On the Eve of the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime - Let's Hope We Get it Right | Beaufort County Now | When a curious woman approached Benjamin Franklin as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787 and asked him what kind of government the delegates had given the people, he replied: "...A Republic, Ma'am, if you can keep it." | General Election - 2012, United States Republic, United States Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson

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On the Eve of the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime - Let's Hope We Get it Right

    When a curious woman approached Benjamin Franklin as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787 and asked him what kind of government the delegates had given the people, he replied: "...A Republic, Ma'am, if you can keep it." That's hopefully what we're doing here, with this forum, and other such forums around the state and around the country... we're learning how to keep our republic.
Benjamin Franklin considers the future of this fledgling Republic: Above.

    Once the Constitution was ratified by the States, the American experiment began. The Constitutional republic that our Founders envisioned and provided became a place of freedom and opportunity for countless millions of people from all over the world. The experiment was successful because our system was based on enduring principles which recognized that human beings, although imperfect, are capable of excellence when left to pursue happiness while endowed with certain liberties that their government is obligated to protect and while also enjoying a government that was designed to step aside to allow the human spirit to soar. Here in this country, for the first time, human rights were grounded on the grand notion that man is born with certain God-given rights and not on the premise that rights are granted by government. Furthermore, our Founders declared that government is created by the people for the People, for their own convenience and for the protection of their most fundamental, God-given rights - to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Our Founders knew that the best way to protect those rights was to have a limited government, of defined powers, and dependent upon the consent of the people, who themselves, would understand and cherish those principles.

    As we look around the world and notice how difficult it is for democracy and freedom to take hold and flourish, our country seems like a political miracle. It is indeed a terrible, but awesome, burden that we carry for all people yearning to be free and independent to make sure that our experiment proves to be on solid ground, on solid principles, and therefore a continued success story. We may be Republican or Democrat or Independent or Libertarian, but it is our collective faith in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, that makes us American.

    In 1776, Thomas Jefferson drafted a Declaration of Independence that would come to define our nation. It continues to be our moral compass. It is a remarkable proclamation of human rights -- brilliant in its concept, clarity, and choice of words. The Constitution of the United States is also a remarkable document. It is an extraordinary mix of governmental limits, checks and balances, and divisions - all intended to secure and enlarge for posterity the individual's sovereignty as proclaimed in the Declaration. Our Founders made sure to give us a government of limited and clearly-defined responsibilities, reserving to the States the true power over We the People, where it can be most responsive to us and our interests. The genius of the Founding Fathers was their ability not only to grasp the revolutionary ideas of their time, but also to devise a means of implementing those ideas in practice, a means of translating them from the realm of philosophic abstraction into that of a political reality. This is the unique and grand heritage to which every American citizen is born and to which posterity is entitled.. . Or as one author of the anti-Federalist papers, Robert Yates, put it: "for ages to come and millions yet unborn."

    We were first introduced to our founding principles when the colonies advanced their cause for separation from Great Britain with the Declaration of Independence. In their case to a "candid world," they explained that the American colonies viewed liberty and the role of government in a different way than the British and as such, their society was incompatible with their mother country. It was within their right of self-determination, they argued, to break their political bonds with the King and Parliament and secede from their union with the mother country and form an independent nation. In the Declaration, Jefferson wrote: "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

    With regard to the colonies' unique view of liberty and role of government, the Declaration states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness... That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government." Listen to these words.. Written into our first founding document is the profound truth that the power of government comes from the people. The people are the sovereign beings from which the power and authority of government is derived and for which government must serve. That was quite different from the approach recognized in other countries -- where governments were ruled by the Divine Right of Kings or barbaric tyrants. The rights of the people were always an afterthought. The Declaration of Independence represented a profound paradigm shift in the understanding of the basis of government.

    Thomas Jefferson and our other founders embraced the philosophy of John Locke who in the late 17th century wrote about the rights of Man and the proper purpose and relationship of government. Locke took the concept of Natural law (Man has rights because of his humanity) and applied it to government, and we see his vision - and indeed his very words - in the Declaration. Jefferson's second paragraph, in short, was John Locke's philosophy on government. But his philosophy was not universally embraced. In fact, it was quickly replaced by one which stated that the proper role of government was one that created the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. The "Individualist" approach of John Locke was replaced by the "Collectivist" or "Utilitarian" approach of those to follow - such as Jeremy Betham. Our Founders specifically rejected the collectivist approach and opted for the philosophy which saw each person as unique and endowed with fundamental rights that he can rightfully protect from the plunder, destruction, misappropriation, and misuse by others. In fact, that would be the very basis of our government - to protect the individual rights of Life, Liberty, and Property from the plunder, destruction, misappropriation, and misuse by others - and also by the government itself. How grateful we should be that of all the countering government philosophies to choose from, they chose the one articulated by John Locke to define our nation.

    So how did we get from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, and how are they related? The Declaration was essentially a resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress to inform King George III that America had decided to separate from Britain. It essentially had no legal effect on the colonies, but it did provide a common statement of ideals that the states readily adopted and which they wanted to announce to the rest of the world. The Preamble makes such bold claims as the following: (1) that "All Men are Created Equal"; (2) that Man has inalienable (nontransferable) natural rights to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"; (3) that the role of government is to protect those rights; (4) that government is "instituted among men" (representative government) and its power comes from "the consent of the governed" (that is, it has no power except that which the people give it); and (5) that when a government becomes counterproductive of that goal, it is the right and duty of the People to "alter or abolish" that government. The American people cite these provisions as among our founding core principles. But the actual legal basis for our government, including its scope as well as its limits, comes from the Constitution. The Constitution defines the legal relationship between the individual and his government. The Constitution that was drafted in Philadelphia and signed on September 17, 1787 was only a proposal to the states. It was the states which had to agree to the terms and ratify it so that the federal government thus created could carry out mutually beneficial services in order that they could function as a Union rather than 13 independent states. And only after proper explanations and guarantees of the limited nature of the Constitution, assurances that the states would not lose any sovereign powers not duly delegated, and a promise that a Bill of Rights would be added, the states finally adopted the document.

    Relying on Locke and other brilliant thinkers (including Montesquieu on the "Separation of Powers" and "Checks and balances" doctrines and Adam Smith on free markets), our Founders indeed came up with a unique, magical formula, not embraced in any other country, which, with every detail, limits government and enlarges individual liberty like never before. That unique formula, in a sentence, is this: Maximum Liberty = Minimum Government. Our Founders took those human rights and liberties that the British had fought so long and hard to keep from the reaches of the King and secured them more firmly for us - by acknowledging the sovereignty of the individual as the basis of community and government. Individual liberty is not secure when government cares more about its own interests than those of the People. Though battered and bruised, the Constitution of the United States still remains the framework for our nation's government.

    After decades of detachment from what's been going on in government and in the courts and generations of ignorance of our founding documents, we are turning back to the principles that define us as "the land of the free." But what we've realized is that while we've been busy living our lives, enjoying the comfort that no other nation in the world offers, and trusting that the government has been educating us on important lessons about our country in the public school system, the Constitution had being eroded and shredded. We wonder if it still protects our fundamental rights as strongly as it was intended. We wonder if it will be intact and will have the integrity in the future to protect the rights and interests of our children and grandchildren, or will it just continue to be clay in the hands of an ambitious government. I believe the Constitution is so fundamentally re-interpreted and is so radically altered with such amendments as the 14th, 16th, and 17th that we may never get back the protections of liberty that our Founders tried so hard to secure in the Constitutional Convention and the state Ratification Conventions. We have lost vital government "checks and balances" elements with those amendments, including the total destruction of one of the fundamental pillars of government - the equal protection of each person's property. I believe our real concern right now is whether the government will now try to erode our more precious document - the Declaration of Independence. We can already see how it is transforming our system from an "individual" centered model to a "collectivist" or "utilitarian" one.

    This issue is an important one - LIBERTY MUST BE PROTECTED AND DEFENDED. The task falls to We the People. Liberty must be deserved or no free society can long survive. So how will we know when we deserve it? First, we must be good enough as human beings to be trusted with liberty because with it comes great responsibility. And second of all, we must protect it from "injuries and usurpations," particularly by our own government. That means we must be eternally vigilant and responsible in our election of representatives. We must be educated and informed and we must hold their feet to the fire. After all, the greatest check on government is accountability to the American people and the power of the ballot box. The words that should guide and motivate every American are those that Ronald Reagan spoke to us: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

    The Constitution was indeed written for those who have the most to lose and therefore would have the greatest incentive to be vigilant, educated, and decent - We the People. We were supposed to keep an eye on our government. We were supposed to be responsible depositories of power. We were supposed to be a good and moral and religious people - a people who lived decent, restrained, law-abiding lives who required little government over them and therefore could be trusted with the government that our Founders gave us and capable of passing liberty on to successive generations.

    Although we hear arguments today by atheists and agnostics who disavow the role of Christianity in the founding of our nation, our founding settlers and Founding Fathers knew the real role of religion. There may have been no place for religion in our Constitution (for then we would be duplicating the religious oppression of the King and his National Church of England), but it was intended to serve a critical role in the lives of those who sought to remain free. Only a moral and religious people are fit for liberty. John Adams and George Washington gave us this advice. A moral and religious people have no need for a big government. A moral and religious people need few laws to regulate them for their conduct is decent and ethical. Only a society that places proper emphasis on religion and morality can expect to secure liberty for themselves and their posterity. England's Lord Acton wrote: "Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and therefore, religious and spiritual influences, as well as education and knowledge." John Adams wrote: "The design of Christianity was not to make men good riddle-solvers or good mystery-mongers, but to make them good men, good magistrates, and good subjects, good husbands and good wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants." He also wrote: "We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."

    We know that our country is suffering a constitutional crisis. In fact, we often question whether our representatives even know what the Constitution says or means. But in this crisis, we are learning the true brilliance of that document for we can see the direct consequences of a government that has refused to abide by its limits. It's no secret that the size and scope of government has dramatically increased. For example, in the last decade, private sector jobs increased by only 1%. Federal jobs, on the other hand, increased by more than 15%. The fact is that while people were losing their jobs and families were struggling to keep their homes and put food on their tables, government was growing. And while ordinary folks, like all of us, just wanted to work and protect and build our businesses, Congress used the recession to grow government. Congress has used every opportunity to grow government. Both Republicans and Democrats have been complicit. We all know that government positions pay a lot better than private sector jobs and they're much more likely to be secure. After all, as Reagan said, the closest thing to eternal life is a government bureau.

    Do you think people who work for the government will vote for spending cuts? Do you think they'll vote to eliminate government jobs and therefore decrease the size of government? Approximately 16% of the voting population work for government. Most people have at least one person close to them - a spouse, a parent, a child - who holds such a job and will therefore most likely vote with them so they can keep their job... especially in this economy. So that means that at least 32% of voters will vote to support the current size of government.. When that number reaches 50%, then its GAME OVER. Big government will be here to stay and the fundamental transformation of government, which we know will threaten individual liberty, will have taken place...... not by rebellion, not by protest.. not by evil intent.. but by stealth.

    Today, most 'laws' actually are rules and regulations enacted by bureaucrats in government agencies, not statutes passed by elected lawmakers. Even when Congress does pass legislation, such as the Dodd-Frank financial reform law or Obamacare, lawmakers leave many blanks and expect rule-makers to fill them in. That means the bureaucracy, staffed with federal 'experts,' essentially exists as an unelected fourth branch of government. There are over 1,300 government departments and agencies. It is said that there are so many rules and regulations that any one of us, at any given time, is breaking at least one of them. If the government wanted to come after you for any reason, they can surely find one.

    Furthermore, under the guise of an undefined War on Terror (which is not a country or a defined enemy, but a tactic), the all three branches are turning the watchful eyes of government inward, on We the People. First of all, there is the official Homeland Security Report - the "Rightwing Extremism" Report - issued in April 2009 which says that conservative groups such as veterans, gun rights groups, religious groups, constitutional groups, and those who dare to express frustration with government are potential "domestic terrorists" who pose a greater threat of violence in this country than radical Islamists. Apparently, the easiest way to get on that list is to go around mentioning the Founding Fathers, or dare to cling to your guns and religion. The president has expanded his powers under the Patriot Act, in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) so that now he can target American citizens with indefinite detention, torture, and even death by simply accusing them of being enemies of the state. He has personally killed at least two American citizens by drone attack.... denying them habeas corpus or the benefit of charging them with a crime.

    You might ask: Isn't the Supreme Court supposed to define what is constitutional and isn't it supposed to protect our rights? Well, consider this: In 2008, the Supreme Court decided an extremely important case called District of Columbia v. Heller, a second amendment rights case. It was a narrow 5-4 decision. The 4 liberal justices wanted to support the government's right to regulate gun ownership and ban guns when they see fit. They don't believe the second amendment gives individuals the right to own and bear arms. They believe that individuals have that right only when they are part of a militia. Our second amendment rights are only very narrowly protected at this point by the Supreme Court. The government claims that even though the second amendment has been upheld, the Court left open the scope of that right. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has publicly stated that she wants the issue to come before the high court again when another liberal justice has been appointed by President Obama so that "they can get it right." If this doesn't concern you, consider the healthcare decision which I'm sure felt like a sucker punch to your gut. I know it took my breath away. When you look at those Supreme Court decisions that evidence a clear departure from our founding intention to create a limited government, this is one of them. With that decision, Justice John Roberts has announced that not only can the government tax us when we engage in certain conduct but it can also tax us on what we don't do. What good is your freedom when your conduct is no longer that of your own choosing? What good is it to hold the title to property when the government holds the power over the life and death of that property?

    Forgive me if I appear suspicious of the federal courts. Thomas Jefferson warned us about the power of Supreme Court and the inherent corruptibility of an institution vested with great power but ruled by men motivated by the same interests and political ambitions as ordinary men. He accused them of coming too close to playing God. He described the Supreme Court as working, like gravity, day and night, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, until it finally usurps all the power from the States and hands it to the federal government.

    Our Founders separated government power into three branches of government -- legislative, executive and judicial -- so that they would check each other... not so they can conspire with each other to destroy our liberty interests. Each branch was supposed to keep each other in line, not look the other way. Our Constitution has managed to hold up for more than two centuries, with only occasional modifications through the years. Those are the 27 amendments. As the Constitution dictates, it is the amendment process outlined in Article V that is the proper way to make changes to the document; NOT by judicial interpretation and NOT by re-classifying the Constitution as a LIVING DOCUMENT.

Patrick Henry once said: "A monstrous national government was not the solution.... Many had to die to be free from such a regime."

    200 years ago, our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to pursue the course for liberty. Today, our politicians routinely sell out their sacred honor for the chance to become career politicians. And just as sad, we have a huge segment of the voting population who has abandoned the promise of liberty for the security of a government check or government service.

    Without liberty, we are slaves. Maybe not to be constrained with whips and chains, but rather with rules and regulations, conditions, taxation, fines, and imprisonment. If we can accept that, then we are ready for a master and deserve one. On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry stood before the Virginia House of Burgesses, to address the growing tensions between the colonies and Britain and to urge the body to adopt a resolution to organize a state militia. He said: "The question before the House is one of dire importance to this country. I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery." He ended that speech with the immortal words: "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"






Comments

( November 11th, 2012 @ 1:35 pm )
 
Yeah, a little bit to all that, but you will always be my "Little Buddy."

And we need to meet Monday.

Still, "Crazy 'bout the 'Sixties'".
( November 10th, 2012 @ 3:36 pm )
 
I am odd. And short! And Crazy for the 80s!

See you Tuesday, fuzzy-faced man.
( November 10th, 2012 @ 3:03 pm )
 
Me thinks Michael finds Diane a curious oddity indeed.

I meet with Diane Tuesday, and we will not be talking about Michael - that I promise.
( November 9th, 2012 @ 10:21 pm )
 
Michael, I am encouraged by your response. I'll try not to be so depressed, although the economy is daunting and my chances for a job continue to be very slim. We'll see if things turn around in North Carolina.

New Brunswick is an area I spent a good part of my life in. I moved from East Rutherford to Plainsboro to work at Princeton University. I was going to enter a doctoral program there but the researcher I wanted to work with failed to receive tenure and went to Baylor, in Texas. In hindsight, I probably should have moved to Texas. I stayed in Plainsboro for a few years until I saved up enough to buy an old victorian home in Hightstown. I got married shortly after that, had my 4 kids, and graduated from law school in 2000. After 11 years in Hightstown, we moved to Greenville (just a few days before the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001). I was a successful lawyer in Jersey but it isn't easy finding a position in intellectual property in my area of Pitt County. I enjoyed working at a lab bench in molecular biology and if I had my choice, I would love to be doing that type of work today. Again, there aren't many labs doing genetic engineering research in this area.

In the meantime, I run my Tea Party group, work with the NC Tenth Amendment Center (I'm Deputy Director), and I write. It keeps me active mentally, but not necessarily physically. But I enjoy what I'm doing. I certainly admire you and your wife's generosity with Uncle Sam. While it's nice to take care of so many people with other people's money, and you have no problem with that, there are others that do. And we read about those concerns every day. I've even written about such concerns. There is a fundamental liberty implication in that issue, which as someone who has studied the constitution, causes me great concern. But there is something else that bothers me with the nation's current path and I see it with my own children and with my friend's children. I have 3 daughters and 2 are extremely bright. Both are high honor roll in all honors classes. They study hard and barely leave their desks. My eldest has to work a lot harder for her grades but she tries. All are gravitating to the science and math fields. When they talk about what schools they want to go to and what careers they want to enter, I noticed that they have downgraded their goals. Two wanted to be doctors. They don't want to pursue that path anymore because the health field scares them. With all the apprehension over Obamacare, they don't want to get involved and be regulated and have so much government intervention. They think they will be overwhelmed with paperwork and they think that will frustrate them. So now they are talking about careers with less responsibility and less oversight. It breaks my heart. My best friend's daughter, Diana (named after me !) who just started college, made a painful decision on Wednesday. She told her parents that she planned to scrap her plans for medical school and go into nursing instead. She is an amazingly gifted child who is without any doubt on her way to graduating at the top of her class. She said she didn't want the government to look at her income and tax her just because she happens to be successful. She said something really good - which I hope I can recall it with justice. She said she was changing her major as a matter of principle, even though she was giving up her dream job. She said she would rather make less money and live with a good conscience than make a lot of money and have to live with the reality that a huge chunk would go to the government to support people and policies that offend her. I went to school with her father. We were the big chemistry and math geeks !!

If you live near Pitt County, then we will have to meet someday.
( November 9th, 2012 @ 8:48 pm )
 
Diane, it would be great if our paths eventually crossed so we could discuss these issues. Tea would be great but it would have to be of the Long Island variety. Yep, I was born in the U.S. and likely not far from you..Englewood, N.J. I grew up in Lunenburg, MA. My grandfather on my father's side was from New Brunswick. My grandparents on my mother's side were from Nova Scotia, I believe. That family history’s a bit vague. My father's mom was from Finland.

To be honest, I think most political divisions stem from whether we were born and raised in urban or rural areas. In most rural areas, folks have lived next to one another for generations. When someone's in need of assistance, it's usually readily available from friends, neighbors, and local organizations. This isn't true in urban areas. When you're down and out, it's a dog-eat-dog world and you can only hope that some help will come to you and those you support in the form of government assistance.
My wife and I received WIC after my first son was born. I was working 60-plus hours/week in kitchens while finishing up my Bachelor’s on the GI Bill. I’m exceptionally grateful for the free diapers, milk, cereal, bread, etc. we received and I’ll always be happy to give back. I’ve since earned my Master’s in information science. I’m an academic librarian and I can honestly say I can’t imagine a better profession. My wife is a project manager at a large law firm. I think she’s outrageously well-compensated and, in addition to her salary, she gets outrageously large bonuses. She’d argue with me on the “outrageous” part. But neither of us complains when 36% or her bonuses go to Uncle Sam.
I know there are some who abuse social programs. In the same light, I know there are some EPA and OSHA regulations which are entirely asinine and counterproductive. This situation doesn’t necessitate the elimination of social spending and regulations. I believe some conservatives see flaws in governance and are willing to sacrifice the good for the sake of the perfect. I’m not. There’s room for improvement but the dialog needs to be honest and open.

A large part of my job consists of evaluating sources for validity, accuracy, and bias. Unfortunately, most Americans (liberals and conservatives) rely on op/ed pieces from commercial sources. I believe in the value of peer review and I base most of my views on what I read in scholarly journals. What I’ve read in these publications has not supported Romney/Ryan claims about economic issues. I’ve heard the claims that academia is “liberally biased.” But where’s the profit motive? Academics stake their careers on what they publish and review for their peers. PhD’s are hard-earned and they mean nothing once credibility has been sacrificed for a political cause.

I’ve read and heard plenty of personal accounts describing Romney’s character. I don’t doubt that he is a truly decent and respectable individual. However, I don’t think he’s capable of wrapping his mind around the adversities some people face in life. I think Obama has this ability. And I think it’s a prerequisite for the presidency.
I also think our nation’s political discourse over the last 18 months has been entirely dishonest. I’ve yet to find a reliable source which supports the notion that oil prices will go down if we increase drilling on American soil. To see low gas prices, look at Venezuela. Its oil industry is nationalized and it has the lowest gas prices in the world. The allegedly radical and Socialist nature of Obamacare is equally questionable. The individual mandate was supported by Nixon, Reagan, Gingrich, Milton Friedman, Romney, and the Heritage Foundation. It garnered this support because it mandates individual accountability. And I have an impossible time imagining Obama as a Socialist when he has the backing of Goldman Sachs (in both presidential campaigns) and allows the likes of Larry Summers and Geithner to influence economic policies.

As always, thanks for responding thoughtfully to my comments. Diane, I think you’ll always be politically engaged and you certainly shouldn’t feel depressed or dejected because of the election results. Politics swing on a pendulum. That’s part of the problem. If they could only stop mid-swing.
( November 8th, 2012 @ 2:20 pm )
 
You might be right about your analysis, but voters themselves have determined the outcome. I think more should have done their homework. I know you are very sharp and analytical. You've done your homework and you've weighed the costs and consequences and come up with a decision that you believe is in the best interests of the country. Reasonable people can differ in their opinions as to what is the best course for this country. One day we will meet and have a drink (even it its coffee or ice tea) and talk about our differences and ultimately have great respect for each other. I think we already do.

I'm curious. Were you born here? I know you mentioned that you lived in Canada. If you were born in Canada, how long have you lived here. The reason I ask is because I wanted to know if you've noticed a fundamental change in this country over the course of your life. I can honestly say that the country today is nothing like the country I grew up in back in the 70's. And I miss the days when I was able to walk around a clean, safe neighborhood and apply for any job I wanted (and get it!) Everyone got along well back in my small ethnic town in northern Jersey. Everyone looked out for everyone else and the church was the center of town life. My Mom worked up to 3 jobs to keep our house and raise my sister and I, but still found time to join the PTA so she could be in the school system and keep an eye on us. My parents divorced when I was 10. My sister and I were honors students who took our education seriously, even though we often had to come home to an empty house and be responsible for ourselves. My Dad drove a truck and was gone across country most of the time. He didn't make much. Neither my mother or my father would have ever accepted a dime from the government. As they told us over and over again when we were growing up and figuring out what to do with our lives: "We didn't come to this country to take money from others. We came here for an opportunity." Mom was first full generation American (her parents came from Italy). Dad's parents came prior to WWII and in fact his father fought for the US in WWI and died many years after the war ended from complications of a wound that never healed properly. His wife, my grandmother, died from a broken heart. She refused to leave his bedside and when she finally did, she had contracted something she caught in the hospital and quickly sucumbed to it. Dad was an orphan at age 4. He quit school to work to help his foster family out and then joined the Navy. To this day, at age 83, he still drives a bus to earn some money. If my mother, back in the 70's, would have had to go on government assistance, she would have died of humiliation. It would have killed her dignity and self-esteem. She would never have been able to show her face in the community. And that's the way it was growing up in my town of North Jersey. Strong work ethic. Education was the highest priority. Personal responsibility. People got married and then had children. No one in my high school got pregnant. You didn't dare do such things. There was still an unwritten code of conduct and morality.

Here is something that John Stossel said: "There's this saying that 1% of the people make things happen, and 9% watch the people make things happen, and the other 90% wake up one day and say, 'What happened?' And I think that's probably true. And the 9% and the 90% don't think that hard about issues." I think that sums up this election. Most people didn't think hard about the issues. I think it was more important that the candidate had a "D" or an "R" next to their name rather than what the best solution is for the problems that face the country. Stossel also noted that the United States is no longer the freest country in the world. It's not second or third or even fifth. It's not even in the top 10. Currently there are 11 other countries which have greater economic freedom and civil liberties than we have. Stossel's prediction is that we will continue to reject an approach based on individual liberty (this means not only have we destroyed the Constitution, but we are on the road to rejecting our Declaration of Independence as well) and will stick with a big-government approach to solving society's problems. We predicts that the dependent class will atrophy and government will have to print more money to pay for the promises that it can't possibly keep - Medicaid and Medicare in particular. In the end, he says, we will continue to have a diminished life and a limited ability to "pursue happiness." (ie, we will continue to fall further down the "Freest Nations in the World" list)

This is a bleak future.

I'm sure you know how hard it was for me to write this response given how the election didn't turn out as I would have liked. I'm depressed and dejected, for sure. But we must press on.

Thanks Michael for keeping me engaged.
( November 7th, 2012 @ 7:15 pm )
 
Diane, I can't help but wonder why your articles are accessible via this website. Your articles and the reasoning behind them are vastly superior to everything else I've found here. You and I disagree on many, many issues but I respect your sincerity. It's clear that love of country and intellectual curiosity are are your driving forces. They're mine as well. I believe I did the rational, intelligent, and responsible thing when I voted for Obama.

The Republicans should have won this election easily. However, they selected a candidate almost entirely lacking in credibility. They focused on petty issues like birth certificates and college transcripts. They labeled Obama, who is obviously in the pockets of the Wall Street elite, as a Socialist. He was heavily backed by Goldman Sachs and an endless line of millionaires and billionaires in both elections. Americans recognized these accusations as absurd, spiteful, and petty. And Obamacare..it requires capable Americans to purchase insurance from private insurance companies. This is a FAR cry from a Socialist agenda. There were countless legitimate criticisms which Republicans could have aimed at Obama. But they went with the most outlandish and lost as a result.



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