Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Jewish owned shop in Berlin circa 1930 – Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

Last weekend a dear friend invited me to attend the play, Cabaret, with a group of friends.  While I am far from being a sophisticated connoisseur of the theatre, I do enjoy a good story.  Moreover, this particular play, Cabaret, by Christopher Isherwood, really speaks to me in the ever-increasing irrationality that is our world today. Although I would never claim to be a film critic, I would be remiss not to mention that director, Derek Whitener did a superlative job.  The cast were all professionals and although I expected it to be good, I didn’t expect the story to grab me emotionally and not let go.  As a writer and a freedom activist, I consume far more of the tragedies and insanity that embody the daily news cycle.  The talented cast of musicians and actors flawlessly executed a story arch that took the characters and audience alike from a world of escapism that was the late 1920’s into pre-war Berlin on the verge of embracing Adolf Hitler’s militant fanaticism.  Not only did individual characters grow and change along with the times, emotionally, I found myself grieving for the Berliners from eighty-five years ago as they lived through the event’s first hand.

Rachael Robertson as Sally Bowles – Photo Credit: Michael Foster

The Cast really did a wonderful job, but in particular I was impacted by a few characters in particular. Emcee, played by Mikey Abrams was the central figure in the story and as such, it fell to him to carry the story from scene to scene.  I found him to be creepy, funny, frightening, and the end of the story tragic as events washed over him.  Mr. Abrams is clearly a talented young man.  Lindsay Hayward played an older woman, Fräulein Kost, who simply wanted to hold on to the world she knew. Like many Americans today, she was too afraid to risk what little she had to really live her life.  In a sense, she was a prisoner of her own reality bias.  How many of us simply refuse to accept the truth before us when that truth implies that everything we hold dear may likely be lost.  Finally, Sally Bowles, portrayed by an immensely talented Rachael Robertson, and her on-stage love interest, Clifford Bradshaw played by Billy Betsill depicted the quintessential questions we face today. What impacted me was most was the raw emotional surrounding the decisions faced by the couple as they did their best to cope as society fragmented around them.  Several days later and I still find myself reliving a gut-wrenching scene when Sally Bowles is devastated by events, and like so many of our neighbors, family and friends, she simply refused to accept that profound darkness was descending upon them.  For his part, Billy Betsill did a great job expressing his frustration at being unable to get those around him to realize what was coming.

They say that history repeats itself. Stories like Cabaret illustrate that in spades.  Director, Derek Whitener really did a wonderful job bringing those truths out in a way that emotionally connected with the audience.  I often say that art is the way to reach people.  This kind of story can inspire Americans to wake up to the abuses we are seeing by elites in Washington DC, even if only subconsciously.

The story is set in late 1929 – early 1930, only a few short years prior to the event which literally lit the fuse to full scale totalitarian rule in Germany. After the February 1933 Reichstag Fire, Hitler eviscerated freedom of the press, requiring all news to be approved by Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.  Goebbels aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, as well as the press.  In today’s world we have leaders from both political parties working very hard to erode free speech in America with bills like the “Free Flow of Information Act” designed to give political leaders the authority to decide who may cover them and what can be said near an election.  In our America of 2014, how important would you say pleasure seeking is to the average citizen?  Obviously there are millions of concerned citizens from all political perspectives, but we have all cringed as we watched late shows doing so-called man on the street interviews.  Entertainers like Jimmy Kimmel asking people what they thought of the president’s State of the Union Speech, before it happened, and actually getting answers from people is really funny, but at the same time, tragic.  In Cabaret, Clifford Bradshaw has a great moment, where in frustration he asks the Sally if she ever read a newspaper. The truth is that like the characters in the play, too many Americans just want to tune out and leave politics to the politicians.  There are always so-called experts with impeccable credentials more than willing to tell us what must be done.

Rachael 2

Mikey Abrams – Emcee – Photo Credit: Michael Foster

While there is certainly nothing wrong with entertainment, how like Sally Bowles are so many of our neighbors, so unconcerned with the real issues of the day. After a hard day at work who could blame us for just wanting a little diversion.  The riots in Ferguson give us a hint at the underlying tension and division in the country.  Our Elections from this past century reflect this division.  The vitriol in the country continues to increase every year.  Political leaders will say and do almost anything to win.  Like Sally Bowles, Many Americans choose to be ignorant of the tough issues of our day.  The last two presidents have borrowed and spent vastly more money than all previous presidents combined.  While ISIS establishes a Caliphate in the Middle East, we have a border crisis with tens of thousands of people pouring into our country illegally, government abuses of our Bill of Rights, and the militarization of the police go unnoticed as emotionally detached citizens sit in front of their favorite television shows.  In a word, so many of our neighbors, family, and coworkers simply don’t care.  Life is a Cabaret, after all.  Leaders in both parties realize we no longer have a stake in defending our own freedom.  They know full well how easy it is to manipulate a witless population into promoting their agenda by convincing us to turn on each other, Republican versus Democrat, black against white, or men against women. Where will our apathy lead?  Sadly, as Clifford noticed in the play, apathy inevitably takes us to where it always takes us, into a period of profound darkness.  The question is, are Americans like Fräulein Kost, fatalistic with good hearts, but unwilling to stand up for what we know is right?  Are we willing to look past the hyped up, or even manufactured differences, with our neighbors to seek common ground with our neighbors?  Are we willing to live like men and women determined to be free!

 

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, By Erik Lawson

Additional Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Flow_of_Information_Act

http://www.businessinsider.com/jimmy-kimmel-pranks-pedestrians-on-obamas-state-of-the-union-2014-1

 

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Justina Rally

(Photo credit: Keith Mason/Personhood USA)

The interesting thing about writing a blog is that it documents your thoughts, view of life and the world around you from a historical perspective.   In looking back over the past few months, it’s apparent that my outlook is pretty pessimistic.  The truth is there are stories every week about the innate goodness of people.  Americans are standing up for people they don’t even know all the time simply because it is the right thing to do.

Last week thousands of people got involved in the case of Justina Pelletier, a fifteen year-old girl who was essentially kidnapped by Boston’s Children’s hospital because doctors at Children’s disagreed with the doctors at Tufts Medical Center about the girl’s diagnosis.  Regardless that both hospitals are renowned medical institutions Boston’s Children’s Hospital violated the parents’ rights to make decisions for their child.  In an incestuous arrangement with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, custody of the girl was given to Children’s.  Only when thousands of Americans began calling state representatives and the hospital did the Children’s back away.  The world is a dangerous place, but when we stand together we can make miracles happen.

The primary point of writing these articles has been to relate current events to my novel.  Phoenix Republic is economic collapse story and thus it does have some dark moments.  It also has its share of hopeful elements, however.  While I wouldn’t try to make the case that I am Mary Sunshine, I really don’t think of myself as a pessimist either.  I think it’s important to talk about what current events might mean to every day Americans.  Yes, I am very concerned about Americans holding onto our freedom.  I lament that our form of government is being fundamentally transformed.  What was designed as a republic is rapidly morphing into something that resembles an Oligarchy, ruled by elitists, who are quite certain they know what is best for all of us.  Yes, I believe that the United States, as Republic of free men and women is in danger, but I also believe in Divine Providence.  I also believe that more Americans are waking up and standing up every day.  While the present disaster that is our current state of affairs in America is disconcerting and the country is in trouble, Americans are an amazing people.  If we can win enough hearts and minds to embrace freedom over collective coercion, we can once again reestablish America as a free country.

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This week I watched Frank Crapra’s  Meet John Doe.  Watching this wonderful old black and white film, made me realize how there is nothing new under the sun.  The movie is set in the Great Depression.   It is about an elitist progressive class working to corrupt a freedom movement that sprang up out of a newspaper stunt.  What’s wild is that I realized that I was really watching a current events movie.  While the times are dire, Americans, pulling together realize that they can make a difference, regardless of overwhelming odds.

We may be have two distinct cultures as I wrote about in A Tale of Two Americas, but even the approximately forty percent of progressive America still have our traditions in common with those of us who are inclined to be self-reliant and want to be free of government overreach.  The vast majority of us desire the same things.  We want an equitable country where everyone has a chance at living a good life.  Americans differ on how to achieve these goals, but at least the fundamental underpinnings of American life is something with which we can all agree.  My belief is that Americans are basically good, regardless of the superficial arguments made in Washington DC and in the media.  There may be progressives in the establishment political parties that wish to keep Americans at each other’s throats so that they can hold onto power, but I believe the truth will prevail in the end.  The whole reason for writing Phoenix Republic is to remind readers that each of us has it within us to achieve greatness.  Working together, even a small minority of committed men and women, determined to live free, can impact the hearts and minds of a nation.

The issue we run into in the United States is that we are all human, and we all have human weaknesses.   Progressives believe that citizens must be collectively forced to behave in a way that is beneficial to society while the freedom movement is about believing in individuals to make those decisions based on individual morals.  I often mention that the country is too broken in too many places to fix and that the social contract has been shattered.  While I believe this is true I also think that where there is life there is hope.  Over the past few months I have posted and pontificated at length about any number of gloomy news stories.   What I am thinking today is that while Phoenix Republicis about a dark economic future, but it is also about family and pulling together.  It is about standing on principle for what is right.  It is about faith and loving one’s neighbor.  To prevail over really bad outcomes, we must all find common ground and find ways to live and let live.  The good news is that there are stories every week about the innate goodness of people which show that there people doing what’s right for people they don’t even know.

Additional Resources

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/03/good-news-in-the-justina-pelletier-case/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/04/the-8-year-old-boy-who-did-something-incredible-for-a-soldier-now-wants-to-help-other-military-families/

NY Gov

Have you ever had one of those discussions with someone and come to realize halfway through the conversation that you are just not on the same planet with where they are coming from?  Perception is everything and any large group of people are just not going to agree.  We all see things our own way.  We value different things.  Being able to act on our beliefs is what is known as freedom.  Regarding politics in America we see this divergence during every election.

Briefly stated, approximately 40% of the vote typically goes to Republicans.  Approximately 40% typically goes to the Democrats, leaving 20% for the establishment parties to quibble over.  Regardless which of these two parties lose, the acrimony is palatable.  This gets expressed with statements like, “We just need to get along.”  We hear people say, “I don’t like all the arguing.”  Pundits tell us that one party or anther needs to court the so-called undecided.

Lets be honest, the truth is that there are two Americans with wildly divergent world views.  We want to think of ourselves as one nation; indivisible with freedom and justice for all, but this characterization is a fiction.  Yes, we all share the same history and culture in a general sense, but we haven’t been “one nation” in a very long time, but I digress.  I’ve written on the two American cultures before, but today I am more interested in talking about the underlying principles behind our two cultures.

What if the key to our politics is not whether one is conservative or liberal, but is about how they perceive topics in their daily lives?  While I do think there are selfish and even evil people out there, I also think that most of us want the best for people.  The rub comes in how we consume and process news about our world.  Our two American cultures differ greatly on how to achieve the most good for the most people.  In other words, who decides what is best, depends on trust and how one group or another sees the world.  Progressives assume that if you do not hold certain beliefs there is no discussion to be had.  In fairness, Fundamentalist Christians hold the same view differing only in what they judge to be appropriate.  In both cases, progressives in both parties are more than happy to use government power to force their view on everyone.  My point of view is that this is a fool’s errand.  The real answer to achieve the best good is not compromise or attempting to destroy one side or another, but to live and let live.  The founders knew this when they created system of Federalism.

As an example, a story on the Blaze yesterday talked about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stating that so-called “extreme conservatives” have no place living in New York.  What does that mean?  His speech noted that “extreme conservatives” are not who New Yorkers are.

Seriously?  There are a little over nineteen million people in the state of New York according to the census with approximately half of those in New York City.  Does he really expect me to believe that conservative New Yorkers somehow don’t belong there?  Just ten percent of that number is almost two million people.  According to the NYS Board of Elections the Republicans got just under 36% of the vote.  In other words approximately two and a half million New Yorkers voted for Mr. Romney.  Obviously, many of these people are not what Gov Cuomo would call “extreme conservatives”.  On the other hand, how many so-called “extreme conservatives” didn’t bother to vote in such a fascist environment?  If one were to multiply nineteen million by 36% they would find that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of six-point-eight million Americans in the state of New York who to one extent or another are relatively conservative.  If say half of that number are so-called “extreme conservatives” that would be like three and a half million Americans that Governor Cuomo says should leave the state.  Can you imagine that headline on the news?  Mass Exodus of Political Dissidents from New York State!

Progressive establishment politicians in both parties seem to be desperate to make hay out of the fact that there is a full-on battle going on in between Republicans who support limited constitutional government and have respect for the Bill of Rights and progressive Republicans who have an authoritarian point of view, who, like the Democrats embrace borrowing money to force Americans to live as they would have us live.  The truth is this argument is about power and who gets to control our lives and our money.

The Governor asks:  “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay?”  Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

He and people like him assume too much.  They assume that if a person holds one view that they disagree with they must hold all of the views they disagree with.  They assume that there is no valid argument that could possibly be made for any point other than theirs.  That is why progressives preach tolerance but mean that others are free to believe whatever they wish, as long as those beliefs coincide with the progressive point of view.  In other words, we are all free to agree with them or else.

As a lesbian who happens to believe it is immoral to murder children in the womb, and who believe it is my God given right to bear arms to defend my life and my freedom, I qualify for two out of three of his attributes of what an extreme conservative is.  No doubt, I am not welcome in the State of New York.

My take-away today is this.  The founders knew that the country would have divisions.  They designed a system designed around sovereign states who share power with a sovereign federal government.  If things today functioned as they were designed we would have a limited federal government.  It would only be responsible for the common defense, a robust transportation network, and a very few items that could be agreed to by everyone as being for the “common good.”

political model

All of the social welfare and regulatory laws should reside in the states.  If the United States functioned as it was designed, today we would have fifty choices of what level of progressive intervention by government with which we whished to live.  If one wanted a cradle to grave welfare state one could move to California or New York.  If one wanted individual responsibility one would likely live in Texas.  We could live and let live.  No need to compromise one’s basic principles and no need worry of being pushed into a conflict because one side or another can not tolerate their rights being violated.  The United States is a nation of over three-hundred-million people.  A nation split into two camps, each trying to force its will on the other will never result in anything but anger and distrust in the best of circumstances and an outright tragedy in the worst of circumstances.  My novel, Phoenix Republic depicts what a disaster like this might be like.  Lets pray we don’t find out.

Additional Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/18/andrew-cuomo-if-extreme-conservatives-are-right-to-life-pro-assault-weapon-anti-gay-then-they-have-no-place-in-the-state-of-new-york/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntLYrc6bEGI

Photo Credit: George Roelofson

When nations are faced with the ramifications of catastrophic economic collapse, things can become dicey for citizens.  Let’s face it, life today is pretty hectic.  Typically, both parents in a family have to work full time to make ends meet, and that is assuming there are two parents and not only one.  In our routine day to day lives, we have kids and their school activities, social obligations, and of course family who require out attention.  It is easy to get lost in the day to day and not have the time or energy to take a step back to see the macro view of our lives.  It is easy to just accept the cliff-notes view that is handed to us by the mass-media.

Consider, if you will, a nation that has out-of-control spending and ever-increasing regulation.  This nation had suffered a financial collapse with ever-increasing unemployment, and as a result, it repeatedly attempted to use “shovel ready” public projects to get its citizens working again.  A recovery could not be achieved, so this nation’s leaders felt they had no choice but to begin printing more and more currency to artificially prop up the financial system.  As always occurs, this led to unprecedented levels of inflation.

This scenario above depicts a nation experiencing a catastrophic economic collapse.  Human beings being human beings responded by demanding security.  Leaders being leaders responded by seizing power and taking steps to control the situation.  Unfortunately the situation was uncontrollable.  As things became dire, this nation’s citizens were willing to grasp at any straw as long as someone would make their lives work again.  They were willing to accept almost any degradation.

The nation, vulnerable and financially bankrupt, was a fertile field for an opportunist to take advantage of.  This opportunist represented a party that was willing to make one segment of the population a scapegoat for the economic hardships that citizens were experiencing.  In effect, this leader blamed the rich.  As you might guess the strategy was fantastically successful.  The only problem was that the nation’s constitution guaranteed rights that were a problem for these parties’ plans.  The solution was to ignore those constitutional guarantees.

Picture from article by: Daniel Castillo By now you have likely guessed what nation I am referring to.  What is frightening is that when we see today’s news, how much of what happened then is taking place now.  I noticed on this week, on the first Friday of the New Year, a judge ruled that the majority of Americans were now subject to search and seizure of their electronic devices like laptops and iPhones.  That’s right.  If you live and work within 100 miles of the coast or a international border, this ruling says law enforcement can go through your belongings on a whim – no search warrant needed.  In similar fashion, earlier last week, Americas witnessed citizens lining up in Connecticut to register their weapons and ammunition.  This is another key step that earlier regime took.  I have noted other examples in earlier posts, but you get the point.  My thought is that it is our duty as American citizens to keep our eyes open and take note of the news items we see, not as an individual incident, but as a puzzle piece in a larger picture.  It is incumbent on each of us to resist the loss of freedom lest we find ourselves going down the same path that German citizens did in the 1930’s.  There is a threat out there from terrorism, but my question to you is this.  Are the government over-reaches and their ignoring our constitution really making us any safer?  I can only speak for myself, but I am much, much more afraid of unaccountable government thugs than I am of terrorists.  If nothing else, there are many more government thugs, who while ‘just following orders,’ who can ruin a person’s life than there are terrorists in America.

The reason I wrote Phoenix Republic was and is to get Americans to wake up to the big picture.  We all have things we believe in and we should all do what we can to win hearts and minds with regard to achieving the best for our country.  My point is that there is a bigger picture than left vs. right politics.  We do not all have to agree on individual policies but it is imperative that we all agree on defending freedom.

Additional Resources:

First hand accounts:

The first of these, a woman named Irma from Massachusetts talks about the comparison between today’s America and what she experienced in Germany.  This is very compelling and I highly recommend listening to it.  The second link is another woman who lived under the Nazis.  Her presentation is 46 minutes long.  It is instructive and compares Germany to the US today – with excerpts of current events juxtaposed with the historic events she is speaking to.

Irma Shares With Buck Sexton The Horror of Living Under Tyrannical Government 

Related news stories:

http://www.truthandaction.org/judge-reaffirms-constitution-free-zones-100-miles-inside-u-s-borders/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/31/looks-like-weimar-germany-the-viral-photo-out-of-connecticut-thats-giving-some-gun-owners-chills/

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/1920s/Econ20s.htm

In Phoenix Republic the novel explores responsibility and decision ownership.  A disaster befalls the United States and Western Europe, and the question of how to cope is thrust on to the stage.  My goal in writing Phoenix Republic was to encourage readers to think about the world we live in and what may be coming.  Communism cannot tolerate any other master other than an all-powerful state.  When you consume the news every day, where do you think decision ownership lies in the stories you are viewing?  Is it with the individual or some so-called expert or leader?  Are Americans free or are we to fall into line with what our masters dictate?

Throughout the 19th century Communist, or if you will, collectivist movements have arisen in all parts of the world.  The Soviet Union in 1917, The Chinese 1949, Cuba 1953, and any number of Socialist or Communist take overs in since then.  What this typically boils down to is a simple question of who should decide how best to manage affairs of a nation.  Socialists believe in a collectivist approach – that a nation’s assets should be shared equally amongst all citizens.  In contrast, Capitalists believe in the individual, thus each person makes decisions regarding how their personal assets should be managed.  You’re thinking, “No Kidding.” Right?  This is patently obvious, but yet news story after news story in today’s media cycle boil down to the question of who decides.  Today’s culture is replete the attitude that so-called experts should decide everything and that common citizens are just not qualified to make judgments.  We see these stories related to medical decisions, to home schooling, and to government.  How often do you hear someone you are speaking with take the position that our political leaders are justified in their various actions because they are somehow considered to be more informed than we are?  The point I am trying to make is the tendency to let other have ultimate responsibility for your live or for the lives of your children is lazy and dangerous to a freedom loving republic.  Our republic is designed for free men and women to actively take a part in governance.  When this responsibility is outsourced the outcomes are often terrible.

justina pelletierThere is a case going on right now where a hospital, Boston’s Children’s Hospital decided they knew better than the parents and the girl’s primary doctors at another prestigious hospital, Tufts University.  The physicians at Tufts diagnosed the girl as having mitochondrial disease.  Unbelievably, Children’s Hospital managed to convince a judge that they knew what was best for the child.  This judge proceeded to terminate the parental rights of the girl’s mother and father, giving her care to the Children’s Hospital.  Understand that this is not a case where parents are denying a child medical care for religious reasons.  This is a case where parents sought out qualified medical help.  In fact, not only did they seek assistance from one hospital, Tufts, but they took their daughter to Children’s for a second opinion.   Then after deciding the best care for their child was to stay with Tufts, an all-powerful state was able to override their parental prerogative and kidnap the child.  Today the young woman is imprisoned in a psych ward at Children’s, where she has lived in captivity and in constant pain from her condition for almost a year.  She has gotten a couple of notes out to her parents to ask for rescue, and the parents have been allowed heavily supervised visits of like an hour a week, but that is the only contact that is now being permitted.  Unbelievably, it isn’t just the parents that are being denied contact with this young woman.  In addition to the mom and dad, Children’s is also denying her the ability to see officials from her school, her friends, and even her doctors from Tufts University Medical Center.

In another current story a German family legally moved to the United States for the right to freely educate their kids in accordance with their religious beliefs.  They had to leave Germany because a progressive law, initiated by Adolph Hitler, is still in force there that requires that all children must be educated by the state.  There are no exceptions.  The family sought asylum here in the US and it was granted.  Now however, the Obama Administration has decided that this family should be expelled from the country because in their collective wisdom, religious persecution, (which this nation was founded on by people who wanted to escape exactly the same thing) is not sufficient for them to remain here.  The other aspect of the story is that parents are not deemed worthy to “homeschool” their kids because so-called experts with a degree and state approved credentials must be given that responsibility.  Watch the accompanying video and tell me that this family should be broken up so that the state can prove its Orwellian power.

I think that the truth behind politics today, or if you will, the root cause of America’s trouble is that in any totalitarian regime the state must be the supreme authority on everything.  It isn’t acceptable for a family or the individual, or even God to be allowed to trump the all-consuming power of the state.  In all forms, tyranny must be complete because even the slight deviation from state authority leads to another.

When Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union began trying to have a little capitalism to compete with the west, my partner and I looked at each other wide-eyed.  You see, we had learned in college just a few year before that tyranny must be complete to seize or remain in power.  By relaxing control so that the Soviet Union could compete with the West, people who had no freedom experienced a taste of it.  Collapse was inevitable.  In our case, people here, who are not accustomed to the boot of tyranny on their necks don’t recognize central authority for what it is and blindly allow it happen to avoid the responsibility of self-determination.

Additional Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/06/glenn-beck-explodes-over-latest-developments-in-case-of-boston-hospital-holding-teen-against-parents-will/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/10/25/european-socialism-why-america-doesnt-want-it/

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.

Phoenix Republic - The Lone Star Gambit

A novel about adversity and personal redemption.

Phoenix Republic is a political thriller describing an economic pivot point that follows three sisters as they struggle with the destruction of Western culture’s credit driven way of life.  Following an economic collapse and the fall of the U.S. dollar, three women from Texas each struggle to overcome personal failings as they make their way back home to the Texas ranch where they grew up.