reality of human history is that freedom is in a constant battle for its existence against the forces of despotism, the quest for power, and the tendency of that power to centralize. Our founders believed that all powers not expressly given to the federal government should reside with the states and the people. But they were not unaware of the challenge of maintaining that decentralized power:

“How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”
– James Monroe, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 10, 1788

It is not just our right to preserve liberty and the “last, best hope of the world” that is America, it is our duty.

Right after the ratification of the US Constitution a lady asked Dr. Benjamin Franklin, “Well Doctor, what have we got a republic or a monarchy” — “A republic,” replied the Franklin, “if you can keep it.”
– Anonymous, from Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787

Posted in constitution, elections, founding fathers, liberty, republic, voter turnout, voting | 2 Comments

I Want to Talk to Democrats. Please Help Me Understand

Sometimes I think that our country has become so polarized and so emotional in that divide that we can’t even have conversations anymore about principles and, hopefully, find common ground. It’s so much easier to only discuss politics with people that we know agree with us. There are opinion programs on cable news to reinforce whatever view we already hold. So we live in bubble where we only hear the echo of our own voices.

I try to watch some opposing viewpoint program at least once a week, read the progressive blog sites, etc. But even then I come away baffled. Recently I tried to engage in a dialog online on a college webite comparing Beck to Maddow. There were a lot of comments on the blog about how Glenn Beck is a hate-spewing, misogynistic, unhinged demagogue. So I tried to ask, “but why do you think that?”. You can see the dialog for yourself here. I didn’t really get any compelling answers. I can understand why some people don’t like Beck because they disagree with his principles on how the country should be run, his ideas on what the founders wanted America to be, or his criticism of this administration or congress. I told a liberal friend of mine once that I liked Beck and he acted like I told him I was joining the KKK and in jeopardy of losing my soul. I am pretty sure he never watched Beck though. I was at Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in DC and I saw a group of people uniting around the principles of faith, hope and charity, honor, sacrifice, and personal responsibility. Republicans do not own those principles. They are American principles. They have been the principles of great leaders and individuals around the world.

I digress though, my question isn’t really about Beck, O’Reilly, Olberman or Jon Stewart. I want to find the things that unite us. And for that I need to understand what misconceptions I might have about liberals and what misconceptions they may have about conservatives. So I am going to list a few things that I think define conservatives and a few things that I think define liberals (or at least progressives, because I think that progressive policies are what many in the country are rejecting). But I want my Democrat friends to tell me what they think. Are progressives taking the Democrat party too far into progressive? Am I mistaken about what I believe defines conservatism? Many of things that I did not like about George W. Bush were the areas where I thought that he lost fidelity to conservative principles. So this is more an exercise in exploration on the “battlefield of ideas”.

My conservative principles:
• We are all created equal and endowed by our creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our Rights come from God. Or said another way, they are natural rights. The government does not give us rights, they are there to make laws to protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If the government gives us our rights, the government can take them away.
• While we all want a safety-net to protect those that cannot help themselves, we don’t want a nanny state to protect those who will not help themselves. Americans have produced more, invented more and created more wealth than any other nation because of the “American Dream”. The idea that anyone willing to work hard, learn from their mistakes, and keep reaching for their dreams can make it in America.
• When entrepreneurs succeed in America their wealth creates more prosperity for others: employees, vendors, and consumer purchases, those recipients spend that money on their employees and vendors and purchases and so on and so forth. It’s called trickledown economics. Wealth is not a single pie for the government to slice up and hand out. We can all bake our own pies, and keep baking. Wealth is not finite and the “bakers” create more pie for everyone, even as they keep the biggest slice for themselves as reward for their risk, work and talent.
• All citizens should be treated equally under the law
• I am responsible as an individual for my health, my happiness, my wealth.
• It is my duty to care for others who need help. Charity in America is a concept intrinsic to our values and also intrinsic to the success of our nation. How do we care for others? When the government takes our money and hands it out to those they feel deserving we lose the “charity” and move to collectivism.

Progressive principles (as I hear them expressed)
• America is not a fair and just nation. There are the oppressors in power and the oppressed working class. The elite few will make it, but often at the expense of “the working class”
• The government needs to work towards “social justice” to make the country more equal and income distribution fairer.
• The “wealthy” or upper middle class only care about their own self-interest and will not (unless forced) take care of the unfortunate or victims in society
• We have the right to health care, housing and employment. The government must make sure that we get those rights.
• America has too much of the world’s wealth – more than our “fair share”. We are succeeding on the backs of developing nations and destroying the planet by using more than our fair share of consumption, energy, etc.
Where am I getting it wrong? What do you think are the differences between “conservative” and “progressive”?

There is little common ground in the two philosophies above. But I am wondering whether “progressive” represents many traditional Democrats. Maybe there are Democrats out there who won’t be at the “One Nation” rally in DC this weekend. The list of sponsoring organizations reads like who’s who of organized labor, environmentalists, anti war activists, socialists, and even the “Communist Party USA”. You can see more about the event and its endorsements on the event website. In some cases the local unions are even making attendance compulsory. Is this who the Democrats are now?
Have we become polarized because we have become a nation of polar opposites? Where is the middle anymore? The place where we all share the same American principles, even when we sometimes disagree on the details.

Posted in Communist Party, Conservative, Democrat, Founders, Glenn Beck, Liberal, One Nation Working Together, Principles, progressive, Republican | 11 Comments

The Wisdom, not the Right: What Do Building a Mosque and Burning a Koran Have in Common

The President felt compelled to comment on the mosque developers right to build a mosque at ground zero, but said that he would not comment on the wisdom of that decision. I don’t think anyone questions the developers’ constitutional right to build the mosque 2 blocks from where the Twin Towers fell. However, many agree that the decision is provocative and disrespectful to the emotional scars that tie that area to the Muslim extremists who took down those towers and killed thousands of innocent Americans. We are clear that those building the mosque are not the same as the Islamic fanatics who commited that horrible terrorist act. The builders of the mosque do not by their Muslim faith share the name twisted, perverted vision of Islam and Jihad that terrorists use to justify their senseless acts of violence and murder.  But to claim the goal of the mosque to to foster understanding and build a bridge across faiths rings hollow when the selected site has proven to cause less unity and more emotional turmoil among New Yorkers and Americans towards Islam.
So can we all agree that the mosque is legal and permitted, but nonetheless unwise?

Likewise, I don’t understand what point that this church in Florida is trying to make by burning a Koran on the anniversary of 9/11. Sure, they have the legal and constitutional right to burn the Muslim holy book. But where is the wisdom? Burning a book that is sacred to others is likewise provocative and fosters disunity. The fact that a church that is supposed to represent the love of Jesus would make a statement so antithetical to Christ’s message, is even more disgusting.

There are scars and fresh wounds between Americans and Islam because it is radical Muslims perverting their religion that have targeted America, “the great Satan”, for destruction. We should not hold non-radical Muslims accountable for the actions of those fanatics. And the majority of Muslims, who do not believe in the Jihad against America, should be the loudest voices in opposition to the perversion of their peaceful religion.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims can react in visceral, damaging and provocative ways that keep those wounds open and bleeding, or we can all practice a little bit more wisdom in the exercise of our constitutional freedom to build a mosque or burn the Koran – by not doing it.

Posted in 9/11, burning Koran, Christian, ground zero mosque, Islam, Muslim, tolerance, Wisdom | 2 Comments

Me and Half a Million Friends in DC in Support of Faith, Hope and Charity

My mom and I and about 500,000 friends went to Washington DC last weekend for the “Restoring Honor” rally on the Mall.
(picture from the event to the right)
To be at the Mall in DC between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial surrounded by half a million people celebrating the greatness of America, the heroism of our men and women in uniform, the message of Martin Luther King Jr and the faith, hope and charity we strive for was an experience I have trouble putting into words . Friends of mine who wanted to attend but could not asked me to try to describe the event and what it was like to be there. I find the only word that fits is “epic”.
ep•ic   /ˈɛpɪk/ –adjective Also, ep•i•cal.
1. noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style.
2. resembling or suggesting such poetry.
3. heroic; majestic; impressively great.
4. of unusually great size or extent.

I looked around at the crowd of families, patriots and average Americans and I felt the “faith, hope and charity” that were the themes of the event. I struggle to describe the atmosphere, except to say it was the nobility of regular people challenging themselves to be better people. It was the collective belief that America is only great if her people are great. It was Ghandi’s exhortation to be the change that we want to see in the world.

Military heroes were honored for their bravery and sacrifice. Over 5 million dollars was raised for the Special Operations Warrior Fund, an organization that provides support and college tuition to children of slain special forces. Baseball great Albert Pujols was awarded the “hope” medal for the extensive time and money that he gives to charities for down syndrome. Alveda King, extolled the message of her father and uncle that it is through love and divine guidance that we bring people together. Hundreds of thousands of Americans made a pledge to restore God and honor in their own lives. Glenn Beck paraphrasing Lincoln’s Gettysberg address reminded us all that it mattered not what was said that day, but what we did going forward that would be remembered. So what is it that the event asked of us?

Get back to God. Hard times are here and difficult challenges lie ahead, for us as individuals and for our country. We don’t ask God to be on our side. We change as individuals and get on God’s side. God’s “side” is not the left side or the right side. It is the side of integrity, honor, faith, generosity and sacrifice.
Take care of your family, friends and neighbors. Lead by example by being a person of character and values, even when it is not easy, especially when it is not easy.
Fight for the founding principles that have made this country the freest, most prosperous, most generous and most ingenious nation on earth. This experiment in liberty and self-governance has been the citadel of freedom and beacon of hope to the world. Our founders all too well understood that for the principle of limited government and self-regulation to succeed, Americans have to hold themselves to the highest standards with “firm reliance on divine providence” pledging our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to those American ideals. Those words are the closing of the Declaration of Independence, and of the declaration of the “Restoring Honor” rally.

I came out of the event inspired to make commitments towards these principles in my own life and daily interactions. I left with a new dedication to draw closer to God and His will for my life. I also found a new belief in the American people and our ability to unite around those things that all Americans revere. We should be able to join together in the answer to all our nation’s ills: God, honor, faith and charity. These are not just words to inspire the spirit or paste on a campaign slogan. They are the only characteristics that will save this country from the seemingly insurmountable economic, moral and spiritual challenges that face us.
Watching the main stream media’s coverage of the event was baffling. I can’t think of a single theme at the event that all people along the political spectrum of good faith and love of America could not unite behind. But I am no longer disheartened by partisan politicking and disparaging of this movement. I saw a righteous movement based on the dream of MLK, the peace message of Ghandi, and the divine plan of God for America if we submit to His will. I saw represented in the multitude who attended the millions more who will hold this country together through our most difficult times.
This movement is not Democrat or Republican. This movement is George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglas, and Harriet Tubman. This movement is Alveda King and Albert Puljos. The heroes honored at the event seem larger than life. Those heroes are not the sum of our nation though. The sum of our nation is the dads, moms, entrepreneurs, soldiers, neighbors and volunteers that follow the path these heroes have illuminated. This movement is me. This movement is you. The greatness of America and the future of that exceptionalism is based on the actions that we take on a daily basis to walk that path so “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (Gettysberg Address)

It won’t do it justice, by I encourage you to view videos from the event yourself. Then, if you concur, make your own pledge to faith, hope and charity.

Posted in Alveda King, Faith, Glenn Beck, Hope and Charity, Martin Luther King Jr, Restoring Honor | 2 Comments

Thank God the Government is there is there to Help Us Eat Better; Too Bad We Have to Pay for It.

I was just surfing the news before bed and I ran across a story that demonstrates in a few hundred words exactly what is wrong with the policies of our current elected leaders.
The gist of it is that the U.S. Agriculture Department is spending 20 million of tax payer dollars on a 7,500 person pilot program to provide a 30% subsidy to poor people who buy fruits and vegetables.

Let that sink in.

Our country is so far in debt that our kids will probably have to work 3 days of the week just to pay their taxes on the income that they get to keep for working the other 2 days. Irregardless, the all-knowing, all-meddling federal government thinks it wise to spend money we don’t have on fruit subsidies for food stamp recipients.

The proponents argue that bad food is cheap and good food is expensive, so the reason so many poor people are fat is because the healthy food is too expensive for them to afford.

Uh huh. You can get a chicken breast and a fruit cup at Jack-in-the-Box for the same price as a burger and fries. Yesterday my step dad bought whole cantaloupes at the store for $0.49 each.
It is more challenging to eat healthy on a budget. I know that to be true. It is also irrelevant. Lots of things are more challenging when you are poor then when you are well-off. That’s a big part of the incentive to earn more money.

Next week perhaps we will read an article that the government wants us to subsidize gym memberships for those who can’t afford them. It’s the same logic.

What about the kids? The Super Nanny government wants to know. How about this crazy idea? Let’s pretend that the parents are responsible for their kids. It’s a wacky idea, I know, this personal responsibility thing. Especially since we read recently that food stamp cards (they’re like ATM cards) were being used at casino ATMs. There are a lot of slot machines with fruit on them…

Let me save the government 20 million of our money: this pilot is not going to work. I guess that money is spent already though.

Posted in nanny state, subsidies, taxes | 1 Comment

Our "Leaders" Need a Trip to Comic Con

I admit it. I am a little bit of a geek. The word “terabyte” turns me on. I do own the 10-Disc Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD box set. (That’s the one with the version of Superman II that Richard Donner didn’t make). No, I didn’t go to Comic Con in San Diego last week. I was too busy looking for real superheroes, and finding so very few in our elected offices willing to stand for “truth, justice and the American Way”.

Weekly recap from the “heroes” elected to lead us

1. White House fires someone for being racist only to discover that she wasn’t racist and they didn’t even bother to get her side of the story or investigate the evidence first.
2. Federal Government suing Arizona for having the temerity to enforce the laws that they themselves are derelict in enforcing.
3. Charlie Rangel is a corrupt politician who lied and cheated on his taxes
4. We find out the Financial Regulation Bill exempts the SEC from public scrutiny under the “Freedom of Information Act” (It’s okay, we can trust them, right?)
5. The elected officials of the City of Bell, CA (pop 37,000) are exposed as having given themselves huge salaries and pensions. The City Manager was making nearly $800,000 and the police chief was making nearly $500,000. The average salary in Bell, CA is just over $30,000.

I need a hero.

Everyone familiar with the movie Spider-Man knows the famous line intrinsic to the idea of superheroes: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Our government has certainly attained the power, but where is the responsibility? They have a responsibility to “We the People”. They have a responsibility to “support and defend the Constitution the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic”. They have a responsibility to not use their office for their own corrupt, political or financial gain. They have a responsibility to enforce all the laws as if “law” means something and enforce the border as if “border” means something. They have the responsibility to be accountable and transparent to the people that they represent.

It’s no wonder that Congress ranked last on a Gallup poll last week on “confidence in institutions”. A whopping 11% of Americans trust Congress. Top on the list was the Military with 76% of America’s trust. Maybe that’s because the Military still believes in things like “Duty, Honor, and Country”.

I’m not a doe-eyed, naive believer that we can have 100% honorable people representing us 100% of the time. Still, I can’t be only one that sees that corruption, arrogance and pride have become a disease in our government. That’s not partisan. Ir’s an apolitical disease that affects both parties. The reason that the Republican and Democrat’s approval ratings are dismal and dismaler is because Americans don’t really trust either one. The only reason there’s a 10 point spread in favor of Republicans on the generic ballot is that the Democrats have made a routine of looking at the polls and doing the opposite of what the majority of Americans want. The Republicans are just standing still; only slightly better than going in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, I look for the heroes that should be there, making the hard choices that are right for America, listening to the people, and watching out for our security, but never at the expense of our liberty. Superman could have ruled the world. He had that much power. Instead he helped others without deciding for them, expecting nothing for himself. He had that much responsibility.

The reason that I am a conservative is because I believe that we are all capable of being superheroes. We as individuals have the chance to make our world a better place, make our country a better place, make our town a better place. Every human being is capable of that, we are just blessed enough to live in a country that was founded on the idea of that. It is our right and our responsibility to shape our own destiny and live our own purpose.

What is your cause?

Live it.

– Jamie A.K.A. Defender of Freedom

Posted in Arizona, Bell, comic con, corruption, immigration, Rangel, Superman | 1 Comment

Why Are We Discussing Racism?

Why Are We Discussing Racism?

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And They Called it Racism… The Tea Party Protest, Part 3


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What is the Real State of Race in America?

By now most people are aware that the NAACP came out this week and accused the “Tea Party” of not doing what it should to weed out or disavow the racist elements in its midst. I have been to 3 Tea Parties and have seen zero evidence of racism. Matter of fact, what I see in the Tea Party nationally is a loose coalition of Americans concerned about out-of-control government spending and debt. Tea Parties are also generally alarmed by the radical expansion of the power and scope of the federal government and the resulting loss of liberties. None of these uniting principles have anything whatsoever to do with the color of the president’s skin or anyone else’s skin for that matter. There isn’t any proof that the Tea Party has any real “racist” element to it beyond the possibility of a few fringe loons that can show up and latch their message onto any group. I haven’t even seen examples of these alleged racist loons successfully infiltrating the Tea Party. I have seen a handful of protesters with signs that I feel are over the top or inappropriate, such as signs comparing the administration to Nazis in their totalitarian policies. When people use hyperbole to make a point or get attention they ruin their credibility and diminish the legitimate message of the Tea Party. However, as many have pointed out, the NACCP is hypocritical in that they don’t seem concerned enough to pass a resolution condemning the racist, violent rhetoric of the New Black Panther Party when some of its leaders say they hate all white people and want to “kill cracker babies”. If any person at a Tea Party rally had ever said anything remotely as horrific it would be a national news and widely condemned by everyone. There is no evidence of racism in the Tea Party and yet the NACCP feels the urgent need to pass a resolution claiming the opposite at their annual convention. This leads me to believe that an organization with a great and important history in the civil rights movement in this country is becoming nothing more than a progressive, political shill. The NAACP has a PAC that they use ostensibly for “the advancement of colored people” but I wonder how many black conservatives they are donating to in this year’s primaries.

Ironically, I could count on one hand the number of times I even thought about race in my life, politics and relationships until people started accusing me (as part of the Tea Party) of being racist for opposing President Obama’s legislative goals. Even though I didn’t vote for Obama, based on differing policies, I was proud that America has come so far in race relations that we elect a man to the highest office in the country based on what he says and not the color of his skin.

Can we take an honest look at the state of race in America? Am I somehow unqualified to give my observations because I am white? I heard a dark-skinned immigrant from India say the other day that if you leave your house in the morning expecting to be discriminated against you will find evidence to support that belief because any rude treatment or bad things that happen to you will be considered a result of the color of your skin. He also said that if you see America as a generally non-discriminatory country, then that is what you will likely experience. On a side note, did you know that in India a popular product is a topical cream used to lighten the hue of Indians with dark skin? I challenge anyone to find any other country whose movement past wide-spread racism happened as quickly and thoroughly as in America.
Does racism exist in America? Sure. Racism is a human problem that has existed from the beginning of time. You can find actual racism in the rants of Mel Gibson or in the hate speech of a New Black Panther. America also has a shameful past of racism with slavery and segregation

Here is what I see: the vast majority of Americans are abhorred and ashamed of America’s past racism. Most white people today truly embody Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of judging a person on their character and not the color of their skin. Likewise, most black people don’t hold today’s white generation accountable for their ancestors’ obscene ignorance or racial malice. Rather most blacks today judge a white person based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I am ashamed of America’s past of slavery and segregation, but I am also so proud of how, as a country, we have achieved equal rights for all and equal treatment under the law in only a few decades. Those racists that still exist in all ethnic groups in America such as the white-power skinhead or the black-power Black Panther are remnants of past bigotry and ethnocentrism, but they in no way represent American at large or even a significant percentage of Americans .

I am angry and frustrated by those who play the “race card” or try to trump up racial divisions for their own power or political gain. We have come so far. Can’t we celebrate that? Real racists in America are unaccepted, ostracized and outcast. If a person showed up at a Tea Party with a sign saying “Lynch Obama” as the NAACP claims, or if someone called a black congressman the “n-word” as others claim, I can guarantee you that the Tea Party members witnessing or hearing such hate would be the first ones to throw the kooks out of the party. I was once at a Tea Party in Los Angeles where two guys showed up with white supremacy signs. Everyone at that Tea Party made sure that those hate mongers were not allowed in our midst and we let them know exactly what we thought of them and their repugnant ideology. A few fringe racists might try to give the illusion of legitimacy to their messages of hate by associating themselves with mainstream groups, but that doesn’t mean that the Tea Party wants them there or would even allow them there.

Let’s all remember that our founders, although personally imperfect as all humans are, founded this country on the perfect principle that all men are created equal. The principles that America was founded on belong to all people, of all shades of skin color. Martin Luther King Jr, also an imperfect human being, brought forward the perfect message of equality and judgment on character, not color. His message belongs to all people as well and he is a personal hero of mine as much as Washington or Adams because all, flawed in their humanity, were transcendent and divinely inspired in their alchemy.

Posted in Black Panther, NAACP, race, racism, Tea Party | 1 Comment

It’s Not About Parties, its About Philosophies

I love the political season. So ripe with possibility. I get that patriotic feeling when I go vote. I feel proud and grateful to be an American and to have been blessed to be born in the most free nation on Earth. I feel empowered by a sense that “We the People” can make a difference because our founders blessed us with the best and longest enduring constitution and form of government on the planet. It is the closest thing that the world has to “self-government” and has changed the world for good in so many ways in the last 250 years.

I hate the political season. Just as my hope soars eternal, I get bombarded by all the “politics” of politics: name calling, finger pointing, scandals and accusations, political hacks unwilling to enter into real debate on issues, the usual. For the most part it’s not the people – the average democrat or republican voter – it’s all the paid politicians and strategists out there who make a living off of constantly creating “bad guys” and “good guys” for the people to respectively blame and give power to.

I just want us to have an honest discussion in America about what kind of country we want to be.
Do we want bigger government with more control of our lives, business and finances? Do we believe that it is the duty of the federal government to solve the world’s ills? How about our own personal ills? Am I responsible for providing myself food, clothing, shelter, health care and employment? Is that the government’s job? Or is it the government’s job to protect my rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? See the Declaration of Independence didn’t say that we had a right to happiness. That would mean that the government would be responsible for making sure that everyone was achieving happiness. No, we have the right to pursue that happiness. The dictionary describes it as “to strive to gain or accomplish”. That word pursuit tells us that our founders understood that it is the individual’s right and responsibility to strive for and gain, or not gain, happiness. The outcome of that pursuit is not guaranteed.

The founders understood something that so many seem unwilling to admit today: government does a poorer job at almost everything than the private sector, local governments and individuals. With the exception of the US Military (which is the finest in the world), the federal government has failed at every other large undertaking and expansion of its role in history.
Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are so broke and unsustainable that all 3 systems will completely fall apart in the next few decades if not drastically cut, changed or funded. The “funded” option would require tax increases up to 88% of income for top earners and the bottom percent income tax payers would go to 37%, up from 9% today. The trustees of the funds for these failed policies say that if drastic change does not occur now, chaos may ensue later. Very few courageous politicians are even willing to be honest with the American people about the situation and the need to phase out or restructure these programs, but the American people are figuring it out anyway. I won’t be counting on a dollar of the 80K+ I have paid into Social Security. I don’t even know how much I have paid into Medicare and Medical.

Europe is flashing us a big ol‘ sign right now. It says “Warning! Danger Ahead!” The reason that countries in Europe like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal are collapsing under the weight of their own government and spending is because they promised their people more than they could ever provide. Sound familiar? They are just a bit further down the road than we are. But guess what? California’s economic situation is actually worse than Greece. It won’t be long until California petitions the federal government for a bailout because we are “too big to fail”. And New York’s government may shut down completely on Tuesday because they can’t pass a budget because no one is willing to make the cuts necessary to balance the budget and the people are over taxed as it is. New York spends nearly $15,000 per year on every child attending a public school. What do they have to show for it? Drop out rates continue to increase every year. Average Private school in New York is just over $6,000 per year. I guess that’s just another case of the private sector doing it better. So why did DC shut down the widely successful school voucher program last year? In a fight to keep the program, Senator Joseph Lieberman said “There are some powerful forces allied against this program. We happen to have the facts on our side. We also have justice on our side.” The facts: 1700 low income students in DC were given $7500 in vouchers to attend private schools. Less than the average $14000 per student DC was spending on public school. The “power forces” that Lieberman mentioned? Public Employee and Teachers unions who do not have the stronghold on private schools that they do on public schools. Who won? Obama and the democrats in Congress sided with the unions. Of course, the unions are their biggest single contributors, so maybe that’s why. Or maybe they just really believe that those 1700 low income students gained nothing from being able to attend private schools.

I could make a 200 page blog on the failures of big government and it’s programs. We can talk about how the government banned DDT 1972 against the testimony of experts who said it was safe and at the behest of environmental groups like Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club. I could explain how that ban cost the lives of hundreds of millions, especially in Africa where Malaria is the number one killer of children. In 2006 the UN finally reversed it’s policy and endorsed DDT as an tool in the fight against Malaria and other Mosquito borne illnesses again. Too little, to late for the victims of the diseases.

How different from that is a cap and trade bill that will harm humans economically (Obama said electricity rates would “necessarily skyrocket”) and which even environmental scientists admit will have no discernible effect on the environment?

Let’s put a real end to “politics as usual” and decide what kind of country we want to be. Let’s bring the debate out in the open. Far-left progressives from “Code Pink” recently shouted down and threw things as Nancy Pelosi during a speech because they don’t think that she is progressive enough. Those kinds of Progressives who want to transform America into more European style social democracy can make their arguments as to why that is a good idea and what will keep us from falling into economic catastrophe like the countries in Europe that serve as the model.
More moderate Liberals can make their arguments for some growth in government size and power, such as what we have seen in this administration with health care reform, financial regulation, nationalizing student loans and government majority ownership of banks and auto makers. Moderate conservatives can make the argument for “compassionate conservatism” with some safety nets, but reduced scope of federal government provision, intervention and control. Libertarian type conservatives can make their argument that the federal government has far exceeded it’s constitutional bounds and that we shouldn’t have 90% of the government programs and agencies that we have today. Then they can explain how they plan to wean people off all the existing government programs without the chaos that austerity measures are creating in Europe today.

Ironically, based on my reading of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and other writings by our founders, they fell on the far conservative side, not in the middle.

So let’s have the debate. Let’s bring all sides in to argue the merits, historical support, and execution of their designs and see who America chooses. That is the power of the people. You give us the facts and lay out your argument and we can make the right choice. We don’t need government making our choices for us. The government does not know better and nor can they do better than the America people. That is why our Founders gave the power to “We the

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