It is human nature to look backward and assess where we’ve been. And, because we’re about to close out the 2000s, it is our nature to offer a ten-year assessment of the decade gone by. From the standpoint of our efforts to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, was it the worst era in American political history? No, but certainly not a happy one, and in case you’re wondering, that’s not a commentary on 2009 alone.
Yes, we’ve botched the 2000s in oh so many ways, the fault not only of the political leaders of our time but those who stood back, watched it happen and said nothing. Under President George W. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress , we saw marked expansions of government and encroachments on people and states with programs such as No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D and the Patriot Act.
Under the new Congress and the Obama administration, we have a failed so-called stimulus plan that has plied the next generation with extreme indebtedness. We have new mandates on businesses and soon, socialized medicine and the requirement that everyone must buy health insurance as a condition of their lawful citizenship. As Cassius would say, “The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” I have no doubt that it is we who have created the conditions that brought us to this day. We can blame the political parties, individual politicians or so-called special interests. In reality, indifference is a culprit. So is the choice of Americans who remained quiet out of an act of loyalty to their political parties rather than loyalty to the Constitution.
I tend to be optimistic. It’s a new year and we now have the realization that we stand on the precipice. Anytime you’re on a cliff, there are but two choices: Keep moving forward or turn around and do something different. This is a singular opportunity do something not only different but remarkable: To be the people we’ve always talked about; to be the Paine, Henry, Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison of our time.
The choice is obvious: We can no longer afford to wait in the background and wait to see what happens. We can no longer afford to tune out the insipid stuff we call “politics.” Instead, we must be energized by freedom and enraged by the threat of the loss of it. We must teach the lessons of liberty with the interest we share when we talk about sports or prime time television. And we must defend the Constitution as the Founding Children – the guardians of a legacy that can continue for ages if we’re willing to work at it. That requires patience and persistence at the local, state and national level.
Every day, I hear from Idahoans who are determined to make the difference. Earlier in the year, many of those folks formed with their friends and neighbors in tea parties, and those groups are still working. At the time, detractors said the movement wouldn’t last, that these were “fringe” people who would soon be silenced by their own lack of energy. On January 18, many of those same people – and new entrants onto the field – from throughout Idaho will converge on the state Capitol to encourage the Legislature and the governor to stick up for state sovereignty and to protect Idahoans from the federal government’s unconstitutional mandates and usurpation of the rights of Americans. It is clear evidence that interest in this commodity we call “liberty” has not faded.
It is human nature to look backwards. That is true. But, it is also true that it is human nature to be free, and that leads me to believe the best days are still ahead for our state and our country. Have a Happy New Year.