Thursday, May 09, 2013

Limited Government, Voting and Activism

"...government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem."
-- President Ronald Reagan, 1981
"...there's a role for government in education, innovation and job creation."
-- Barack Obama, 2013
These two different quotes from two different symbolize a clear distinction in ideology between those that are conservative and those that are liberal.

One reflects the ideology of limited government and the idea that government is NOT the solution to the problems facing our nation.

The other displays the philosophy that the government can do no wrong and that the government can solve all of our problems.

Which of these ideologies is correct?

I propose to you that the former is the most accurate.

I believe that if the Founding Fathers, when creating the basis for our nation’s system of government, wanted the government to be involved in the affairs of its people, specifically in the areas of education, health care, and economics/business, they would have chosen to give the federal government those powers. I believe that they would have included those areas of interest in the Constitution as being within the scope of the federal government.

However, they did not and this is why I believe that government should be severely limited in its reach.

The federal government, in my opinion, has two basic functions. Defend the country against foreign attack. Protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens.

There are other powers enumerated to the federal government listed in the U.S. Constitution but these they all boil down to these two very basic functions.

Where did we go wrong? When the government first begin to get involved in matters outside its scope of enumerated powers and why?

While the historical context of when and why this happened is important, the important thing we have to ask ourselves is how do we reverse the course? Where do we begin? How can we return the government to its proper function?

The answer lies within the electorate. Those who are responsible for electing those that represent us in Congress have a power given to them that nobody should squander. This power should be taken seriously.

The right to vote is a very powerful right indeed. It must not be taken lightly. A person that exercises that right should not be incompetent. They should know why they are voting for the person they are voting for because the person that they are voting for can either continue the status quo and continue the nation on its path of big government and government control over their lives or they can reverse the course and bring this country back from the brink of disaster. Therefore, those who exercise their right to vote must act responsibly.

Sadly, the majority of Americans are more concerned with other facets of their lives and don’t have their obligation seriously.

It is up to us, those that are active in politics, to attempt to educate those that are not.

It is up to us to do the things that will matter in the long run. Whatever you do to inform and education people is up to you. Talk to friends. Start a blog. Start a newsletter. Start a newspaper. Start a radio show. Go door to door and discuss issues of the day with strangers. Run for office yourself. Whatever it is, just do something.

The future of our country is at stake and if you care enough about what is going on, it is up to you to make a difference.

No matter what you do or say, people are going to disagree with you. It is the nature of being involved in politics. There is no way around it. But that is no reason to throw in the towel and give it all up. Our country’s future and your children’s lives are too important to give up. So no matter how many people argue with you on your beliefs and no matter how many names you get called for believing in what you believe in, remember the reason that you got involved in this whole carnival to begin with.

There is a difference between those of us that are involved and those of us that are sitting at home watching reality programs. We care about what is going on in the country and we are willing to do something about it. But what are we willing to do about it besides remain politically active? It should be our job to bridge the gap between those of us that are involved and those of us that aren’t. It should be our job to not only voice our opinions and steer the course of our country back on track but also to inform and educate those who aren’t involved. It should be our job to get those who aren’t involved to be involved.

I can’t help but remember the lyrics to the chorus of a Rise Against song when I think of this. The song is called “Architects” and the chorus says:
”Do you still believe in all the things that you stood by before.
Are you out there on the front lines or at home keep score?
Do you care to be the layer of the bricks that seal your fate? Would you rather be the architect of what we might create?
Now granted, the writer of this song might not have had politics in mind when you wrote these lyrics but this is what I personally took away from this song.

Ironically, Rise Against is a band with leftist leanings but I digress.

In an attempt to conclude this rant that started in one place and has ended up in another, I guess what I am trying to say is that those of us that are politically active need to first and foremost hold our elected officials accountable and ensure that they are acting as responsible representatives and stand for what our beliefs, our idea of limiting the scope of the federal government and returning it to its core functions. Hold them accountable by calling and/or visiting their offices. Write them letters. Write them e-mails. Attend functions where they will be present. Whatever it is, make sure that they understand where you stand on the issues and that you are keeping an eye on them and their actions.

We need to ensure that our votes are being placed for candidates that are like-minded and believe in the issues that we believe in. We need to ensure our votes are going to candidates that believe that the government that governs less, governs best.

We need to make an effort to educate and inform the public as to why we feel the way we do and convince them to stay informed of what is going on with this country as well. Bring them into your fold. We must inspire them to get involved.

It is only with a large, educated electorate that we will be able to scale back the activities of the federal government and demand that they resume their original purpose.

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