The Caretakers Aren’t Taking Care

By: Eddie Clements

One notable work of the estimable science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein was Farnham’s Freehold. Farnham had built a fallout shelter, now a real-world relic of the Cold War. He saw it as his responsibility as provider and caretaker to build the shelter, despite the unlikelihood of nuclear war or slim chances of survival. His duty was to protect his wife and family whom he dearly loved. After the worst happened, the family survived.

Would that our Congress felt the same sense of duty and responsibility. They have failed to establish a check on executive power. If there was ever a time to stand up and say “Enough of this madness! Laws are on the books; follow them”, it is now. Allowing the White House to accumulate the power it has assumed for itself defeats checks and balances. Congress has abdicated their responsibility. The result may be loss of our republic.

Through history, the prime responsibility of government, ranging from a large territory to a small tribe, is the group’s safety, well being, and continuity. We have evolved to a time in history when many lessons should have been learned, and the current situation prevented. Should those elected to the highest offices in the world’s greatest democracy aspire to anything less than discharging their duties and responsibilities faithfully to the people? Is it too much to ask that they do so? Is the notion of duty now so antiquated that such thinking is now overly romantic, hopelessly idealistic – unrealistic?

President Obama’s words and deeds suggest he is in full agreement with the leftist contentions that American history and purpose is to suppress or exploit certain groups – minorities, the poor, immigrants – while elevating perceived advantaged ones – whites, the wealthy, Christians. Also, he has stated a belief that government is required, or should be, to provide certain benefits to people.

Congress should consider all this as a perspective that does not lend itself well to policy prescriptions in a heterogeneous society of over 300 million and counting. Not so; many in the House agree with leftist beliefs stated above, putting them in lockstep with Obama, with some to his left.

The United States presidency is many things, but one duty is to be a caretaker, promising to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution.” How’s that workin’ out for us so far? Instead of faithfully discharging his duties of office, President Obama is attempting sweeping changes quickly, while aggrandizing power for the executive branch that should cause Congress to step back and examine the potential consequences.

But to do so would require a sense of something greater, outside the self – perhaps too much to ask of the massive egos in our highest elected officials. Evidence from townhall meetings that politicians act as imperial power-holders dictating terms to their subjects, from whom absolute loyalty is demanded, is compelling. They insist their own vision for a massive government-run health care program be accepted regardless of obvious facts exposing its flaws.

Leftists and their Congressional representatives are not proposing re-thinking the basic assumptions under which we have operated since our founding, but their abandonment. These include property rights, equality under the law, and distinct separation of powers. American ideas and traditions also include self reliance, freedom of opportunity, and limited government. Instead of tinkering at the edges to intermix with capitalism, leftists want to impose government intervention onto commerce, and subsequently individuals, by force.

But there is no emergency. That alone should indicate two things: immediate action is not necessary, and there is an agenda behind the hope-change program that belies the ostensible purposes. There are three major hope-change items: health care, card check, and cap-and-trade. All of these work to the disadvantage of small business and new start-ups, consumers in general and non-political individuals. They all accrue advantages to special interests: big government, big business, and organized groups of political supporters. These three advantaged groups will supply money and foot-soldiers to politicians who enable legislation that give them a leg up, a classic quid-pro-quo. That is the projected scenario. Democrats feel pressures to move quickly before momentum for passing this and other pieces of hope-change legislation dissipates due to growing resistance from a center-right public.

Large programs should be tried in states, allowing citizens to “vote with their feet.” Imposing nation-wide programs disallows experimentation to find the best solutions, while inevitably defeating freedom of choice individuals now enjoy – but that’s the idea. Lacking organization or real choices, individuals will have a difficult time electing representatives of traditional American interests.
The fact is, no one, no politician can predict with any accuracy how such sweeping changes will ultimately play out. This is a reason to slow down, not speed up. Democrat politicians’ must decide between long-term duty and responsibility to voters or White House support in hopes of short-term re-election. Passing the program will come down to who they fear more, the White House or voters.

It is not under the purview of either the executive or legislative branch that members of the same party act monolithically, ignoring many constituents, favoring others, violating the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution. Representatives in Congress are supposed to represent, or reflect, the wishes of the constituency that elected them, whether every constituent actually voted for them or not.

The Senate is the key; senators are elected state-wide. Defeating every Democrat up for re-election next year will stall a program toxic to American traditions.

Political pirates have kidnapped Lady Liberty. When we finally elect House and Senate members that love this country and its traditions with just almost the same intensity of a normal, everyday parent loving his family, we will rescue our damsel in distress.

Eddie Clements

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