I’m a high school drop out. My parents are both dead and left me no inheritance. Theoretically, the American dream should be well out of my reach. Yet, at 31 I have a house that is paid for. I came through the economic crisis with stable finances, good credit, and enough cash to take advantage of opportunity. This, despite the burdens that have been placed upon me. Despite the Fed artificially lowering the amount of interest my money generated while in savings. This despite the government monkeying with the housing market and trying to limit the drops in value (making it harder for me to purchase a home). The government has done very little of service to me in my life. I did not go to public schools. I have never received a government check for anything in my life. They did not pay for my education, food, or healthcare. The sad reality is that the government has been more of an obstruction in my life than actually aiding me. I am currently searching for a used car, and pondering the high prices on older used cars. I wonder if the government destroying over 500,000 working vehicles (with my money) had anything to do with that?
There are over 200 million working cars in America. But, to remove over half a million of the most affordable, and least desirable, yet running cars from the market has obvious implications! For someone with limited finances, let’s say in the lower 10% of the population financially, they are now dealing with a void in the vehicles that would be available. Over half a million cars, that would have been priced under $4,000 no longer exist! They had been needlessly destroyed (at considerable cost to the rest of us). I’m not sure which is worse, the destruction or making us pay for it. The key here is that the poorest people did not get new cars out of this, because they couldn’t afford a new car. Yet, they (in hard economic times) have to pay more for a used car. The results worked their way up, as the void in used cars drove prices up, contributing to 16 year highs in 2011 that continued going up in 2012.
Dear government, you have caused me to have less money, you have made my house more expensive, and you have made my next car purchase more expensive as well. I would see fit to thank you for the basic services you provide, but the taxes paid at every turn makes me feel as though I’m under-compensated in that regard as well. Yet, I love my country. Why do I love the country that if anything has been an obstruction to my efforts to better my life? I love my country because of the promise of what it can be. I love my country because of what it has been in the past. I love my country, that despite what the government has done to it, still affords me the opportunity and freedom that I do have.
I have lived in three states (Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee), and another country (Germany). Nothing has made me love my country more than to see other countries. To see the subtle differences, the freedoms we take for granted that are not available in other parts of the world. Our freedoms are eroding though! More and more people are becoming wards of the state, giving up their chance at freedom and prosperity in return for meager compensation. The government is continually overstepping their bounds. We have drones flying overhead, illegal immigrants who are entitled to more benefits than many of us are, and people who are in jail longer for possession of marijuana than for rape. We became so lost in the old fight for power between Republicans and Democrats that we lost sight of what was actually happening.
Under George W. Bush, we lost freedom, we lost grasp of our finances, and we saw government continue to grow. We did not see the actions of constitutional conservatives, or fiscal conservatives, we saw the political party in power simply seeking to increase the power it held. Law after law was passed without scrutiny or veto. Nominations were made without true consideration to their views of the constitution. The Republicans were not a principled party, they were simply politicians acting as politicians do. In their own interests, not ours.
The Obama reign has been predictably horrible. Our debt skyrocketed along with our unemployment. Welfare saw massive increases (may be those people had trouble buying a car and getting to work). America regressed financially, and many Americans became ensnared in the servitude of public dependence. What became worse under the Bush administration has become unbearable under the Obama administration. Nearly 50% of Americans are reliant on the other 50% to meet their needs. This obviously can not continue!
The logical check to this, the balance that should have been in place is the constitution and our individual rights. The problem is, that there was no one on the nationally political stage (save Ron Paul) that has been concerned with this. They sought power, and traded in favors, and we have lost. John Roberts is just another, of a long line of individuals who does not value our individual liberties. He values the rights of the illegal alien, who has no right to be here in the first place, but he does not value my rights.
I am tempted to drop my health care insurance. I am tempted to refuse to pay the “tax”. And then, when the government comes for my property? What then? Who will act in my defense? My only crime being refusal to purchase something, but who will come to my aid? We have gone well past the line. Our freedom is in the rear view mirror. Our rights are crumbling like a neglected monument.
It is not too late to act though. But, we must act with determination and with clear vision. I support the Republicans because they are far better than the alternative that the Democrats provide. However, we must push beyond that. We must espouse the teachings of people such as Ayn Rand, Thomas Jefferson, and Milton Friedman. We can support the Ron Paul Revolution, and the various tea parties without betraying our necessary allegiance with the Republican party.
We have to fight two wars. We have to fight to put Republicans in power, but then we have to fight an ideological war. We have to fight to keep another faux conservative President and Congress from leading us down this path again. We must fight on behalf of the Republicans, but if we win that war we must continue fighting. If Mitt Romney does not follow constitutional ideals, we must fight him in the primaries. If we see Republicans in power that do not act in the best interests of our country, we must fight to replace them. This battle must be fought. Having a Republican majority did us little good in the past. It only does us any good if it is populated with people that value our rights and our freedoms.
There is one issue that is of personal concern to me. College football (FBS) has now moved towards a playoff, much to the relief of many casual observers. What does that really mean, what does that really say? For over 140 years, college football existed without a playoff. For nearly 100 years they crowned national champions without need for a playoff. During this entire time, the focus was on excellence, on being #1. But, there has been controversy. Some schools did not like being left out. Orrin Hatch, the poster boy for Bush era Republicans, thought it was a matter for Congress to take up. Mr. Hatch, you should have been worried about not driving this country off of a cliff, not trying to earn browning points with the people back home. Orrin Hatch became part of the movement that our entire country has been a part of. A move away from excellence and towards inclusion. The playoff that college football will be getting has criteria for conference champions. The reason for that is simple, the conferences want to be included whether or not they actually deserve it.
I can not help but see this as all part of the same thing. The health care law is based on the notion that mediocre health care for all is better than excellent health care for most. The inclusion of the minority that has refused to, or otherwise been unable to avail themselves of health insurance is the basis of this monstrosity. The move towards a college football playoff is just a smaller version of that basic practice. Simply having the two most worthy teams play each other to determine the champion was not inclusive enough. We must expand it, and by expanding it we must also try to insure the broadest representation. We must, once again, choose inclusion over excellence. It is all part of the participation trophy mentality that we have fallen victim to.
We can fight this, but we must fight this as a thought. We can support Republicans, and we can support Libertarian ideals, but we must fight the toxic thought of decrying excellence. We have become scavengers, seeking to find things that are great around us and rip them to shreds, claiming tiny, broken fragments of what was once great. We can no longer tolerate seeing something beautiful if we can not benefit from it. We would rather see it destroyed and made worthless if it is of no obvious benefit to us. We have become the persecutors of John Galt. We have become the cultural revolution of China.
No more! I have limited means but I will try to use them. I have my words, and while I might use them poorly, and might be but a whisper in a sea of noise I will speak never the less. This is a fight that can not end. This is a vigilance that must remain. No majority, no election of officials will protect us. We should be able to see that now. Only a struggle that continues, in good times and in bad can preserve the nation that I love.
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