Over the last 18 months, President Obama and the progressives controlling Congress have passed a far left agenda in opposition to many traditional American values and over the objections of the majority of the American people. Although our country and society have been steadily moving down the road to a welfare state for the last 80 years, the speed and brazenness with which the current administration and Congress has moved toward “Democratic Socialism” has awakened and engaged millions of Americans.
In retrospect, to our country’s and our posterity’s great benefit, President Obama’s election and the subsequent reaction to his agenda have compelled us to reexamine the principles and values underpinning our government and society. Hundreds and hundreds of “grass roots” organizations have spontaneously sprung up and millions of individuals have now become engaged in the political process at some level.
Though still mostly independent of each other, these groups and individuals uniformly agree that government at all levels has become too big, unresponsive, and fiscally irresponsible, and has excessively intruded into our lives. They see the political process utterly abusing the “consent of the governed” and serving self and special interests rather than the interests of the individual citizens they were elected to represent. They share a renewed interest in and understanding of our country’s Constitution and foundational principles that has put into sharp relief how far both the country’s social and economic policies and the political process have fallen away from the foundational principles and values that made America great and created the opportunity to work for the American Dream.
This “great awakening” has resulted in increased education and involvement in the electoral process. Citizens who had previously seen voting as the sole fulfillment of their civic duty are now attending school board and county government meetings. They are running for positions on school boards, county commissions, and county and state party committees. At the state and Federal levels, these individuals have rejected many of the party establishment backed candidates in favor of constitutionally minded candidates. At all levels, this electoral effort has deliberately shunned the established political machinery in an effort to take back the political process and make government more responsive and responsible.
Still, the political process remains inherently corrupted and corrupting. Periodic elections, particularly in the absence of term limits, do not make legislators adequately accountable. The established political parties, Republican and Democrat, prioritize control of the majority government apparatus and the power it brings, and self-interests and special interests over the interests of the persons they purportedly represent. Rather than solving problems, the usual legislative process results in a bill that primarily accommodates special interests who have a financial concern in the problem allegedly being addressed by that particular bill. Despite initial good intentions, the majority of new legislators gradually are drawn into the established political system and its corruption of the consent of the governed. The rare individuals who can maintain their integrity have insufficient sway to pass needed legislation that would actually and appropriately address the daunting problems facing our nation and society.
The renewed interest in our foundational principles, the increased involvement in the electoral process, the electoral victories of constitutionally committed individuals, and the growth of the grass roots organizations itself all represent positive outgrowths of the citizenry awakening to the attacks on traditional American principles and values. Yet these responses in and of themselves are not ends but rather fertile ground for a potential independent citizen grass roots movement that could counteract and overwhelm special and self-interest, resulting in the required radical reorientation of the political and legislative process. Only a massive and organized citizen driven movement, networking existing grass roots groups and engaged citizens, could hold legislators feet to the fire. Coordinated strategy and strategic alliance among such citizen groups, dedicated and principled legislators, policy think tanks, political action groups, and an ongoing education component could push enactment of a broad legislative agenda based in traditional American economic and social principles. This would be a movement of principles and policies to implement solutions to the significant problems of the economy, education, healthcare, energy, and broken government threatening our and our posterity’s freedom and prosperity.
We have reached a defining crossroads in our nation’s history. We can sit back and watch our country and our children’s’ futures slide down the slippery slope to European style socialism, which can only result in economic feebleness, national and global insecurity, and individual dependency and unhappiness. Or we can each step up and join our local grass roots organization and get involved in our local government. By actively embracing and promoting an unprecedented grass roots political movement, we can once again harness the power of self-determination by utilizing those traditional American free market principles, those personal freedoms, and those values that made our great land the global economic powerhouse and bastion of freedom.