Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Sleeping Giant

Isn't it interesting how such completely opposite viewpoints can be held within a country? What am I talking about? Well, to sum it up in two words, Conservatism and Liberalism. Ok, that was three words. But my point still stands. We saw a conservative government manifest during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George Bush and similar men. Even though there were strong veins of liberal ideals in some of their policies and actions they generally held to conservative principles. Now we find a very different ideal taking power, arriving in the form of Barack Obama and the Democratic sweep of the government. Just as the Republican Party (largely conservative) held power eight years ago, the Democratic Party (of a more liberal bent) has now re-emerged. I must say it again, it is simply astonishing to me that such dramatically opposite views could both thrive so well within the same country, but is it for me to wonder that the land of the free would be the place you would find such an odd co-existence? 

All right, Barack Obama has been president for over a month now and the violent growth in our government has been plain enough. It has made me sick, like a month-long roller coaster. Even during the elections I couldn't have imagined such quick and overwhelming a move towards liberalism was being solicited in the glittery oration of President Obama. I never thought I would see such a dramatization of the history books come alive in so short a time, let alone my time. From what I've researched and gathered even FDR in his famous first "Hundred Days" did not spend so much money or introduce so much legislation. I used to think I wouldn't live to see any days quite as fantastic or tough as those of the past, of WWII or the Great Depression. I am now afraid to say I may have been wrong.
I've read plenty of books on European history, the rise and fall of democracies like France, kingdoms like England and countries like Soviet Russia. Thanks to my father I've also been very well versed in the basics of economics, the forces in the market and the power of a free economy and a free people to use it. I read about the damage that communism, socialism, fascism and the like can do and I realize that one of the most common characteristics of these governments is that they are just plain big. Too big. It always seems to start with a character who is not afraid to boldly seize power everywhere it will be yielded. The result is a bigger and bigger government, swelling out of control and destroying a country's economy, ruining its people.
The founding fathers of our country knew enough about faulty governments to build a system of government where the most powerful leader, the president, was not a hero, nor a savior, but simply an agent of, from and for the people. What has happened to that role? What happened to a president who was eager to give back to the people? Not to tax and give back, but to give every freedom they could find back to the people. Forget money for a minute. If you can't put that aside for a second then I would argue that your priorities might be in the wrong order. If someone is stealing your son while someone else is stealing your car you had better be able to put the car aside for a moment. It is the same with money. Although it is painfully necessary, it is only temporary. Freedom is eternal and applies to life forever.
I am constantly reminded of Braveheart and the steady theme running like water throughout the entire movie, "Give us freedom above all." Even death is considered an adequate price to pay for freedom. No amount of money or land will quench Wallace's desire for freedom. He doesn't let the temptation of riches cloud the reality that the choice is a poor free man or a rich slave. 
Now I pose this question. How much freedom does one need to lose before he realizes it is lost? When will we wake up to realize the covers are being slowly pulled off and we are being left in the cold? We are not alone, America. We ARE America. Like a giant or a titan we are slow to awake and slow to move. But also like a giant, we are hard to stop once we are moving and our anger is something feared by all. This is not flattery, but a call to awake. Remember what you are. Remember that with great power comes great responsibility and sometimes the most responsible thing to do with that power is nothing, nothing at all. Our leaders need to realize that before they "do" more than we can take. But other times responsibility means to stand up for what we know is right. We can't afford to stand by and wait. "What to do" is still the great question, but "should we do something" I think is pretty certain.