The Price of Freedom

Posted: October 7, 2013 in Current Events, Opinion
Tags: ,

Patriot Standing Up for Freedom

Americans defying the government shutdown.

For this week’s article, I thought that I would go with an out and out opinion piece about where Americans find themselves as the political class in Washington DC debate the government shut-down.  I am not going to pull in external references or try to convince anyone of anything.  Instead, I thought I would wax philosophical for a moment.  I think that the truth is that of those Americans that are engaged enough to care already have pretty solid opinions on who is to blame for childish mess those in the political class find themselves in.

While most would say the battle is about Democrats doing battle with Republicans, I suspect that is about all that most of America would agree on.  Depending on whom you ask the battle about one of the following struggles.  Democrats are looking out for the poor beleaguered middle class who are suffering because the Republicans refuse to allow them to do their jobs for the American People.  They would say that Obama-Care is settled law and that the shutdown is the result of a desperate Republican Party to deny healthcare to hard working Americans.  As you might expect the Republicans would say that the American people are suffering because Obama-Care was ill-conceived and is in fact so disastrous that it killing jobs, reducing people’s hours and destroying the greatest healthcare system in the world.  Actually there is yet another strategic player in this drama and that is the “Freedom Movement.”  This group of Americans is represented by a few but very vocal political leaders.  When you see names like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, or of course Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky you may think you are looking at Republican leaders, but what these leaders really represent is something new.  These men and a growing number of representatives in the House of Representatives are actually a growing faction of Americans that although they reside in the Republican Party, they are fighting battles with the Republicans  that are more heated and desperate  than any fought with the Democrats.  These leaders represent the “Freedom Movement.”

Are we talking about a new third party?  Who knows, but I would suggest that at the very least Americans are witnessing a battle for the heart of the GOP and quite possibly the birth of a third party.  It is a very difficult thing for this to happen in this country, but not impossible if the stakes are high enough.  The Republican Party was in fact in just such a time in the run-up to the Civil War.  If you are interested, Google the Whig Party…  In a nutshell the Whigs became out of touch with too many Americans over the issue of slavery.  As human beings we are all subject to living within an envelope of what conventional wisdom says is practical and likely.  For politicians this predilection is almost overpowering.  Politicians, you see have enormous egos and want to believe that only they truly understand their constituents needs and what they want.  In other words the need to be popular is more important to them than almost any other consideration.  Prior to the Civil War the Whigs and Democrats considered any number of arrangements and balances of power around the issue of slavery.  I believe that many of these men knew in their hearts that it was abhorrent to tolerate other men and women, Americans being held as property, but they just could not figure out how to get out of an intractable situation.  Instead those opposed to slavery played politics and tried to incrementally move towards the universal equality envisioned by the founding fathers.  This didn’t do a lot for those Americans held in bondage, but I guess it let them sleep at night.

In contrast to the Whig Party, the upstart Republicans wanted decisive action to end slavery.  Obviously they were able to pull off this rather auspicious goal.  Think about it in terms of someone living at the time.  A group of people considered as way outside the mainstream were taking bold stances against an entrenched and fundamental foundation that underpinned half of the country’s economy.  If these men were successful it would destroy the economy of half of the country and almost certainly cause a civil war, yet here we are.  Clearly, it is self-evident that enough Americans were fed up enough with the status-quo to elect Abraham Lincoln as the first Republican president.  While I have no idea if something like what happened then is just around the corner for us, I can see and almost feel a profound level of distrust and unrest boiling over in America today.  Other than committed partisans on one side or another, it is obvious that a vast number of Americans no longer trust the government of the United States.  I could care less if someone votes Republican or Democrat.  If they are being honest, I believe that most of us would say that we do not trust our leaders.  They have lied to us for decades.  They twist the facts and engage in political theatre to keep us mollified by kicking the ball down the road.  The problem is what happens if you run out of road to kick that ball down.  Isn’t this essentially what happened in 1862?  There just wasn’t any further wiggle room to wallpaper over the underlying economic and moral issues of the day.

I am profoundly concerned with the danger America finds itself in.  We are the greatest nation made up of an inventive and good people, but we are also human, and as such we are prone to not wanting to rock the boat.  We all know that much of what we witness every day is wrong but we accept it anyway because that is just the way it is.  My point is that this is very dangerous territory.  Passions are high, the rhetoric used by the politicos is beyond inflammatory, and many Americans truly despise or maybe even hate our brother and sister Americans on the other side.  But for the Grace of God do we avoid an unimaginable calamity.  Every time a pundit on radio or television discusses the battle between Republicans and Democrats, consider for a moment, the root cause of today’s battle.  I would posit that whether a given topic is supported by liberals or conservatives is not nearly as important as what the solution to the issue being debated is.  In today’s world where the established political class in Washington DC is working very hard to assert control over most aspects of life it matters very little if it is the Republicans or the Democrats who vote for usurping our constitutional rights.  Republicans and Democrats have passed legislation (NDAA) permitting citizens to be held without trial.  Republicans and Democrats have passed repeated bailouts committing our children and grandchildren to a burdensome debt.  The battle today is not about left versus right, but rather about freedom versus oppression.  The new political dynamic is more about “Authoritarianism versus Libertarianism than it is about our traditional parties.  Men like Senator Lindsey Graham, or Senator John McCain are working hand in glove with President Obama and Majority Leader Reid to infringe on the rights of free Americans.  What would be amazing is if all of us could watch the news in terms of freedom and Oppression instead of our traditional party affiliations.  Does whatever is being debated make you more or less free?  Regardless of how you might like a proposed solution, how would you feel about an opponent having that very same power?

Freedom is hard work and as they say Freedom isn’t Free.  Hold you individual liberty dear for it may not always exist.  The whole point behind Phoenix Republic is to illustrate in a novel what losing freedom might feel like.  In the real world it is up to each of us to avoid such an outcome.

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