The other day, a couple of you offered up the thought that “the time for talk is over. The time for action is now.” I took the time to address it on a very minimal level, with the promise of dedicating a post to it tonight. So I am going to talk about what we are doing here. I am also going to discuss what other folks are doing and my thoughts on that. And most important, I am going to discuss a bit of the “doomsday” feeling that I see from some of the folks here, and why I think it is a little bit of an overreaction. There is a potential for trouble, for sure. But the political reality in America is akin to blaming Iran for acquiring a nuclear weapon instead of acknowledging that we wouldn’t have to care if we hadn’t done things to make them hate us in the first place. The problem lies in the system, not the Democrats. I will lead with the increasing feeling that doomsday is just around the corner…
I know that some of you feel like this is the apocalypse. I don’t think that it is. I have seen Obama called the anti-christ, and the man that is going to ruin America if we don’t stop him now. I don’t think that he is. He is a massive personality that is being treated like a cult leader, in my opinion. We need to stop here for a second and think about the reality of this situation in a logical and well thought out way. First, the apocalypse. This is not it. What we are seeing is the natural and somewhat regular cycle of progressive reform versus conservative fiscal policy. While I agree that progressive reform is flawed in its thinking, we are not seeing the end of our country or anything that dramatic. This is not the end of America. The current administration has moved with great speed in implementing reforms as they see fit. And I imagine that they will continue to do so. They believe that they have a mandate from the people, and they believe that they are implementing what the people want.
It will not “end” America. That is not to say that America won’t “end” at some point, but the current administration is not going to be the one great cause of that. We have to separate our emotion from our reason here. They are spending massively. That is not good. They are implementing social programs that resemble socialism. That is not good. The are intruding into private industry in ways that resemble fascism. That is also not good. But these things are not fatal in and of themselves. They are what happens regularly in our system of cyclical power. And they will fail. They will fail because they are not based in sound principle, but instead on emotion and flawed reasoning. America will go on despite what this administration does. It always has. And we are in this situation because of the conditions prior to Barack Obama. He is the result of 50 years or more of social engineering. The programs of FDR were far more reaching than anything we have seen from this administration, at least thus far.
America will change. And that is natural. We have lived well beyond our means for far too long. As a result we find ourselves in an economic crisis. Despite the pundits who wish to lay this problem at the feet of the Republicans or at the feet of the Democrats, the reality is that we must lay the blame at the feet of ourselves. We were not fiscally responsible, we lived beyond our means, and we are now seeing the result of that. Government did little more than enact programs and policies that made it possible for us to do so. Government does not make someone live off of welfare. Government provides the opportunity for someone to be able to. Government’s mistake is not in trying to find a way to take care of people, it is in choosing the easier route to deal with where we are.
It is far easier to find a way to deal with the situation that we find ourselves in (what government is doing) than it is to find the root of what put us here, and takes steps to change that root (what government is not and has no intention of doing). I will address this topic more in a post later this week. The point is that this administration is not going to succeed in “destroying America” in the way that many believe. They are a phase, much like bell bottoms. People will realize that it doesn’t look so good and eventually move back towards the right. In the mean time, the administration is going to do things that we don’t like. They are going to do things that we know are not logical. We cannot stop this. You say to me that we have to “act now before it is too late”. I say to you, we are well past that point, my friends. You are far too late to think you can stop this movement by force.
I know that action is what is called for by many people. America is a country of “doers”. Here is the problem. While you have been out doing for yourself (a righteous endeavor!), there are those of a different philosophy that have been out “doing” for 50 years. And this is the result of their action. The mistake is to think that we can suddenly jump up and realize what has happened and reverse this quickly or through force. There are a few problems with thinking that we can.
First, I understand the panic. I hope that you can understand that I do not panic. My life experiences taught me to see the situation and figure out how to react without panic. Keep a level head and plan a course of action. That is what I am doing now. It sounds like some of you want to put yourselves out there and challenge the United States Government. I warn you, that is suicide. You cannot hope to beat them. They are ALL aligned against you, regardless of party affiliation or position. The United States Government is the most powerful in the world. They have brought many countries to their knees, as many proud veterans have discussed. And yet there is a belief that a “grass roots campaign” will somehow do what no country or army in history has done, bring the American government to its knees. Bend the American government’s will to doing what you say. Understand this: They can take your money. They can take your property. And they can take your life. And they are willing to do all three if you challenge them in the wrong way. Action is good. Hasty action will not be.
Second, the United States government IS NOT THE PROBLEM right now. What we are seeing from government is a consequence of the real problem. The problem is the United States citizen. They are apathetic. They have their head in the sand. They are too busy to be bothered to do what is necessary to keep government under control. They have been this way for a very long time. As a result government has been able to grow to unprecedented size and scope and power. They are uneducated (politically). They are unable to think critically. They have a mindset that is completely flawed in demanding entitlements, demanding equal outcomes, and clinging to 100 years of social engineering that made them this way. Until they have an “AHA! moment”, this will not change. They do not see individual freedom and liberty in the same way that you and I do. That is where the change must occur. Everything we see today stems from this. Not the other way around. Understand this, and you will see why action is called for, but not the type that some are espousing.
Finally, I will address the following claims:
- What we all have been doing on this site is good, yet I believe that we have talked the problems to death and now it is time for action. Having continuous discussions on philosophy ad infitum is useless.
- We can discuss philosophical ends and the means to achieve those ends until hell freezes over, but if we do not actually DO something all we have done is waste time listening to ourselves talk. Is that so hard for your intellectual minds to understand?
- I ask you this BF, USW, and JAC; with all due respect, what have YOU done to engage in the current government system to try to effect change? To lead the citizens? Been elected to office? Started a group that espouses your principles and built a platform on which to make your local or state government sit up and take notice? Initiated a voter referendum drive?
- And don’t dare say that GA or myself or anyone else will fail by engaging. Because I have already got wins under my belt.
Points 1 and 2: Painful to hear. And disappointing. Discussions are not useless. They are necessary. If we are going to move forward, we had better do so with a plan that is going to work. Speed is not nearly as necessary as quality. There are some things that we can be doing, and I believe that we are. But that does not mean that the discussions stop. There is not a stopping point for discussion. It must continue. I will not dedicate my time and energy to a failed plan, not if I can avoid it. And that means whatever action I take will be done so with the proper reasoning and logic applied prior to action. It does no good to rush the room, get gunned down, and say “damn, I should have thought this out better first”. At that point you are done, and you have failed.
My “intellectual mind” understands a lot of things, including your being antsy to get to work on the part of the plan that uses the talents that you have in spades. As I have said, there are actions we can and should be doing now. They do not include a direct assault on government. That is not only a losing proposition, it will not get us the change that we are looking for. If there is action you want us to take, speak it out loud. Let’s talk about it. And let’s do so with reason, so that if we decide to put efforts behind a plan, it is the right one to expend our limited resources on. For example, the talk of petitions to repeal the 16th Amendment are great in theory, but I am not yet convinced that even a successful campaign to do so would be more than a slight speed bump for government as it exists. We should figure that answer out before we go sinking millions of dollars and millions of man hours into attempting that change, should we not?
I hear much disgust with the current administration and the speed at which they operate. We see the flaws in their plans and take great pleasure in pointing out that they are so eager to act quickly, that they miss the realities that will cause their plans to unravel. In a rush to “act” they implement cap and trade. In a rush to “act” they implement TARP. In a rush to “act” we get the stimulus bill. In a rush to “act” they announce closing Gitmo with no plans for how. Let us not be so eager to act that we make the same mistakes. Tell me your plan. We can discuss it. We can dissect it. And we can figure out WHETHER IT WILL WORK. If you sent me a plan on Saturday and I posted it on Sunday, I bet we would have it dissected and have the answer to that question by Thursday. If that is “too long” to wait, then I submit you don’t have time to implement it anyway.
Point 3: I cannot speak for BF or JAC. I can guess that for you to ask those questions of BF, you are doing so rhetorically, because we can all ascertain the answer to that. His philosophy and belief would not align with engaging government in any way. After all, doing so would be acknowledging that they have authority over him (His words, not mine). As for me, I have not sat idly by. I attended the Tea Parties. I rallied people to that cause on this very site. I have met with several different community leaders in the first steps towards being a more integral part of the local political landscape. I am supporting and offering my service and labor to the campaign of folks who are running for local offices (specifically revolution2010 right now). I have even offered to do whatever I can to help the very person who asked this question of me. The only way that I can view this statement is that you believe that I am sitting on my ass because I am not taking the action that you deem I should take. I can appreciate your thoughts. But the action that is right for you, is not necessarily right for me. I have in no way slandered or belittled your efforts. I would appreciate reciprocal consideration.
To MadMom specifically: I am proud to call you a friend. I am more than proud of the efforts that you are making in Rhode Island to get things back on track. You know I feel this way because I have said so to you several times. I am all for “getting off my ass”. I will support you because I believe in what you are doing. What I am doing is something different. It is a different attack on the same thing. Our actions, the two of us, are two different prongs of the same attack. Yours is focused on the short term. It works to stop the madness that is happening right now, so that when we get this turned around, we can fix the issues we face. Mine, at least on this site, is more focused on the longer term. It changes the culture to one where your version of a better future is possible. I will 100% do anything that I can to support you and your prong of attack because I see the necessity of what you are doing. I need that level of support from you as well, because your prong of attack will be all for naught if we cannot change the political culture and American mindset that will follow your success.
One of the questions was “[Have you] Started a group that espouses your principles and built a platform on which to make your local or state government sit up and take notice?”. What exactly is this website if not exactly that. I started this site (group) and we are refining our principles and building a platform. In the end, if we do this right, we will have a group that espouses the principles and has a plan for how we can make the local and state governments sit up and take notice. And in undertaking this task with many hours a day dedicated to it, I am attempting impact not just my local communities but the communities of every person reading on this site. A national effort to impact local politics. It seems that the issue with me is that the process is not being undertaken at the speed with which some feel it should. To which I respond that this is not easy. Getting ourselves to a solid and principled base is tough. Failing to do so, however, would be disastrous.
Point 4: I don’t think that is a fair assessment of what I said. What I said is that if he chooses to try to face government head on, he will fail. And I stand by that statement. Anyone who believes that they are going to march into Washington and take it by storm is both naive and prone to a level of wishful thinking that is dangerous to their well being. I did not say that by engaging, you will fail. I said if we rush into a headfirst battle with the federal government, we will fail. Tell me where I am wrong. Only 8 months ago the largest opposition party in the nation (The Republican Party) engaged against this administration in a battle for the public support. And they got their ass handed to them. Do not make light of that. Do not fail to learn from that. The public opinion has not changed. We have a small percentage of people with their eyes open enough to see what we see. Do not fool yourself into thinking that if we had a “do-over” election tomorrow, that the result would change.
President Obama has a 60%+ approval rating. Of the remaining 40%, we may have 20% of them prepared to take up the cause. That equates to roughly 8% of the population. And that means that we must be smart about where and how we “engage”. I am not a fool. And I am not someone who merely sits on my ass and has philosophical discussions. What I am is someone who will pick the right times and spots to make my shots count. You ask me to come up with a plan. You say to me “you three intellectuals need to get off your ass and tell us what to do to fix this”. And then when I say what I think, you tell me I am a fool.
But make no bones about it, and I want this to be clear to anyone who comes on to my site and tells me what must be done:
I do not pull punches… at all. You all know this about me. If you tell me a plan, I will break that plan down and give it the best evaluation that I can give. If I find the plan to be flawed, if I find it to be not set up with the proper odds for success, I will tell you that it will fail. I do not care if it hurts your feelings and I do not care if it means that you think I am sitting on my ass and not willing to act. I see it as tough love, if you will. I will not be the one you point back to and say “why did you not tell me that this would fail?”. It is not an insult when I say what I think, I am not trying to tear anyone down. And I do not pretend that I cannot be wrong in what I say. But I will be honest. If you want me to change my mind and change my opinion on what I have said, it rests on you to show me why I am wrong. Do so, and I will change my mind. I will follow logic 100% of the time. As BlackFlag has noted about me, that is my history. It would be illogical to do anything else.
So now I open it up for discussion. I am interested in what everyone has to say about this subject. There are different perspectives and realities for every single person that frequents this site. I am interested in learning about them. I am willing to hear your arguments against what I have laid out here. And I am willing to debate this as long as it takes to reach a point where we are at least seeing eye to eye. It does no good to insult one another. We, every person on this site, liberals and conservatives and everywhere else on the scale, are here for a reason. We are not happy with how things are. Some are less happy than others. But we are all on the same side here, whether we want to realize it or not. We can tear each other apart because we each feel our path forward is the best one. The Libertarians have given us a great example of where that gets us. Or we can find common ground through dialogue and find a way to support each other’s efforts. I suggest the latter.