"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 23, 1800

Monday, October 20, 2008

Welcome To The Harbor

After much prodding from the lovely wife, I'm adding my voice to the political cacaphony. I'm not a pundit, a politician or a journalist. I'm just a father who's trying to see that his son inherits a country the founders would recognize.

Politics has always interested me, and as I've gotten older I've taken it more seriously. By the end of Bill Clinton's term I had become truly frightened about the direction the country was headed. It seemed that every morning we'd turn on the news and hear something more disgusting than the day before. By the time government agents broke into a family's home to force a young Elian Gonzalez back to the slavery of Cuba I was dreading the next day's headlines. Where was the outrage in a country founded on freedom? Could that freedom long survive in a people that would let this happen to an innocent child?

Then came the elections of 2000 and the aftermath in Florida. All my frustration with my country had been tempered by the knowledge that I could help change things with my vote. But there on my TV were fellow Americans bent on "interpreting voters' intent" by measuring the depth of "dimples" and the width of "hanging chads." My country had gone nuts.

But this time I didn't feel so all alone. It wasn't the team of Bush lawyers that gave me hope. It was the crowds of normal, everyday folks who started gathering outside any place ballots were being "counted." When one county's election board got tired of the oversight by each sides' lawyers and moved the counting into private, the crowd outside got wind of it and went a bit nuts. They stormed into the hallway outside the room the election board had holed themselves into and screamed bloody murder.

It worked. People just like me forced liberty on their government. There was plenty of passion, but no violence. Suddenly, I felt less frustrated. If those twenty or thirty people could stand up for right, then I could too. Doing something would surely be better than worrying and complaining.

So I got involved with the local republican party and come the election of 2004, I was sitting in the poll as an official observer. There wasn't much to observe. The poll in my precinct is run by a wonderful old lady who'd no sooner cheat than she'd sprout wings and fly away. But it felt damned good to DO something.

I've tried in the last few years to educate myself about what this country should and could be. I started reading a lot of the history of the founding and the works of Jefferson, Paine, Hobbes and Locke. I've got a lot more to learn, but its becoming increasingly clear that we're squandering the inheritance of our forefathers.

I believe Americans remain a basically good people who have allowed themselves to be lulled to sleep by a huge and paternalistic government. Since most of us are educated by that government, we never realize how far our ship of state has drifted off course. This blog is my own attempt to get all hands on deck before it's too late. I want my son to have a good strong ship under his feet so that the ocean in front of him is a highway to all of life's possibilities and not an impassable barrier.

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