Timing is everything, and I haven't wanted this post to be perceived as targeted at one particular political escapade. However, now that tonight (March 22) we're one day removed from Congress approving a trillion dollar health insurance change law, and there's no telling what will come next, I'm going to finish writing this post and then program it for later. If something major happened yesterday, I'm not commenting on that directly.
I'm pondering the general direction of our country. That direction is apart from itself and adrift from the intent of its founding. It really is. We have made great strides as a nation. We've come to the understanding that "all men are created equal" is to be understood as "all humans are created equal" whether they look like us or not. We've embraced, at least in idea, that race or gender has no place as a determinant in the future of a person. We've acknowledged that those old enough to be drafted are old enough to vote, even if not old enough to purchase handguns or beers.
However, we've also made some mistakes along the way. We've become a nation that makes more money than ever before but has no idea why it matters. We're willing to trade lives for convenience, whether they are young or old, drafted or volunteer. We're so concerned about offending others that we will trade our security for it, and then lose that too.
Meanwhile, there's a growing agitation among Americans. The people are getting fed up with the government, the governing bodies are getting fed up with the people, and the disconnects are getting stronger. Don't think the government's tired of the people? Go visit the US Capitol. Can't get in? That's right, you can't. They won't let you. $600 million (or more) was spent to build a visitor's center you can go to, so you can stay away from the people that represent you. More and more people are speaking up that we're losing our liberty as Americans.
It's been going on for years. The federal government ran a surplus in 2000. Then, rightfully, the effort was made to stop running a surplus. Except that, if you have debt, you have no surplus. You pay down debt. And then we went and spent back into a deficit, and maxed out the nation's credit. The government is now on track to meddle in healthcare enough that costs will exceed what people can afford. There are also pending bills that will escalate the cost of anything considered possibly environmentally bad that will make energy costs untenable. These laws are being pushed into being by people that also hold that people shouldn't own guns or eat cheeseburgers. With the government taking responsibility for everyone's healthcare (they are), how long before I can't own a gun because it's a health risk or can't have a cheeseburger because grilling is causing global warming?
The difficulty is that many people who wish to protest these things have expressed in can happen "over their dead bodies" or that "you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers."
Ladies and gentlemen, that's exactly what's going to happen. We have allowed ourselves to become so divided, not by ideology or heart, but by time. We don't take the time to gather together, we don't know our neighbors. We are so busy chasing the dollars that we spend on stuff imported from our enemies that we are too exhausted to put any effort into what we ought to be as a nation.
And so, true patriots will be willing to die for their country and their liberty. The enemies of liberty will be glad to help us with this. We are quick to quote Jefferson or Franklin about liberty, even Patrick Henry, but we rarely remember the quote from Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
We must grasp that the difference between dying for the sake of liberty and dying to assure liberty to our posterity is organization. We've seen easily in Iran the necessity of an armed populace to hold off tyranny, which is part of the purpose of the Second Amendment. The First Amendment contains an important freedom we neglect to consider: the right of the people to "peaceably assemble." The Founders were not thinking of protests. They were remembering the drill of Minutemen in the commons and public areas, preparing for the potential need of revolution. They were remembering the need for an organized effort to overthrow tyranny.
If we are going to secure for ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty, we've got to read the history and understand the roadmap our Founding Fathers left us: a free press to proclaim the wrongs of government; a free pulpit to proclaim the Word of God (and free any other religion you want, but they weren't thinking of Wiccans at the time); free assembly to discuss the problems; and free petition to express directly to the government what the wrongs and problems were.
When those are found inadequate, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is necessary, lest the militia cease being well-regulated and the state cease being free.
People, it's time we stop individual bickering and bantering. Are we serious about liberty or not? Are we willing to stop being bought off or dissuaded by one party's promises over another's? We're in this mess because we've allowed Republicans and Democrats to play us against each other to their own gain.
It is time that we begin to do something. Give it another election, certainly, but we must begin to assemble and petition. Not assemble and shout, not assemble and disrespect, but assemble and organize our views of what is wrong and why, and what to actually do about it. Then, express what steps we will take to see those petitions met. And what consequences if they are not.
Unless we want to bequeath to posterity the saying that "The fundamental difference between revolution and martyrdom is organization."