Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The End of the Republic?

From the White House to Hollywood, from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the cities to the towns, from Wall Street to the neighborhoods, from the rich to the poor, from the healthy to the sick, from the brilliant to the imbecile, from the oldest to the youngest, from the educated to the illiterate, from the meritorious to the corrupt-the scourge of Obamacare will inevitably destroy us all.  Progressives, always on the ready to promote their “forward” agenda, have worked diligently to factionalize Americans and kill the Republic.  The GOP thus far kept their success in check; unfortunately, the widening rift within the Republican Party itself has turned matters in favor of the Progressives on more than one occasion.

Last week, the Senate voted on FY2013 or the “continuing resolution” bill.  Included in the bill were the provisions to extend funding for Obamacare.  Here lay a perfect opportunity for the GOP to make a stand for the People.  Yet, only 26 of the total votes were “Nay.”  Indeed, 73 of the total votes were in favor of funding the policy.  Notably, 20 Republicans voted to pass the bill including some of those who had previously claimed to oppose Obamacare.  For example, Senator Daniel Coats (IN) and Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) both voted “Yea” for funding the policy.  Clearly, the voice of the People that shows distaste for the dreadful law is lost on the senators who voted to fund this incredible Leviathan.  These public servants tell their constituents one thing during the election cycle and then vote in a contrary manner once they occupy their office in Washington.

Lest these great leaders try to excuse their voting record (as most of them often do) with claims that they were unaware of public opinion on the matter, a few points deserve a mention here.  According to the latest Rasmussen poll, 50% of Americans consider Obamacare a disastrous policy and only 44% find it advantageous.  Indeed, only 19% of the pollsters found the law “very favorable” and 36% found it “very unfavorable.”   Any politician unfamiliar with polling is clearly in the wrong business.  Furthermore, Americans continue to use online avenues such as social media and blogging daily to bring attention to their contempt towards the destructive law.  Again, most, if not all, politicians have access to social media and the internet, if not; they are indeed in the wrong business.  Therefore, the idea that our leaders are unaware of what the People want or think is incredible and unworthy of discussion.  Yet, many of these leaders repeatedly ignore the concerns of the People.  Their disregard to the voice of the People is contemptible and disgraceful.  Perhaps, there are good reasons to their method of voting but most Americans find their reasons mere excuses.  Whatever their motivations and internal divisions, one thing is clear to the public:  Most politicians are more interested in promoting their own advantages than those of the People. 

We have only just begun to experience the ramifications of Obamacare.  The rise in the cost of healthcare services, the retreat of doctors from the profession, and the suffocation of the free market are only a few of the noticeable changes now occurring across the nation with the worse still to come.  Ironically, the greatest supporter of Obamacare, Obama himself, is exempt from participating in his own policy.  Although Obama finds the law dreadful enough to avoid it cleverly, he is unwilling to give the People the same privilege.  It seems America has fast become a nation ruled under Obama instead of a national Republic.  If the advent of Obamacare and the spineless submission of the Congress to the horrid demands of this administration over the obvious complaints of the People does not equate to the slow destruction of the Republic, what then does?


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lessons of the American Revolution

I ended up teaching a class on the American Revolution today to a group of 9 year olds.  Of course, the plan was to spend a wonderful morning together playing games but conversations do have a way of changing course and such was the case this morning.  Although we began with discussing Monopoly, it was only a matter of time before I found myself talking about the American Revolution.    

The day began beautifully:  the balmy sun was shining brightly and the freshness of spring was in the air.  We sat outside on an unpainted wooden garden bench and table set.  The wood was still cool from the night before but comfortable.  We were all in good spirits and enjoying the sounds of the geese flying overhead.  We talked about different literary authors and I recommended some classics that the kids could read including, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen.  Trevor, a shy boy with an unusually quiet voice remarked that he had almost finished William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that he had borrowed from me two weeks ago.  He then told us that his fourth grade class viewed a video yesterday on how babies are born.  I could see that he was uncomfortable with the subject.  The main reason he mentioned it was to tell me that even though he had enjoyed reading Romeo and Juliet, watching the video had put him off about any ideas of romance altogether.  I decided to switch the subject to avoid embarrassing him any further amongst his peers.

The kids had brought along different board games including, Sorry, Scrabble and Monopoly.  We chose to play Monopoly first.  As we divided the money, I asked if everyone knew who Alexander Hamilton was.  At first, I thought their blank looks were simply a ploy to get me excited (they all know I am an historian) but then I realized they were truly clueless.  I took a deep breath and said, “The guy who is on the ten dollar bill, remember?”  Justin, a rambunctious boy, always ready with an answer, quickly pulled out $10 from his wallet—it was his birthday money from last week---and displayed it proudly for everyone to see.  Their small heads huddled closer to inspect the features of the brilliant man.  The girls smiled and the boys frowned.  Then they all said, “Oh!” 

I proceeded to tell them about Hamilton and added some explanation about capitalism in terms they could understand.  Everyone appreciated the idea of having the opportunity to make their money in the way they deemed fit.  None liked the idea that the government could take as much of their hard earned money as it wanted.  Therefore, I asked them what they thought happened during the American Revolution.  Again, the blank stares followed.  I prodded further, “What was the American Revolution about?”  Many furrowed brows, some looks of frustration, and much head scratching only produced incoherent answers. 

Before continuing any further on the American Revolution, I asked them if they knew about the United States Constitution.  Again, Justin jumped up and gleefully responded, “It’s a tree!”  I shall admit, I almost fell off the bench on that one.  I looked around our circle and noticed they were all eyeing me:  some with curiosity, some with mild interest, one with boredom.  I felt sorry for the lot of them and angry towards a system that wastes no time to educate our children about sex but keeps from providing them with adequate information about their own country’s history.

It is impossible to cover all of the American Revolution in one morning.  It is even worse when you have to teach it to a group that is unaware of the value of understanding the fundamental principles that make ours the greatest nation on earth.  For this, I do not hold the children responsible but the system that undermines the greatness of our nation and parents who either are oblivious to it or support it themselves. 

Overall, I think I managed to reach out to them (or so I pray).  By employing analogies and showing parallels between our revolutionary beginnings and today, I was able to excite some interest in the hearts of these youngsters.  We used movies, wildlife, professions, economics, the military, the world--- all as analogies to better understand the founding generation.  There were no lectures; these kids actively participated in the discussion bringing their own ideas about how things worked during the Revolution.  It was exciting, it was exhilarating, it was challenging, and it was all beautiful.  We could have discussed the American Revolution all day but time was short.  As we said our goodbyes, I prayed that they would always remember the lessons shared about the American Revolution one spring morning and that it would keep the fire alive deep in their hearts forevermore.      

Friday, March 15, 2013

Feinstein's Gun Grab

It would seem that Senator Ted Cruz rattled great dame Diane Feinstein enormously on Thursday during the hearing on Gun Control.  Cruz questioned Feinstein fiercely on her gun control agenda.  Essentially, he asked if Feinstein believed that the legislation she supported compromised the fundamental principles of the Constitution.  Feinstein refused to let the young upstart outfox her and retorted, “I am not a sixth grader.”  She was quick to point out that she had “been on the committee for 20 years” and “was a mayor for 9 years” which apparently makes her the authority in all things related to the Constitution.  Contrary to her belief, the temper tantrum she displayed during the hearing rings true more of a child instead of a leader.

Indeed, never to miss an opportunity to promote her ideology, especially at a public hearing, Feinstein also pointed out that she was a witness to many gruesome murders caused by “bullets that implode” including those used in the Sandy Hook shooting.  At the same time, she conveniently skipped mentioning the many lives saved by responsible gun ownership.  Feinstein claimed her 20 years in the business had brought her “up close and personal with the Constitution” and that she had “great respect for it.”  Yet, paving the way by introducing legislation that may further encroach upon the Constitutional rights of law abiding Americans is perfectly acceptable to this great lover of the law.    

Watching Feinstein take on Cruz was the equivalent of watching an old buzzard waiting to feast on the flesh of a hungry and thirsty lone traveler lost in the desert.  Perhaps Lord Acton was correct in his observation when he said, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Feinstein’s outrageous display at the gun debate to put Cruz in check only confirms that politicians in Washington are more interested in their own agendas than promoting the interests of the PEOPLE.  Unfortunately, for Feinstein, Cruz has the highest esteem for the law, not the devalued and distilled version Feinstein “respects” but the actual Constitution.  Most Americans are sensitive to the loss of innocent lives.  Yet, for Feinstein to use tragedies to promote her own political agenda is shameless and downright dangerous.  By targeting the fundamental rights provided to Americans under the law, Feinstein not only shows a lack of respect for it but a clear ignorance of the Constitutional principles that are the bedrock of our nation.

Monday, March 4, 2013

God Be With Me

Darkness surrounds me,
Clustering high above the city,
I remember the nation once supreme,
I remember the land once free.
The majesty of the mountain, seas, and prairies,
The land I once called home,
Now it lays restless,
Full of nothing but drones.
God please don’t leave America,
The nation that gladly cast you out,
Give us guidance and make us strong,
So we can change what we have done wrong.
*Inspired by Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Constitution the Perfect Benchmark

After weeks of debate over the Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense, the Senate finally decided yesterday to approve Hagel’s nomination.  Many from the Republican Party voted against Hagel’s nomination but more voted in his favor.  Upon hearing the disheartening news, I took to Twitter to blast the GOP. 

Some of my followers agreed with my remarks, yet others were ready with the verbal attacks.  Those who were upset about my rants, slammed me for “helping” the liberals by creating a division within the Republican Party.  They accused me of “beating up the republicans” instead of attacking liberals who are destroying our Constitutional rights. 

Typically, I would ignore the accusations but a few points need addressing.  I am an ardent supporter of the United States Constitution.  As such, my money is always on the Founding Fathers.  When it comes to political parties, I belong to none and support only those candidates who carry the same regard and respect for the Constitution that I do.  If I notice someone blatantly disregarding laws set in motion by the Founders, I voice my opinion irrespective of the individuals’ party affiliation.  To those who find my views “caustic,” allow me to point out that I apply the same standard to Democrats and Republicans, liberals and the so-called conservatives. 

Those who continue to support individuals who gladly sign over our liberties to tyrants simply because they belong to the same party are enablers and dishonor the Constitution.  James Madison warned us of having such blind faith in public officials in Federalist 51:  “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”  Therefore, if we are to keep in line with the Constitution, We the People must hold our representatives accountable.  The rule applies to not liberals or Democrats only, but to all public servants. 

From the 2012 election onwards, the GOP has shown an unfathomable weakness.  Their performance in the election, voting record over the fiscal cliff, Benghazi hearing, and the Hagel nomination all show a party rapidly losing its values.  Whatever happened to the conservative values that once made the GOP a worthy opponent to the Democrats?  With the impending sequestration, Americans are already feeling that the drama will simply continue only to end in favor of Obama’s demands.  If the GOP wants people to remain loyal, they need to prove to the people that they are worthy of such loyalty.  By continuously giving in to Obama’s demands, the republicans have themselves done a disservice to their party and to the people.  Obama won a victory on “hope.”  As much as a lie that might be, his message worked-twice.  Conservatives are looking for a ray of hope as well but so far, it remains unforthcoming from the GOP.  Until it does, as “freaking crazy” as some may find it, my rants shall continue. 

Rand Paul's Surprising Vote

Senator Rand Paul (KY) cast a vote in favor of Chuck Hagel’s nomination this week.  Paul, one of the senators who initially voted for the filibuster against Hagel, changed his vote leading to a decisive victory for Hagel.  By agreeing to support Obama’s nominee, Paul has become yet another member of the GOP to fall through the cracks in the face of adversity.

To be sure, Paul spent weeks supporting the filibuster because he “wanted more information” about Hagel.  Apparently, he must be satisfied with whatever “information” he received because the vote he cast was in favor of Hagel to become the new Secretary of Defense for the United States.  When questioned about his abrupt change of mind, Paul stated that, “the president gets to choose political appointees.”  Indeed, Paul rightfully states that Obama has the power to choose his appointees for federal positions.  Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution gives the president the authority to do so but Paul seems to have forgotten that the same passage states that, “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate” the president “shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States….”  In other words, although Obama has the right to nominate a fly to fill a vacancy in the federal government if he so chose, he can only do so with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Indeed, the only exception to the rule is if the Congress decides to “vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone….”  Clearly, Paul and all others who voted in favor of the Hagel nomination felt that Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense was perfect for America.  Why else would have Paul given Hagel his blessings and voted in favor of his appointment? 

Paul’s decision to allow Hagel’s confirmation is not noble, but foolish.  At a time when Americans are looking for true leaders, dangling a carrot in front of the people and then snatching it away can be detrimental to one’s political career.  We the people already have those who have deluded us previously:  Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Paul Ryan to name a few.  Another spineless addition to the mix is most undesirable to those of us looking to combat the tyranny of the Obama Administration.  Only time will tell how Paul’s vote will affect him in the end but for now, the people are far from pleased with his anomalous performance.