CHAPTER TWO: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT (part two)

Given all of the above, I have come to a conclusion – an epiphany in the form of a short and simple phrase.  It boils the purpose of government down to one short truism defended by the very history ofAmerica’s birth and the legislative intent behind the framing of our Constitution.  The phrase is straightforward and easy to digest – it is therefore my hope that Republicans can better understand and thusly enact this “sound bite” as an elucidation of the phrase, “small government”.  Without further ado:

The true purpose of any government is to protect, not to do!  This is especially true of the federal government which is meant to act on only certain explicitly defined powers. 

Now, of course, it is near impossible to pare the parameters of appropriate government action into a sound bite, and as such, it is necessary to explain further what it is that I mean if only to avoid being misunderstood.  As previously discussed, the government should act only by the execution of the law.  This is because law, in its purest form, is designed to provide equal justice for all. 

Now, in applying the law, the government has two tools at its disposal, both of which, if wielded unwisely, are extremely dangerous.  The first is force, utilizing the police and military, and everything between.  The second is regulation.

Regulation can be a tricky beast, however.  Over regulation of an industry is undeniably crippling to its ability to produce and compete both in domestic and global markets.  In fact, the process of studying, organizing, preparing and then regulating and fumbling through waves of litigation has impeded American progress at an escalating and alarming rate since the 1940s.  An intricate and growing web of bureaucracy has eroded our great tradition of ingenuity and roll up our sleeve, get it done attitude, and it is why Japan is nearing8,000 milesof high-speed train line while we have only one such line.  Senseless over regulation is why our vast natural gas reservoirs remain veritably untapped and why NASA estimates it will take us twenty-plus years to put a man on the moon again, compared to just nine in the 1960s, before the microchip was even invented.  Regulation, therefore, in many respects, is a problem that must be dealt with ifAmericais to move forward competitively in the global marketplace.

Yet, regulation is necessary!  It has its legitimate purpose, and that purpose is to protect.  To protect against the over zealous, yes, but truly, regulation is properly utilized only when it tells one person or group that it cannot infringe upon the liberties of another.  Regulation properly guards the liberties of all against the desires of any particular group (faction) to directly harm another, or even to act in a way that is reasonably calculated to lead to a great harm to the constituency. 

The formulation of regulation to protect against direct harm is theoretically easier – more “black and white.”  Thou shalt not kill, by way of example.  But, regulation limiting one group from acting in a way that is reasonably calculated to lead to a great harm to the constituency is more difficult.  An example of this latter version of regulation would be a regulation that, because of the moral hazard inherent therein, forbids loan originators from lending to individuals with horrible credit only to turn around and sell that imprudent risk to another institution. 

How do we know when we’ve gone too far in regulating against foreseeable harm in order to protect the many?  At what point is it simply too much regulation, where innovation, indeed progress is halted and an erosion of our American tradition of independent, productive and competitive grit evinces a palpable threat to our future prosperity?  The answer, actually, is quite clear.  

Regulation, properly formulated, warns people that the force of the law will be used against them if they do something untoward.  Regulation, improperly formulated, forces people to do something.

Sometimes it is quite difficult, because of the gray area.  We almost ask our elected officials, if you really think about it, to be prophetic, to foresee impending, even if lurking doom.  But, this is the job of our legislators, is it not?  Every elected official is tasked to be truly judicious and consider, with extreme scrutiny, the merits of any proposed legislation.  Unfortunately, in these days of 2,000+ page bills prepared by staff members at the guidance of lobbyists, we aren’t receiving that level of service from our congressmen. 

Turning back to the 10th Amendment and the legislative intent behind its enactment: When a federal system of government is established wherein the national government is given only defined powers and explicitly forbidden to exercise any other powers, it follows that the federal government should not be permitted to expand through the creation of agencies and programs designed to do that which it was not explicitly granted the power to do. 

Unfortunately, though, the expansion of the federal government is currently escalating at an even greater pace than subsequent to the Great Depression.  The result, as we all are aware, is a government that is hemorrhaging money, building unconscionable debt, and doing so in the provision of wasteful, ineffective and or outright broken systems.

The crisis with regards to our federal government is two fold:  Not only are critical issues not being addressed, we see that those tasks the federal government does take on are handled inefficiently.  The government’s response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil spill in theGulf of Mexico, for example, exemplifies a federal government stretched too thin, unprepared, and incompetent at doing what is actually in its proper role to perform.

Now, many would respond to the above by simply advocating for the review of government inefficiencies and the development of standard operating procedures designed to cut waste and red tape.  There is no doubt that this is desperately needed, for the government is so wasteful it is mind numbing.  For example, no matter who I ask, not one person seems to be able to adequately answer the following question:  why is it so difficult to fire a government employee? 

Usually, the answer I receive is two pronged – one, its easier to just move them to another agency; and two, there is just too much paperwork, making it time prohibitive.  Well, ever heard of a work at will system where the employer can lay a worker off for reason as well as for no reason, of course with certain restrictions such as discrimination?  I don’t know about you, but I would feel a lot safer and more confident in my government if lazy, unproductive and disingenuous federal employees could actually be fired.  Maybe this would elevate the level of customer service we receive when we call the Internal Revenue Service or visit our local Social Security Office (with all due respect to the many hard working individuals in those agencies).

However, the problem is unfortunately more systemic than can be solved by efficiency evaluation and implementation.  And the problem has nothing to do with Democrats v. Republicans, incompetence, or even corruption, though these factors certainly aggravate the situation.

The problem lies in competing interests and detached government.  The reason why our founding fathers found it prudent to vest the overwhelming majority of government power in the individual states, rather than a central government, was because they had just lived through the reality of a government betrothed to the citizens of Britain over the interests of the citizens of the colonies, and so detached from the colonial realities, it proved tyrannical.

Why is it so important to vest more powers in the state, rather than the federal government?  Didn’t Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, in the Federalist Papers, advocate for the creation of a central government to unify the states into one nation better able to guard against the dangers from foreign force and influence, mediate dissention and hostilities between the states, and safeguard against domestic insurrection and faction? Well, yes, but these were arguments to forge a union in lieu of America disintegrating into a number of confederacies with competing interests, less capable of defending against foreign interests and other pressures as a result of infighting much the same as was the reality of the warring city-states in ancient Greece.  Further, they were arguments in support of explicit powers to be granted to a central government.  They certainly were not arguments in support of granting all or even vast power to the federal government.

It is prudent to vest powers in the state governments because a federal government must take into consideration the competing interests of all the states in order to make a determination as to how it will regulate any given matter.  To be fair, the federal government must consider the reasonable interests of the citizens of not justCalifornia,New YorkorVirginia, but must consider the voice of every person in all 50 states.  In doing so, the government is rightfully endeavoring to be just and representative of its constituents. 

Unfortunately, this venerable undertaking is the exact cause of government inefficiency.  This is where red tape comes from, because, to gather the voices of 300 million, there must be forms.  There must be government employees to categorize these forms, and of course there must be a committee to develop protocols for the procedures to submit, decipher, and consider those forms.  And so on.

After millions and millions are spent, a system is finally implemented.  And what do we get?  We get a system that addresses little if any of the particular concerns brought to Congress’ attention by the interested localities, but instead mandates in a way that theoretically won’t upset any particular group.  The result is a wasteful program that does not address that which it was created to address, or is severely hampered in its philanthropic intent to so do.  The program burdens the entire nation, and therefore is answerable to the entire nation, depriving it of any ability to succinctly address the problems facing the region that originally requested help. 

Why?  Again- human nature!  If I am required to pay for a program, I will require a say in how that program is run.  Multiply that by 300 million, and suddenly thousands ofMainelobster fisherman, through their representatives in Congress, are telling farmers inCaliforniahow to irrigate their crops. What we get is a far off, isolated, but all too interested government engaged in false philanthropy, creating a result contrary to their altruistic purpose.  What we get is a catch-22!

The problems, though, do not stop there.  Unfortunately, and as a direct result of government programs designed to provide for the welfare of all, human nature rears yet another ugly head – entitlement. 

Entitlement programs, as they are sometimes called, are programs that are initially designed to address a particular problem plaguing a region or group of individuals.  The program is created, and, so as to not discriminate, other groups and individuals are granted access to the program upon demand.  The program grows, and grows.  It becomes more and more inefficient, wasteful and ironically, less capable of addressing the concerns of those it is “helping”.  Congress, in its right mind, then, may attempt to cut spending on that program. 

But woe to the Congressman who votes to cut spending for such a program.  He or she will be maligned for cutting funding to schools, welfare, veterans aid, or whatever program is to be cut.  There will be riots in the streets.  We are witness to this inGreece,France,England– all overEurope, and it has already begun here in theUnited States.

If a Republican votes to cut a program, the Democrat opponent will campaign on a platform crucifying him for cutting off the funds, and vice versa.  Why?  First, because insofar as political posturing is concerned, it is successful.  It is propaganda 101.  But, to truly answer the question, I find it prudent to further analyze why these programs become entitlement programs.

An entitlement program is a federal program that guarantees a certain level of benefits to persons or entities who meet requirements set by law, such as Social Security, farm price supports or unemployment benefits. If an individual or group meets the legal requisites for receipt of government aid, it leaves no discretion with Congress on how much money to appropriate.  Moreover, some entitlements carry permanent appropriations.

The reason why government programs are nearly impossible to dismantle, whether or not they fit into the narrow definition of an entitlement program, is because they breed dependency into the minds and hearts of those they “help”.

Once you become dependent upon something or someone else doing a particular thing for you, it is human nature to rely upon that external force to always do it for you.  Why should I save money for retirement if the government is doing it for me?  Why should I work if the government will ostensibly pay me not to work?  Going back to the concept of plunder, and why government is necessary to guard against man’s animalistic instinct to take from others instead of producing for themselves – we plunder and we sit idly while things, gadgets, robots and governments do for us because, just like water, it is in our nature to follow the path of least resistance. 

Now, fast forward five, ten, twenty or thirty years into the future to when people have become entirely dependent upon any particular program, and try to dismantle that program.  Good luck!  Those dependent upon the program will riot in the streets and fight tooth and nail for that which they feel they are entitled to.

Analogy time! One of my favorite channels to watch is the Discovery Channel.  Recently, they aired a series titled Life, in which Oprah Winfrey narrates to some of the most visually stunning high-definition footage of the world that surrounds us.  In one particular episode which analyzed the intricacies of mammals and how we’ve evolved to become the dominant species on the planet, we find ourselves following the lives of myriad animals ranging from dolphins and whales to meerkats and cheetahs.  The thesis of the episode is that the key to mammal’s success as a class is not just in the size of our brains, but actually results from our exhibiting the most complex social behaviors out of any in the animal kingdom.  In other words, we are successful because we live and die by the strength and weakness of our families and our capacity to use and share wisdom across generations allows us to flourish.

At one point, we find ourselves learning of the close-knit family dynamic which shapes the African Elephant’s ability to rule the landscape.   We follow a heard of six or seven elephants lead by a matriarch, the oldest and wisest female, and her daughter which has just birthed a one day old baby elephant.  Soon, the baby elephant gets stuck in waste deep mud at the edge of his first watering hole.  The mother quickly comes to the rescue, extending a trunk to push the baby elephant out of the mud.  Unfortunately, she is only pushing her baby deeper and deeper into the mud.  Finally, the matriarch pushes the mother out of the way and simply lets the baby figure out how to escape the mud on his own.

This tale of a baby elephant’s struggle is a perfect analogy for our federal government.  You see, despite the mother’s good intentions, it was best for her to let her baby figure it out on his own.  Let’s assume she helped him out.  What would happen the next time he got stuck in the mud, or the time after that?  If the baby elephant could always rely on his mother to get him out of the mud, he would understandably become dependent upon it and never have the incentive or chance to figure it out for himself.  Then, one day, he gets stuck in the mud and his mom isn’t around, resulting in him baking to death, unable to escape the sun’s rays to shade or water.

Likewise, what happens when the federal government is unable to bankroll inefficient entitlement programs through the expansion of our deficit?  All those people so dependent upon the program will be left out to dry. 

Moreover, just as the mother elephant made things worse for the baby elephant, the federal government, through action, often makes it harder for individuals and localities to efficiently govern and produce for themselves as they need and see fit. 

Understanding the dangers of a strong, vast and expanding federal government in the context of today’s modern politic, and the roadblock it places in the path toward more perfect liberty and justice for all is essential to the rebirth of the Republican platform.  The federal government must be reduced in size and efficiencies implemented post-haste.  

But what of the critical issues facing our nation?  For let me be clear- the challenges facing our nation are many, and they absolutely be met!  It is not sufficient to argue that government should be smaller, that deficit spending must be choked off, and in that same breath ignore the critical issues of our time.  It is the failure to meet these critical issues, decade after decade, that has lead us to this pivotal moment in our nation’s history.

Now is not the time to cut government funding, many will argue.  How, they will ask, can we tackle the mounting problems facingAmericawhile simultaneously reducing the size of the federal government?  The Democrats will argue that the issues cannot be met without the further extension of the federal government’s long arm into growing jurisdictions or an emergency increase in the debt ceiling.  But they are dead wrong!

The answer is found in our very own backyards, our local town, city and county governments and most of all, in our state governments.  As was the intention of our founding fathers, the true power in government to effect change is laid in the state.  For it is each locality and each state that best knows how to govern the intricacies of the varying geographies within their boarders. 

Unfortunately, the current paradigm of American governance has shifted to where the federal government increasingly administers programs that should be left to the states, either by holding the operation of those programs ransom with the carrot that is federal aid, or through the outright commandeering of those functions.  We are increasingly delving into a system of governance where the reality is that of the American management of states.  Instead, as was the legislative intent behind the 10th Amendment, it not only should, but absolutely must be theVirginia management of Virginia, New York of New York, California ofCalifornia, and so on! 

Yet, states as well as the individuals comprising each state are looking to the federal government to do more and more.  Congressmen and Senators are increasingly taking the burdens ofAmericaon their shoulders, directing the awesome force of federal government at the states in reaction to the simple fact that states are failing in the tasks provided them, such as the administration of proper education.  And so, the Democrats have taken up liberty’s torch, having seen that so much is being left undone at state and local levels, erroneously using the interstate commerce clause of the United States Constitution to mandate what should be done. 

And it is not just the Democrats who increasingly are seeing it fit for the federal government to engage in the false philanthropy of providing for the welfare of all through government mandate.  The Republicans, though their appropriations are aimed at different pockets, are equally as guilty of using the treasury coffers to fund inefficient programs outside the proper scope of federal government.

The Republicans have lost their way.  Deep down, in our stomachs, we have always known the flawed thinking of “socialism”.  We’ve read Orwell’s masterpiece, “1984”, we’ve been taught about the dangers of communism, but we’ve lost the tongue for being able to express what we even mean by “small government” in an age when government is rapidly expanding, often at our direction.

In order for the Republican party to regain its strength as more than just a viable party, but one that actually leads this great nation once again to prosperity, our platform must begin with revolutionizing local and state politics.  The core of American politics must be infused with a revitalized and re-focused Republican platform that understands that the role of government is to regulate in order to protect, not to do everything for its constituents.  This mentality will enable the implementation of fiscal responsibility in state and local budgets as well as empower those governments to more succinctly tackle the critical issues facing their respective regions.

Why is this so important?  In fiscal year 2010, state governments collectively ran a budget deficit approaching $55 billion; the result of both Democrats and Republicans allowing government to expand into improper arenas.  In doing so, we are thereby strapping state governments in their ability to properly perform the functions they ought to be performing. 

This year, in particular, the near bankruptcy of the majority of our states is analogous to the mother elephant and her newborn stuck in the mud.  The states, addicted to federal funds, almost unanimously turned to Troubled Asset Relief Funds and other sources of bailout moneys to delay their bankruptcies.  But, now, the federal government is increasingly unable, or at least unwilling to borrow money fromChinato underwrite the states and pull them from the mud.  What now?

There is absolutely no question that the federal government has the authority as well as the duty to govern in certain arenas.  But, it is with the states that the majority of power must remain if we, as Americans, are to continue to honor the intentions of our sage founders.

Empowering each region to budget for that which is of greater importance to their constituents will allow each region the flexibility to tackle their laundry list of problems in the order they see fit.  The result – pockets of happy constituents popping up across counties, cities, towns and states.  Further, as each of these local and state governments are directly accountable by their respective taxpayers as to money spent and a proximal demand for results directly effecting the region, it stands to reason that these governments will have more incentive to efficiently and expeditiously address the relevant issues than the federal government could plausibly ever have. 

This will further result in each locality creating new and innovative ways to tackle the issues plaguing their region.  One county or one state may develop craftier solutions than the other, and as capitalism goes, the next state over will be free to build upon the advances of the next.  This is the true American way.  The alternative, nationwide, top-down standard operating platforms – the trend of today, not only stifles innovation, but also sets in stone today’s system(s) as the best we can hope for.

As Republicans, we must rise from the ashes, begin at the grass roots, and institute fundamental change in every locality in this nation.  We must change politics from the inside out, from its core, starting with town, city and county government, right to the doorsteps of our state capitals. We must fight to free local and state government from the strings of entitlement programs and a host of inefficient systems, thereby bringing state budgets into fiscal responsibility. 

As the states become more fiscally responsible and resolutely focused on tackling the critical issues facing the residents within their boarders, there will be less for the federal government to do, freeing up the treasury to invest in what it properly should and providing the necessary opportunity to reduce the federal deficit.  Then, and only then, will there be less of a need for states to reach out to the federal government for aid.  Best of all, perhaps, utilizing state and local governments as they were originally intended will work to remove the Democrats’ desire to spend on false philanthropy from Capital Hill.

Advertisements

CHAPTER TWO:

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT 

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

– 10th Amendment to the Constitution (1791)

Tour the vastness of America, from sea to shining sea, and you will find that Republicans on the West Coast will almost universally answer the same as Republicans on the East Coast when asked what they believe is the core principle of the Republican platform.  “Small Government”, they will answer.

This central belief is echoed in every Young Republican or County Republican Committee meeting across this great land.  On our campaign brochures and bumper stickers you will usually find key phrases such as “cut government spending”, or “Washington is spiraling out of control”.  In one form or another, the concept finds its way into nearly every Republican campaign.

But what do we mean when we say government needs to be smaller?  At first blush, you may think this to be a rhetorical question.  But it is not!

I ask the question because, unfortunately, as Republicans, and certainly as a nation, we’ve forgotten the answer and seem to remember only the slogan.  So many of us no longer fully understand the power of this political “sound-bite”, and it is evidenced by the way we have been leading our constituents. 

During the Bush presidency, government spending at the federal level increased at a historic pace, and concomitantly, the deficit spiraled out of control.  Did the federal government shrink?  Now there’s a rhetorical question! 

Now, when I bring this up at the county meetings, my fellow Republicans are quick to point out that President Obama is much worse, and Nancy Pelosi is tantamount to a socialist antichrist.  The disdain expressed for the Democrats is visceral.  And, to be frank, I find it distasteful. 

I find it repugnant because the former affability and deference in politics is not just missing, but will soon prove extinct when the hatred of the “other side” is systemic, right down to the grass roots, as a preached and learned incantation.  What’s worse is that the ones who lose out are the people.  “We must retake America,” my fellow Republicans will shout- and I agree, but they go further to rant that the Democrats are liars, socialists, communists, evil.  This is plain ridiculous. The fact that they are misguided does not make them evil. 

It is necessary that we, as Republicans, break free from this need to vilify the Democrats.  This is necessary for many reasons, but of paramount importance is the fact that the problem in government does not stem only from the Democrats’ misguided ways.  Unfortunately, the problem lies on both sides of the isle.  Both are spending too much and doing so while presiding over the expansion of our federal government into arenas entirely outside its appropriate reach.  Both parties are running afoul of the true purpose of government and, as such, it is unacceptable to point out the inequities of the Democratic Party with a blind eye to the problems permeating our own. 

So, back to my “rhetorical” question: What do we mean when we say “small government”?  And to be more succinct, I suppose I should ask – what should we mean?

One answer to the question is rooted in the Bill of Rights.  The 10th Amendment to the Constitution is clear: “The powers not delegated to the United States (Federal Government) by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Seems pretty explicit, right?

Thomas Jefferson described the 10th Amendment as “the foundation of the Constitution” and added, “to take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn … is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

Jefferson’s formulation is where we glean the doctrine of “strict construction”, an adherence to the actual or intended meaning of the language found within the four corners of the Constitution. 

But, just as the definition of the American Dream has proven to be complicated, so too has the doctrine of strict constructionism.  In fact, the meaning of “strict construction,” may be different depending on who uses it and in what context.  A Justice of the Supreme Court asking counsel at oral argument whether a statute should be construed strictly is likely using the term differently than a candidate on the campaign trail using the term as a surrogate for a broader set of conservative values.

The problem with the Republican campaign trail today is that so many of us have not only lost the true understanding of what we mean when we say “small government” but we have also misconstrued the purpose of Jefferson’s words. 

From Nixon to Regan and through the Bush administrations, our Republican presidents have promised to appoint strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court.  Yet, even Ronald Regan’s 1986 appointee to the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, the justice often touted as the intellectual anchor of the conservative wing, and the justice most identified with the term, has himself said that he is “not a strict constructionist and no-one ought to be,” calling the philosophy “a degraded form of textualism that brings the whole philosophy into disrepute.” 

One can understand and even appreciate Justice Scalia’s words as they seem to be a reaction to the political misuse of the term as a coded label to earn votes while simultaneously misrepresenting the true spirit of the philosophy as a theory of Constitutional interpretation.

Again, canvass the whole of the electorate spanning the nation, and innocently, our fellow Republicans will almost universally say that strict constructionism requires that only the exact language found in the Constitution may be followed.  This is wrong!  And the problem with this message being mistaken is that its true definition and meaning absolutely must form the foundation upon which the true and correct Republican platform ought to be re-constructed. 

Instead, strict constructionism is a philosophy that emphasizes judicial restraint and fidelity to the original intended meaning of the Constitution. 

Allow me to give an analogy for clarification:

As an attorney at law, when a client asks me a question to which I do not know the answer (which, by the way, let me point out the rarity of this occasion, wink)… what do I do?  The first thing I do is go into my firm’s library and pull the Virginia Code to look for a statute on point.  I pull the actual book over searching Westlaw or LexisNexis for a very particular purpose: to learn the legislative intent behind the subject statute! 

When I look up a particular code section, I not only get the black letter/strict language of the legislation, but I am also able to read a description of the history behind the enactment of the statute as well as case law on point.  In reading through and understanding the legislative intent behind the strict, stone-etched statute, I am able to extract the full meaning of the codified law.  As a lawyer, this is invaluable. 

The same modus operandi absolutely must be followed in the application of the Constitution to how we, as Republicans, lead this great nation, and promote the varying actions of state and local government in relation to that of the federal government.

When we say, “small government,” in addition to an understanding of the proper purpose of government, whether on a local, state or national level, we must also be conveying the necessity of adherence to the intended meaning of the 10th Amendment as a means to hamper the federal government’s ability to hinder our individual ability to carry forward liberty’s torch.   

Why is this so important?  Because we, as a nation, are losing control.  Individual liberties are being trampled by a federal government expanding at unprecedented speed.  State sovereignty is being usurped through over dependence on the interstate commerce clause.  Deficit spending is out of control, states have become reliant upon federal funding, and the balance of power has shifted, wherein the federal government ostensibly has all the power and the states only those explicitly granted to them.  In different form, and in a different millennium, we are finding a tea party necessary to show our disdain for a tyrannical hand taxing us without properly representing us.

Turning once more to the annals of history, we are thereby able to extract the legislative intent behind the adoption of the 10th Amendment.  And it is vital that we do so, because an understanding of the intended meaning behind these final words in the Bill of Rights educates us as to the true and proper purpose of government under our Constitution.  This precise knowledge is what we as Republicans have lost; and we must regain it in order to empower us to lead by example again.

To begin, one need look no further than the Declaration of Independence itself.  Our decision to absolve ourselves of any allegiance to Great Britain was made in reaction to, “a long train of abuses and usurpations,” by the British Crown, evincing, “a design to reduce them (us) under absolute depotism.”  Jefferson next penned a list of grievances to which petitions for redress had long been unanswered and which established factual evidence of the establishment of an absolute tyranny over the colonies by the British Crown.

The tyranny of a far off government which ruled over the lives of the colonists without regard to justice and the common good, which stripped us of all representation, voice and security, necessitated the waging of the Revolutionary War.  And when our independence was won, we were justly reticent to create a central government to preside over the union of the states, much less grant it powers over their sovereignty. 

This fear of a strong central government was further evidenced by the delay in the endorsement of the Articles of Confederation.  Although the Articles of Confederation were adopted by Congress on November 15, 1777, it was not until March 1, 1781 that Maryland became the final state to sign, thusly forming the union of the states as a single nation for the first time.  The delay was caused by the ongoing war, but also as a consequence of strong public sentiment in opposition to vesting powers in a national government presiding over the sovereign states.  

As a result, Article II of the Articles of Confederation declared that, “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” 

This intent that the central government have few and well defined powers was so universal, in fact, that the government proved too weak to function.  Because the central government had no power to collect taxes, for example, the Articles of Confederation were dissolved and replaced by the Constitution. 

And finally, the history of the ratification of the Constitution itself lends to the legislative intent behind the enactment of the 10th Amendment.  An ideological battle raged between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists who disagreed as to whether a Bill of Rights was even necessary to the ratification of a Constitution which vested powers in a federal government. 

In Federalist Paper 84, Alexander Hamilton asserted that ratification of the Constitution did not mean the American people were surrendering their rights, and, therefore, protections were unnecessary: “Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain everything, they have no need of particular reservations.”

Anti-Federalists, such as Patrick Henry, on the other hand, publicly argued against the Federalist proposed Constitution as a clear threat to individual rights, expressing fear that the President would become a king much the same as the tyrannical King George from whom they had just won their independence.

The desirability of a Bill of Rights was powerful and widespread, a sentiment the Anti-Federalists capitalized on in the 1788 ratification convention in Massachusetts.  The Federalists were forced to agree to the Massachusetts Compromise permitting delegates with doubts as to the Constitution to recommend amendments to be considered by Congress subsequent to ratification.  Notwithstanding this compromise, North Carolina refused to ratify the Constitution until clear progress was shown toward the codification of a Bill of Rights.

And so, in 1789, the First United States Congress met in New York City’s Federal Hall, first, and foremost, with the task of considering proposed amendments to the Constitution, the majority of which pertained to the protection of individual rights.  As a result, the Bill of Rights, penned by James Madison, and based in large part on George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, were adopted.

The legislative intent behind the enactment of the Bill of Rights, which includes the 10th Amendment, then, is quite clear. Learning from then recent history, Americans were aware of the dangers a disassociated, central government with vast, undefined and unquestionable powers, posed to the liberty for which they had just fought and won.   They understood the necessity of explicitly outlawing the encroachment by the government onto those liberties, and in doing so, intended to delineate the limits of the federal government’s powers.

Through a long line of Supreme Court rulings, ranging from Wickard v. Filburn, wherein the court ruled that the Congress, via the commerce clause, could regulate the production of wheat on a family farm; to Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, where the court forever changed the standard of review of the constitutionality of a federal law to whether that law is “destructive of state sovereignty or violative of any constitutional provision,” the intended meaning and application of the 10th Amendment to the provision of federal governance has changed drastically.  

However, while many of my contemporaries quibble in the fascinating intricacies of each of these cases and the effects they have on the way in which the federal government goes about its business, I posit that the true meaning of the 10th Amendment, the legislative intent behind its enactment, comes from a historical understanding of the very purpose of government itself.  As such, any “construction” of the 10th Amendment, or the Constitution, and the powers therein granted to the federal government and reserved to the states, absolutely must be based upon the proper purpose of government, and be rooted in a proper understanding of that purpose. 

In other words, I believe the best way to understand the 10th Amendment is to gain an understanding of what law is meant to accomplish and what government’s true and limited purposes ought to be.  This knowledge of the true purpose of government was the antecedent to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, for without it the founding fathers could never have penned any of the documents as they did, nor would they have structured our system of ordered liberty as they did. 

The legislative intent behind the 10th Amendment, then, is found in an understanding of the role of government.  Moreover, an understanding of the proper purpose of government allows us to regulate how we, as Republicans, promote certain actions as government leaders.

What, then, is the role of government?  What ought to be its purpose and its limits?  As Republicans, we must re-learn the answer to these questions, for it is out of a misguided and ill-informed understanding of the role of government that the Democrats are operating to project what we call “socialism” onto our society.

Government, by very definition, is political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states.  This political direction and control is both created and exercised in the application of law.  To understand government, and its proper purpose, then, we must delve even deeper to define law.

Building from history, I again find that it is unnecessary for me to re-invent the wheel when defining law.  In his thesis, The Law, French economist and statesman, Frederic Bastait, defined law as “the organization of the natural right to lawful defense.  It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces.”  He went on to say that, “this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do; to protect persons, liberties, and prosperities; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.” 

Government, being the administrator of the law, therefore, can only have, as its purpose, the protection of persons and their liberties and prosperities, and do so through the administration of justice.  It is when the government attempts to do more than this that it not only tramples the rights of some of the constituents it is sworn to protect, it becomes a legal framework for injustice. 

To be more clear, a legal framework for injustice arises when the government, sworn to protect liberty, destroys that liberty through the enactment and execution of laws designed to give government more power than it ought to have.  It is on this slippery slope that the government is able to transfer property in whatever form, land, money, etc., from the person who owns it, without his consent or compensation, to someone else, and do so legally.   And it is well down this slippery slope that our federal government now finds itself.

This, “legal plunder”, as Bestait called it, is born of two roots:  the first is human greed.  Law itself is necessitated by this first root.  And it was the legislative intent of our founding fathers to guard against this greed by creating a system of checks and balances through the division of power amongst the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.  The second cause of legal plunder grows from the seed of false philanthropy.  Today, though, it has become the mentality of too many, Republicans and Democrats alike, that the government should not only be just, it should also be philanthropic.  The government, for the better part of a century now, has been utilized as a tool to extend welfare to all. 

This is certainly not to say that welfare for all is a bad thing – no, I’m instead pointing out the problem with how this philanthropic ideal is currently being implemented.  Unfortunately, a paradox occurs when the federal government tries to create welfare for all.  Ironically, by taking more and more from the haves, and giving to the have nots (legal plunder), the government makes things worse for everyone. 

Going back to why I find it distasteful when Republicans vilify Democrats:  Given the state of affairs in America; how much has been left undone and needs to be tended to, it is no wonder that the Democrats find it necessary to utilize the government toward social agendas designed to establish a greater welfare for their constituents.  Their “socialist” agendas, I don’t think are born of any hatred for America and the continued prosperity of our people.  To the contrary, they are trying to fight, as they know how, for the continued prosperity of our people.  Their intentions are admirable, not evil, and we, as Republicans, must understand and certainly respect this if we are to ever work in concert with them to properly address the critical issues facing our nation. Simply put, it is not a question of whether these critical issues need to be addressed, rather, it is a question of how!

My applause for the Democrats, therefore, stop there.  The Democrats may not be immoral and plot through malevolent conspiracies, but they are certainly misguided. And, unfortunately, their well-intentioned imprudence has grave consequences, many of which we now face.

The Democrats’ use of the federal government to not only promote, but require social change through federal programs that reach across state boarders into communities and households, is born of false philanthropy.  Many of the ills in our society that these federal programs are intended to address, desperately need to be addressed, no question, but it is not the role of the federal government to address them through ever expanding agencies designed to mediate the welfare of us all.

The problem with socialism and the redistribution of wealth, as policy, is that it not only erases the incentives to innovate, but causes great displacements in capital, labor and even populations as both intended and often as an unintended consequence.

A historical example of this is the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1929 which is commonly considered to be one of the contributing causes of the Great Depression.  The law was passed by Congress to institute the highest tariff in U.S. history.  It taxed thousands of imported items at increased rates with the intent to increase our nation’s revenue on imported commodities.  The idea was to make American goods less expensive than foreign goods, putting money in the pocket of American industry rather than foreign.  Seems like a pretty good “philanthropic” intention, right? 

Unfortunately, foreign nations passed retaliatory tariffs and refused to import many of our leading American exports, such as cars and radios.  Retaliatory tariffs were passed by countless countries and the European continent even went so far as to repudiate its war debt from World War 1.  The result: American exports plunged over 50% from 1929 to 1932.  The unintended consequences, though, were far more extensive. 

The tariff hike crippled leading American industries.  The Act, for instance, spiked the tariff on countless items used in the manufacture of Ford’s and General Motor’s vehicles.  U.S. automakers not only sold fewer cars to Europe as a result of retaliatory tariffs, they also had to pay higher prices for crucial components in their end product.  This cost, of course, was passed on to the American consumer who now had fewer and ironically more expensive options, as well as less money. 

A second historic example arises out of President Roosevelt’s New Deal intended to combat the Great Depression.  In 1933 he succeeded in passing the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA).  In essence, AAA worked as follows:  some farmers were paid to not plow and produce from part of their land; produce prices were set to pre-depression levels; processors were taxed to pay for the massive cost of the program; and the secretary of agriculture was vested with vast power to set the processing taxes, peg the price of countless commodities and determine how much land farmers should not harvest.

AAA was passed in a philanthropic effort to combat the farm problems exacerbated by the Great Depression.  The problem, boiled down to its roots, was that there were too many farmers producing too much.  Too much?  Here’s how.  Farmers could not sell their farms and move to the cities as they had in the years leading up to the Great Depression as result of the housing crash.  As a result, each farmer produced as much as he could in an effort to sell as much as he could with hopes of earning enough to put food on the table.  Problem was, every farmer was doing that, and the market was saturated, driving prices further and further down.  The economic law of supply and demand was, unfortunately, working against the farmer.

Moreover, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which caused the unintended consequence of retaliatory tariffs, meant that foreign nations were no longer buying farmer’s overproduction.

AAA, then, was designed to rein in overproduction by paying farmers not to produce and lift farm prices by setting them to a more affluent period, pre-depression.  But, again, unintended consequence reared its ugly head.

Giving the Secretary of Agriculture the power to make contracts with millions of processors, farmers and distributors, to set prices, levy taxes and legislate parity, resulted in an unprecedented expansion in the Department of Agriculture.  The Washington bureaucrats, in an effort to regulate supply and demand on a national level, and despite their compilation of voluminous data ranging from average acre yield to production aggregates, turned the U.S. from a top food export to a major food importing nation. 

Everything from cotton, corn, and wheat, to pork and beef production in America declined rapidly.  Why?  1) The bureaucrats proved inept at accurately predicting what prices were reasonable, taking into consideration weather variation and world production levels; 2) farmers switched from producing crops set at a low price to higher pegged commodities, and farmed their best acres, leaving fallow their already unproductive acres; and 3) competition between farmers was rendered futile because prices were fixed and kept in parity with the prices of other industrial and consumer products.  While the farmers earned more for their reap, AAA sewed the reality of higher costs and greater scarcity in food and other commodities.  With America still enduring the Great Depression, AAA resulted in many impoverished Americans going hungry.  Also, with fewer commodities being produced and sold, unemployment rose as textile companies were forced to lay off their workers.

Contemporarily, there can be no doubt that the government bailouts in reaction to the financial crisis of 2008 are already producing unintended consequences.  For instance, despite the prolonged “solvency” of many of our lending institutions, very little has trickled down to the consumer and lending has continued to dry. 

Given all of the above, I have come to a conclusion – an epiphany in the form of a short and simple phrase.  It boils the purpose of government down to one short truism defended by the very history of America’s birth and the legislative intent behind the framing of our Constitution.  The phrase is straightforward and easy to digest – it is therefore my hope that Republicans can better understand and thusly enact this “sound bite” as an elucidation of the phrase, “small government”.  Without further ado:

STAY TUNED FOR THE RELEASE OF THE SECOND HALF OF CHAPTER TWO: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT!!  THANK YOU FOR READING AND FOR YOUR COMMENTS. 

CHAPTER ONE:

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

It is impossible to read the history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were continually agitated, and at the rapid succession of revolutions by which they were kept in a state of perpetual vibration between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy.

If now and then intervals of felicity open to view, we behold them with a mixture of regret, arising from the reflection that the pleasing scenes before us are soon to be overwhelmed by the tempestuous waves of sedition and party rage.

– Alexander Hamilton, in “Federalist Paper 9”, 1786.

Throughout the whole of human history man has been confronted with myriad obstructions to the realization of true and complete liberty.  From tyranny on one end to anarchy on the other, a spectrum of societal constraints have to date impeded our advance to the full realization of a free and ordered society for all.

Today is no different.  But, as the fruits of the American Dream we now enjoy are built upon the shoulders of our learned predecessors, we are also privy to the lessons of history’s past.  And it is through an understanding of our history that we can forge a more perfect union for our future. 

The collective conscience of our founding fathers, memorialized in our Declaration of Independence, espoused in the Federalist Papers, and ratified in the Constitution, was not simply conjured in a vacuum and birthed in a single, brilliant and random epiphany.  Rather, these learned men were inspired by scholarly predecessors such as Montesquieu, John Locke, and the Barons who penned the Magna Carta. Our founding fathers gleaned from the anthology of erudite minds that began paving the intellectual road to liberty long before the Philadelphia Convention in 1787.

Alexander Hamilton wrote to his fellow New Yorkers in the 9th Federalist Paper that, “the science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement. The efficacy of various principles is now well understood, which were either not known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients.”

It was the wisdom of earlier prophetic political minds that informed our founding fathers to the necessity of distributing power into distinct departments; the implementation of legislative checks and balances and the representation of the people in the legislature by congressmen of their own appointment.

In their collective genius, our founding fathers engineered a Constitution meticulously calculated to act as a guided means through which the benefits of republican government could be retained and its imperfections lessened in adherence to a blueprint for a free society.

Ironically, the most ardent impediment to the continued evolution of liberty in theUnited Statesis our government, and the obstruction arises out of the very danger warned of in federalist papers nine and ten as necessitating the need for our federal form of government in the first place.  This enemy to liberty is factionalism; and it is wreaking a cancerous havoc on our federal government!

Before I delve deeper into this issue, it is necessary to define what a faction is.  James Madison defined factions in Federalist Paper 10 as, “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interest of the community.”

To me, though this definition is accurate, it does not elucidate the whole truth.  To understand factions one must first appreciate their qualities.  Since factions are a collection of individuals forged in common goal regardless of the common good, it follows that the pedigree of all factions stems from the very nature of man.  Factions, comprised of individuals, are governed by the same animalistic instincts driving their apparatus – survival of the fittest, plunder if necessary!  

I do not impetuously make this indictment for again, it is the chronicles of history that bear witness to the roots of this universal truth.  The incessant wars and genocides that rage even today, the duplicity in commerce that created the need and want for slavery, and the sweat shop “workers” of modern society, are all testaments to this unfortunate attribute of man.   A fatal tendency is born into our very DNA it seems, a primeval instinct that impels us to satisfy our desires and prosper at the expense of others if necessary.

“Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain – and since labor is pain in itself – it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work,” wrote the French economist Frederic Bastait in his masterpiece titled, The Law: A Classic Blueprint for a Free Society.  He went on to further state that, “the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work.  All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.”

Our founding fathers were innately aware of the dangers of factions, arguing for a strong central government capable of thwarting this stalwart antagonist to the sovereignty of liberty.  But what happens when the federal government implemented as a means to prevent faction becomes rotten and unproductive because of the influence of factions?  Make no mistake – this is exactly what has happened!

The reason why Americans are currently so disgusted with their government is because of the very instability, injustice and utter confusion that factions have introduced into today’s public arena.  There are a multitude of factions influencing the three branches of the federal government, all taking different form and some more polished than others after two plus centuries of politics.  There are the religious camps, the gun and tobacco lobbies, to name a few, but there are two factions that have cloaked the American Dream in shadow more than any other. 

These two factions are the accumulation of nearly every camp desirous of influencing policy inAmerica.  They are the accretion of the lobbies, deriving their power from nearly every American who exercises their right to vote.   Nothing gets done without their say – Nothing!  Because without them, the lobby would simultaneously have no sounding board and no gavel.  These dueling factions of which I speak are none other than the Republican and Democratic National Parties.   

Currently, as I write this thesis, we, the American people find ourselves more alienated from the federal government than perhaps at any point in American history.  And, unfortunately, the distrust is only deepening.  Why, then, is the electorate so disgusted with the government?  Because the Democrats and Republicans, while both have gained, lost, and regained control of government, respectively have done too little to address the critical issues facing our nation.  And what they have managed to do, they have done inefficiently and without proper moral compass. 

Just as our colonial predecessors found themselves governed by the tyrannical hand of a distant monarchy, we too are increasingly presided over by the growing reach of a federal government which for a majority of the electorate is geographically and ideologically detached.  And while the federal government increasingly infringes upon our personal liberties and impedes our ability to prosper on our own hard work in the name of great social equalization, it simultaneously is ignoring public unrest and has for far too long refused to addresses mounting tribulations facing the constituency as a whole. 

We are witness to sky rocketing debt and deficits on the federal and state levels with nothing done to address the crisis except for the establishment of an investigative commission (which costs more money), and which has no legal authority to stop the bleeding.  Financial reform, even though it is undeniably necessary and critical to the continued prosperity of our capitalist economy, was filibustered by congressmen betrothed to and indebted to financial institutions with interests contrary to the common good.  Now those same congressmen vow to dismantle the regulations.  The invasion of illegal aliens continues with nothing done, forcing states likeArizonato take matters into its own hands.  Finally, after months and months of partisan bickering and unfounded fear mongering over phantom death panels, healthcare reform was passed, but with no public option and with only the support of one third of the electorate.  Nothing has been done to address climate change, campaign finance reform, free trade reform to bring jobs back toAmerica, and the list goes on and on.  Overseas, nothing done about Iran’s nuclear program, nothing done to effectively deal with North Korea; nothing done to further peace in the middle east; nothing done to address the genocides sweeping Africa, and again, the list goes on and on.

The question that presents itself, then –  is why is nothing being done?  The answer lies in the entrenched interests of party line – the endless campaign for votes in the next election. The very reason why factions have been able to get such a strong hold on our government.

Here is a current example.  The president, as Executive in Chief, has the Constitutional authority to police America’s borders to protect the interests of the American people.  Notwithstanding this power, George W. Bush, a Republican, did nothing to effectively control the mass invasion of illegal immigrants swarming across the border.  Now, Barack Obama, a Democrat, is also doing nothing.  Nothing is being done by both parties for the same exact reason: the fastest growing demographic in America is the Hispanic vote, and if either party cracks down on illegal immigration, it risks losing that vote for generations – or is it because some companies profit from the cheap labor and are wealthy enough to influence legislation?  Both? Unacceptable! 

It is entirely unacceptable when government, an institution designed and tasked to serve the people, acts contrary to the public’s interests for the sole purpose of maintaining its own existence. 

You see, it has all come down to political posturing.  As a Senator, if I block a bill proposed by the other party from passing, I get to boast about that to my constituents, maybe even run a campaign ad regarding how ineffective the candidate for the other party is.  If I don’t vote for the bill and it passes but turns out to be a failure, again, I win.  It’s almost like a sick, twisted prisoner’s dilemma American politics finds itself in. And while the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats retaining or losing control of Congress and the Republicans worry about the same, who worries about the well-being of the American citizens?   

In addressing the dangers of factions, James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 10,The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils (by factions), have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations.”  This same danger wields a sharpened sword atLiberty’s neck today.  We must therefore act expeditiously to control the effects of these factions, or face the disintegration of theUnited States just as history witnessed the fall of theRoman Empire.

The political posturing of both parties stands in the way ofAmerica’s continued progression, stifling the very innovation that laid the foundations of our now distressed American Dream.  The holding of the party line for the vote in the next primary, not to mention the next general election, over the good of the constituency as a whole has endured for far too long as a systemic cancer in our democracy and is the seed from which outsized distrust in our government has grown.

To solve this growing problem, or lessen its effects, many would argue the answer lies in the insertion of a third, fourth or a seemingly endless parade of political parties into the foray of American politics.  The swift rise of the popular Tea Party is a testament to this line of thinking.  Yet, while at first blush enticing, this would not solve the problem, but would in fact exacerbate it. 

More parties would mean only more factions, in varying degrees of strength, yes, but added internal strife nonetheless.  Eventually, these now numerous factions, for the sake of maintaining or gaining control of Congress, would forge ungodly alliances at the expense or, in the very least, without proper regard for the needs of the people.  These alliances would be less capable of tackling critical issues as they’d be even further removed from the reality of the issues facing their constituents.  Instead of focusing on environmental legislation, they’d be focused on maintaining the alliance, forced into backroom deals and compromises of every kind before they even got around to how they would campaign on a single platform to win the next election. 

History, again, has taught us this lesson, for we need look no further than the aligning of the Nazi and Conservative Nationalist parties inGermanywhich paved the way to the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, empowering Hitler to his dictatorship.

In building upon the sage advice of James Madison, “the inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.”  Adding more parties would be like adding fuel to the fire because it would do nothing to regulate against the effects of faction.  

Over two centuries after the ratification of our Constitution, and with only twenty-seven amendments, it is understandable that certain effects of faction were not anticipated within its framework.

We have to remember that in 1787 the population of theUnited Stateswas less than four million.  Now, with more than double that living inNew York Cityalone, there are companies that employ more workers than lived in some of the states at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. The complexities of an international commerce and communication system that is evolving in stride with the explosion of technology, combined with the stress of four hundred million residing within our boarders could hardly have been contemplated by the founding fathers anymore than the Athenians could have predicted the cause of the first World War. 

The complexities of today highlight the sections of the Constitution that were vague and requires of us critical thought as to the areas not mentioned within its four corners. But, let me be clear, these societal intricacies in no way require us to abandon the sagacious construct therein formulated.

Among the purposes of the government, as organized under the Constitution, is the charge to protect against the dangers of faction.  Therefore, learning from history, and building upon the scholarly shoulders of our founding fathers, we must thicken government’s shield to guard against the effects of faction.  And, in order to do so, we must amend our system of government.

I speak of a revolution.  Not a revolution borne of sword or gun, but one of intellect and renewed dedication to the soul of our ordered liberty.  Just like the decaying inner cities of our nation require a face lift, a second look, so too does our government if we are to continue to form a more perfect union.

To be clear – I do not advocate revolution by way of dismantling the Constitution.  To do so would be contrary to every morsel of my being and to everything I know in my heart to be good and just about the government of theseUnited States.

Instead, I propose a dramatic revolution within the political party that I believe has traditionally adhered more closely to the principals propounded in the Constitution itself, but today is unfortunately contributing to the ailments that plague our society.  And, learning again from history, ironically I propose, among other things, that the Republican Party return to its conservative roots in order to fundamentally revise American politics and change the direction our nation is headed.  I believe that the Republican Party’s failure to do so will mean more than the simple devolution of the party into irrelevance, but will spell the far more horrifying consequence of America’s systemic demise.

In this thesis my goal is to lay out a new platform for the Republican Party.  A platform that is truer to Republican values than what is being practiced today, but also one that draws lines in the sand where needed and erases the negative mindset that purveys American politics on both sides of the isle.  Starting at the grass roots level, the platform must be used by the Republican Party to revitalize the electorate while tackling the mounting critical issues facing us as a nation.  This platform will usher in a new era of liberty and prosperity for Americans and do so by more closely adhering to the legislative intent behind the Constitution, as well as buttress core principles, such as checks and balances, that constitute the backbone of our system of governance. 

The Republican Party has lost its way, and failure to react accordingly will only result in the continued degradation of the American Dream.  As Republicans, it is no longer sufficient to say no to everything the Democrats proffer, or to demonize them because they did it to us when we were in office.  Americans deserve so much more and better than what we’ve been providing as their entrusted leaders.  They know it, and we know it!

Very clearly, if we are to tackle the issues facing our nation, Republicans and Democrats alike, our government, our institutions, all of us must transcend the infighting that has kept our great nation from progressing as it should.  We must pull ourselves from the mud and work toward perfecting our union, rather than sitting idle and resting on our laurels.  We have a choice, here and now.  Do we continue to wallow in our mediocrity and allow our once great nation to disintegrate as mightyRomedid centuries before, or do we reaffirm our ideals and fight harder than we have ever fought to restore the American Dream in all its wonder for ourselves and for future generations?

Part of me would like to quote a founding father here, but if another shoe fits, wear it.  As Spiderman’s uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Nothing could be more true.  TheUnited States of America, as the strongest and most affluent nation on this planet, has a unique responsibility as a beacon of hope for all mankind.  But we as a nation cannot be the light shining on the hill for all other nations to bear witness if individually, as Americans, we are lost in the dark, and worse yet, our government is leading us into a deepening abyss.  And so, it is up to us, Republican, Democrat, Independent – all Americans to pick upLiberty’s torch and forge a path out of the shadows. We must become the path once more. 

We must LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: RETURNING OUR REPUBLIC TO ITS REVOLUTIONARY ROOTS

 

INTRODUCTION:

THE AMERICAN DREAM

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement…it is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

– James Truslow Adams in “American Dream”, 1931.

            The American Dream is more than a patriotic, national ethos.  At its roots, the American Dream is a core belief in the unique opportunity being a citizen of the United States affords each American; that our unyielding democratic ideals are a promise of prosperity for our people. 

            The notion of the American Dream itself is derived from the circumstances giving rise to the very birth or our great nation, in the way our American colonies declared themselves dissolved of the political shackles which had long bound them to the tyrannical hand of Britain.  This unprecedented leap of faith was the first step toward the realization of a free, yet governed people, and it made the American Dream possible.

          The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence so boldly and brilliantly states that,  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

            This core belief in the unalienable rights of the individual, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the people, is not only one of the guiding principles so brilliantly propounded by the founding fathers into the framework of America’s ordered liberty, it is the pillar upon which this great nation has built the most influential, powerful, free and wealthy society this planet has ever hosted.

            It is the idea that if one works hard enough, if he or she is willing to roll up their sleeves, society should leave the individual free to reach his or her full potential.  This philosophy, this potent and powerful mind-set, undeniably, is the backbone of America’s success, for it is the blood, sweat and tears of the individual that has engineered our nation’s prosperity. 

           The American tradition of protecting and promoting this just and capitalistic mindset, coalesced with ordered liberty, has proven to be our recipe for success.  It’s changed our infrastructure, innovated how we cultivate resources, heat our homes, and power our businesses – and it has spread throughout the globe.  Freedom in innovation has given birth to a seemingly endless potential for individual wealth, and as a designed consequence, our nation has reaped a collective reward. 

            The power of the individual being set free to put his mind to something and be unhampered in the pursuit of that goal, gave us the light bulb, the telephone, the automobile, the air plane and the internet.  It’s the collective mind frame that if we want to, we can put a man on the moon.  Our potential, from the individual, systemically to the apex of government, is limitless.

            The concept of the American Dream, though, has fundamentally evolved over our history.  Contemporarily, the American Dream is widely considered to merely be the ability to bring prosperity to oneself by dint of living within our boarders.  In common parlance, in fact, the American Dream is widely used as a description of personal achievement so as to convey the pride of home ownership; our society’s ostensible symbol of individual success.

            I myself live in this “American Dream”.  Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac in a middle-class, suburban neighborhood just off of Route 66, Northern Virginia’s major artery leading into the heart of the Nation’s Capital, sits my single family, center-hall Colonial with a two car garage and yes, a white picket fence.  Parked in the garage are a Ford Escape Hybrid and a Ford Fusion Hybrid.  And when I sit on my backyard patio, enjoying my personal oasis, proud that all of this is paid for by my salary as an attorney at law, I’m grateful for my little piece of heaven, my tangible piece of the American Dream.

            But there’s so much more to my American Dream – and everyone else’s for that matter.   The majesty of the American Dream transcends the basic achievement of material plenty.  The simple fact that I am lucky enough to have a respected job, beautiful home and comfortable cars tells nothing of my core beliefs, my upbringing, and my complete respect and appreciation for all that I am so privileged to have. 

          For me, it is my parent’s story that resonates as symbolic of the very underpinnings of the American Dream.  You see, personally, and I believe it to be the case for so many Americans, family is where the American Dream is born and from where it emanates.  Because, if I had to boil a definition of the American Dream down to a single word, that word would be hope.  A hope to be free of the shackles of tyranny or religious persecution; hope for a better life for oneself and most of all, hope for a better life for our children.  This hope, this American Dream, drove our ancestors to brave the icy clutches of the Atlantic in pursuit of a New World, and the vision lives on today as more people continue to immigrate to our shores in pursuit of a better and more free life than to any other nation on the planet.

            In the 1960s, my mother, Gerd Dahling Kidwell, boarded a ship from Norway, not much unlike the seafaring explorer Leaf Ericson had centuries before.  Leaving behind her home country, she came to America as an opare for a wealthy British family. 

        One particularly hot summer evening, my mother went out with a group of her Norweigan girlfriends to have a drink at the Bavarian Inn in Washington D.C.  It was there that she caught the eye of a tall, handsome, United States Army Specialist: my father, H. Kent Kidwell.  Stationed in Fort Mede, and off for the evening, he and his army friends were also out looking for a good time.

            I’ll never forget the story, and of course the story is different depending upon whether my mother or father tells it.  But, as I chose to remember it – my father, confident as he is, strutted over to my mother and offered to buy her a drink.  Already Americanized, and thusly opportunistic, my mother accepted the young gentleman’s offer.  It wasn’t long after her drink had arrived that my father asked her out.  She pretended like she couldn’t understand him at first, now that she had her drink of course, politely thanked him for the cocktail, and ignored him.

            But if my father is one thing, he’s persistent.  He asked her again.  She said no.  He went away and then came back later in the evening to ask her out again.  Same answer.  And so this playful back and forth went on for the entire evening until finally she said yes.  The rest of the story, as they say, is history.

            My father’s stubborn persistence, I believe, comes as a direct result of his childhood.  The reason why I believe I live the American Dream is because my father personifies the core principles of American Dream. 

 My father grew up in many households, but he first lived with his mother in the tiny, Appalachian mountain town of Great Cacapon, West Virginia.  Great Cacapon is an unincorporated town nestled in the blue ridge valley on the shores of the Cacapon River, a stone’s throw north of where the river meanders into the mighty Potomac.  The town straddles a quiet, two-lane road, Route 9, and if you blink, you’ll miss it.

             As an adult, my father built a small log cabin about ten miles north of Great Cacapon.  In fact, I wrote the first words of this thesis sitting on the cabin’s screened porch, overlooking a five acre field, a now vacant cow pasture, valleyed in the shadow of a tree-hugged mountain towering over the Cacapon River.

              My father purchased the land upon which the cabin is now built in 1987, and since then our family and friends have made the two hour drive from Northern Virginia to visit as often as possible.  Anybody and everybody who has ever been to this remote sanctuary will attest that as soon as you turn off route 9 onto the gravel road,  roll the car windows down to hear the crackle of the rocks under the tires and that first breath of fresh mountain air blows in your face, you are immediately at peace.  In that very moment, the hustle and bustle mindset of any beltway-insider will melt away.

            From there you travel about a mile and a half down a meandering, dirt and gravel trail, greeted by herds of deer sometimes exceeding forty-strong, until you come to the Kidwell property. 

            Before the cabin was built, we’d pitch tents in the field just off the river’s embankment.  I’ll always remember the first night we pitched tents on the property.  We stopped at a butcher’s shop on the way up to get the obligatory steaks which we grilled on a miniscule portable Weber.  It was just the four of us, my mom, dad, sister and I, and least I forget, the family dog, Barrister.  

            My mother boiled water which she’d scooped straight from the river.  “This water is so pure kids,” my father was sure to boast, “that the number one source of pollution is cow manure.”  To this day, I’m not sure how that was supposed to make us feel like the water was clean, but I digress. That night we all woke up in about two inches of water that’d leaked into our poorly erected tents from a torrential downpour.  The perfect family memory.  I was seven.

            Being that the cabin is only ten miles from Great Cacapon, we’d often drive into town.  “The first house on the left, the yellow one”, my father would tell us, our great grandfather built with his bare hands.  He used to ring the town’s church bell and apparently moonlighted as a boxer at fights staged on the very property where our cabin is now built. 

            We always stopped in at Magio’s, a small, general store, even if we didn’t really need anything.  At the clerk’s counter, the store owner, Mrs. Magio, set a jar filled with water and a shot-glass at rest on its bottom.  If you could drop a quarter in the water and make it into the shot-glass, you’d get a free piece of candy.  I always loved playing because, even if I lost, my mother would let me pick out a Superman comic book. 

            Magio’s has been closed for some time now.  Like many of the buildings in the small town of Great Cacapon, the window’s are boarded up and the edifice is falling into a state of disrepair.  The town’s rate of decline seems to have accelerated in recent years.

            My father did not grow up wealthy in the 1940s version of this little town in West Virginia.  It was just him, his younger brother, Tom, and his mother — his parents had divorced.  He doesn’t talk about it much, but my father opines that he never really knew his father, barely remembers him. 

            When he was sixteen years old, his mother burned their house down when falling asleep with a lit cigarette in hand.  Soon thereafter she passed on, and with his father dead of cancer, he was, for all-intensive purposes, orphaned with a younger brother to look after.

            My father bounced around from house to house, living with this aunt and that, until he was taken in by his mother’s second husband, John Manuel, after-whom I’m named. 

            John Manuel was a business man.  In fact, one of my father’s first jobs was as a trash collector at the “Big M”, a drive-in movie theatre owned and operated  by my grandfather  in Churchville, Maryland.  He taught my father respect, the value of hard work, discipline, and above all, to always look up the definition of a word he didn’t know – a habit my father has passed on to me.

            My father’s checkered childhood left him with a chip on his shoulder.  I imagine it would any young man.  He was smart and determined, and he had something to prove.  It’s as a result of my grandfather’s role as a surrogate father figure – the fact that he taught my father the importance of dignity and discipline, that my father’s determination was channeled positively.

            In 1962, after his second year of undergraduate study at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, my father joined the United States Army in its fight against the Viet-Cong in Vietnam.  He served three years as an Army Specialist, during which time he studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, prior to being stationed in Turkey with the task of intercepting messages from the Soviet Union which was supplying the National Liberation Front in their guerilla war against American troops.

            It was while on military leave that my father met my mother at the Bavarian Inn in Washington, D.C.  She worked as a dental assistant while my father continued to serve.  And when he returned, he married her in front of a General District Court Judge in Arlington, Virginia, no witnesses, no friends, just he and his bride.

            The Department of Veterans Affairs paid for my father to finish out his undergraduate studies at George Washington University, and in 1968 he graduated with a degree in Political Science. 

            At first he was going to get a Masters in Political Science and become a professor – he’d even been accepted into the program.  But at the last minute he decided, on second thought, he’d rather become a lawyer. 

            While my father attended the George Washington University School of Law he and my mother built a life out of nothing.  Collectively, they literally had nothing, not even a sofa to sit on.  But she worked and he studied, and they built a life.

            In 1971 my father joined Harrell and Muchler, a small general-practice law firm located in Bailey’s Cross-Roads, Virginia.  In 1977 he became partner and in 1985 he bought the firm and has been its leader ever since.

            My father and mother, an orphan from West-Virginia and a first-generation, Norwegian immigrant, started with nothing, and in this land of opportunity, through perseverance and devotion, they built a family.

            I grew up in what would likely be considered Middle-Class America.  By no means ever rich, some years more frugal than others, but we were never poor.  We were always comfortable, living in a larger than average house, in a quiet, safe, suburban neighborhood.  The first thing my father taught me, aside from basketball, of course, was the importance of family.

            My family is very traditional, the kind that, unfortunately, is waning in modern America.  We sat down at seven o’clock every night to have a family dinner.  My mother would set a candle lit table and cook a four course meal.  We gathered, said grace then ate.  Then it would begin…

            My father would commence by asking questions.  The first to twenty would win – what, I still don’t know.  Respect, I guess.  My sister and I would lean forward in eager anticipation and he’d ask away. He’d quiz us on the Bill of Rights and spout off the preamble to the Constitution.  Sometimes there’d be no questions, instead he’d pontificate on the concept of state rights versus federal powers, Lockean philosophy, and the notion of ordered liberty, or regale us with a story gleaned from one of his court cases.  

            Over the years we kept the same basic tradition.  Dinner every night, with some meals in front of the TV for sure, some missed here and there because, well, that’s just life, but for the most part, at the kitchen table with a candle lit.  Family Time! 

            My friends loved to come over, not just for my mom’s delicious cooking, but also for the twenty questions and story times, even if it meant no hats at the dinner table and always being required ask to be excused from the table.  Even now, it’s the same.

            It’s at that table that I learned the importance of family; the significance of respect, rules and hard work.  My parents instilled in me the considerate ways of life that, today, are regrettably ignored by so many of us.  In that warm, loving environment, I not only learned, but lived the American Dream. 

           As a young adult, I had the occasion to travel to various destinations in the third world.   What struck me as truly inspirational was that no matter how destitute and seemingly hopeless an existence some of these people appeared to live, they were always smiling and somehow, despite it all, genuinely happy.  That tells me something about the human spirit.  

          Still, witnessing with my own eyes, the extreme poverty some of these people were enduring was profoundly saddening.    They had so little – no electricity, no running water, and little food.  There was insufficient shelter and the shelter that existed would have twenty years ago been condemned uninhabitable in even our worst ghettos.   An inexplicable guilt grew deep into the pit of my stomach.  Why me?  Why do I deserve any better? 

 As a political science major in my undergraduate studies at the University of Mary Washington I studied the acute poverty of the less fortunate, but it was truly witnessing the outwardly blighted existence of so many across this world that widened my eyes to fully appreciate and actually understand the true majesty of the American Dream.  Talking to the forgotten souls of Mirmansk, Russia and eating with the Andean mountain guides of Peru, listening to how they revere America and what we as a nation stand for, has helped me to realize the influence our dream of liberty has as it reaches across our borders and spreads hope.   

           I’ve learned that the American Dream is also the unique ability of each generation to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to carry forward that noble idea, that precious, God-given truth that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their dreams by dint of being a citizen of this great nation.  I am a product of this liberty — all members of my generation and the generations before me residing in these United States and protected as to our unalienable rights are a creation of this truth.

           Collectively, each individual American is the American Dream, having been raised up on the shoulders of the generation preceding them.  As it endures today, the American Dream, simply put, is the culmination of generations before who benefited from the luxuries afforded in freedom and who carried forward liberty’s torch.  Why me?  Why do I deserve better?  To the latter – I don’t!  To the former – because I am fortunate enough to be an American!

            The hard work my parents put into building a life from nothing, raising my sister and me in a compassionate, ordered household, gave me the chance to go to school in one of the top ranked public school systems in the nation; it afforded me the opportunity to attend college and it instilled in me the drive to practice law.  It fostered in me the ability and the determination to build a better life for myself, my family, and – what I truly believe to be an essential element of the American Dream, the philanthropic aspiration to build a better life for everyone around me.

            Yet, the American Dream, however defined, is in numerous ways under siege.  Our nation is facing crisis in every direction; from the war on terror and economic depression, to climate change and educational, institutional and infrastructural decay. 

            In many ways the shining light on the hill is flickering in the dark, teetering on the brink of a blackening abyss borne of domestic decay and international pressures.  To many, and certainly for me, it’s become palpable.  Something is wrong – worse than normal. 

           The sun that once graced the amber waves of grain is graying behind a looming storm of mounting predicament.  There is a measurable sapping of confidence across our land, both in the confidence that our future will be bright and in the confidence our people have in our government as a just institution.  Sleepless nights are replete with the nagging nightmare that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights, expect to die younger and endure into a diseased planet.  In the wake of the sub-prime lending scandal, homes have been lost, jobs evaporated, businesses shuttered and families turned upside-down in economic depression.

            The reports of massacres the likes of Virginia Tech, Fort Hood and the Tragedy in Tuscon seem to be increasing in regularity and the media continuously bombards us with reports of global warming and looming economic catastrophe.  We find ourselves in the midst of two wars that have collectively endured longer than our nation’s involvement in the Revolutionary, Civil, and both World Wars combined, and with the crisis in Libya added to the shoulders of our over-stretched military.  Globally, we are witness to famine, water shortage, genocides and the spread of tyranny and extremism – none of which seem to have been curtailed by the efforts of those fighting the good fight.

            It’s nearly become overwhelming, and when the citizens of this nation turn to their political leaders, too often, they find them deaf to their cries or so deeply entrenched in party line, demonizing the other side and virtually factionalizing our nation, rather than uniting it to the common goal of tackling these critical issues.

           But, America is too important, and we as a people are too resilient to simply fade into the dark.  What we as a nation stand for: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and as the shining light of the last best hope for the remainder of humanity, must be preserved. 

         Our system is of government is flawed, but more perfect than any other on this globe.  Therefore it is up to this generation to again pick up liberty’s torch and collectively face the enemies of freedom that lurk in the dark. Let us give the greatest generation a run for its money, for the current status quo, a norm of division, hatred and faction, must be shunned so that we may continue the pursuit of a brighter future for us all.  We must climb back atop that hill and shine the light, embracing our flaws, facing the escalating issues and daunting tasks before us as one nation, under God, with the common goal of tackling them for a more perfect union for our people and for all peoples across this world. 

         For it is also a constituent of the American Dream that all who have the privilege of freedom also have the honor and duty to fight for it.  Join me!

                         

STAY TUNED FOR CHAPTER ONE: LEADING BY EXAMPLE

WHAT I SEE IN AMERICA’S DESPAIR: HOPE!

Across this great land, the faces of the once proud and mighty seem to be weighed down in mounting anxiety.   Our confidence is shot as everything seems to have gone wrong and the outlook appears only a downward spiral.

Unemployment is still over 9% nationwide with 8%+ unemployment expected through 2014.  Commodity inflation is squeezing our pockets as well, with over 1 in 10 Americans on food stamps and 1 in 4 children across the states finds themselves without ample food on a daily basis. In the wake of our nation’s credit downgrade, the stock markets are crashing with fears of a double dip recession, while we the people stop and ask, when did the recession ever end? 

Time Magazine termed the decade from 2000 – 2010 as the “Decade from Hell”, but in 2011, it only seems to be getting worse.  Mother Nature, it seems, is equally disgruntled.  This year alone we have witnessed record breaking blizzards across the east, massive flooding across the Mississippi watershed, record Tornadoes that have taken unimaginable life and caused catastrophic damage, wide-spread drought the likes of which have never been seen, and a heat wave that literally set thousands of record highs across the nation while parts of Texas experienced 57 consecutive days of 100 degrees or higher temperatures.  And least we forget the Tsunami that wiped entire cities from Japan’s coast and plunged them into a nuclear crisis on par with Chernobyl. 

Our nation is facing crisis in every direction; from the war on terror and economic depression, to climate change and educational, institutional and infrastructural decay.  In many ways the shining light on the hill is flickering in the dark, teetering on the brink of a blackening abyss borne of domestic decay and international pressures.  To many, and certainly for me, it’s become palpable.  Something is wrong – worse than normal. 

The sun that once graced the amber waves of grain is graying behind a looming storm of mounting predicament.  There is a measurable sapping of confidence across our land, both in the confidence that our future will be bright and in the confidence our people have in our government as a just institution.  Sleepless nights are replete with the nagging nightmare that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights, expect to die younger and endure into a diseased planet.  In the wake of the sub-prime lending scandal, homes have been lost, jobs evaporated, businesses shuttered and families turned upside-down in economic depression.

The reports of massacres the likes of Virginia Tech, Fort Hood and the Tragedy in Tuscon seem to be increasing in regularity and the media continuously bombards us with reports of global warming and looming economic catastrophe.  We find ourselves in the midst of two wars that have collectively endured longer than our nation’s involvement in the Revolutionary, Civil, and both World Wars combined, and with the crisis in Libya added to the shoulders of our over-stretched military.  Globally, we are witness to famine, water shortage, genocides and the spread of tyranny and extremism – none of which seem to have been curtailed by the efforts of those fighting the good fight.

It’s nearly become overwhelming, but in America’s despair, what do I see?  Hope.  I don’t see the inevitable decline into a lesser existence.  I see the strength and wisdom of a society freer than all on this planet – free in a republic to make the changes necessary to tackle the critical issues facing us.  I see hope!

Yet, while there is hope, there must also be action.  And, therein lies our problem.  When the citizens of this nation turn to their political leaders, too often, they find them deaf to their cries or so deeply entrenched in party line, demonizing the other side and virtually factionalizing our nation, rather than uniting it to the common goal of tackling these critical issues.

But, America is too important, and we as a people are too resilient to simply fade into the dark.  What we as a nation stand for: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and as the shining light of the last best hope for the remainder of humanity, must be preserved. 

Our system of government is flawed, but more perfect than any other on this globe.  Therefore it is up to this generation to again pick up liberty’s torch and collectively face the enemies of freedom that lurk in the dark. Let us give the greatest generation a run for its money, for the current status quo, a norm of division, hatred and faction, must be shunned so that we may continue the pursuit of a brighter future for us all.  We must climb back atop that hill and shine the light, embracing our flaws, facing the escalating issues and daunting tasks before us as one nation, under God, with the common goal of tackling them for a more perfect union for our people and for all peoples across this world. 

For it is also a constituent of the American Dream that all who have the privilege of freedom also have the honor and duty to fight for it.

This is precisely why I have written my book – LEADING BY EXAMPLE: RETURNING OUR REPUBLIC TO ITS REVOLUTIONARY ROOTS.  In it, I address the myriad critical issues facing our nation.  More importantly, I have painstakingly researched each subject in order to do much more than most political treatises seem to do these days: I not only diagnose the problem, but take it a step further and propose solutions. 

Therefore, as a gift to my fellow patriots, I am releasing my book for free.  My goal here is not to make millions (though that would be nice), rather, my goal is to help educate and galvanize my fellow Americans to action. 

I will be releasing each chapter, dependent upon size, as three or more blogs, throughout the next several weeks.  My hope is that my readers will spread the word, pass my message along, and spark a lively conversation/debate as to these critical issues and, more importantly, how to resolve them.  I want for people to propose solutions and how they think we should address the issues.  What I don’t want is for people to sit back and simply gripe about the issues facing us, and how the Republicans and Democrats are failing to address them, pointing fingers – Capital Hill does enough of that for us (unfortunately).  Let’s put our heads together America, and dig out of his hole…NOW!

Recognizing, as we do, the importance of dealing with education, illegal immigration, the environment, etc., we can no longer allow our representatives to promise reform and fail to deliver.  We must revolutionize with lightning speed, the likes of which we have not seen since we completely re-tooled industrialized America in a matter of months to churn out the bullets, planes and ships necessary to win World War II. 

With equal, perhaps greater resolve, we must retool and revitalize our industrial complex to modernize and erect a new, efficient energy grid.  Talking about the potential of solar energy, wind power, and how we theoretically can rid ourselves of dependence on foreign fuel will no longer cut it. 

Talk is cheap.  We must take immediate action to revamp public education in order to properly prepare our children for the rigors of a global marketplace.   We must finally take steps to remove corruption in our government and demand fidelity in our representatives, rather than perpetuate it through our continued indifference to incumbent fraudulence.

But, to do so, we must all come together, united to the singular goal of prevailing as a cohesive, patriotic force.  Together, we can accomplish anything, but in a House divided, we will all fail.  We must collectively cast aside our egocentric factions as the critical issues into which I’ve delved are faced by all Americans, regardless of race, creed or party. 

Guided by our shared American ideals, we must shun our growing predisposition to demonize one another; individually and systemically to the summit of Capital Hill.  We must stand up, all of us, and demand that our elected officials reach across party isles, not for bi-partisan reform, but for American reform!   

Returning to our revolutionary roots, relearning and reaffirming our core principals as a nation – this is how we will win the war on terror, revitalize our economy, and advance a more perfect union for ourselves and our progeny.  In this dark hour, it is our privilege as a free people and our absolute duty to lead our families, our neighbors, and the remainder of the world, by shining example.

IT IS TIME FOR SOMEBODY TO STAND UP!  WELL, I AM STANDING RESOLUTE.  JOIN ME!!

THE FULFILLMENT OF CHARITY

In June of this year I completed a ten week campaign to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  During that time I hosted a number of events and called upon my extended network to assist, and when it was all said and done, I am proud to say that I raised almost $14,000.00 for the cause.  I want to thank everyone who gave their time,  money, and support.  Your charity makes all the difference.  I also want to thank the wonderful people at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Their professionalism and compassionate attitude speaks volumes toward the Society’s reputability and I am proud to have had the opportunity and honor to work with such a great organization.

The purpose of this post, however, is not to delve into the successes of mine or any other member of the National Capital Area Chapter, although, to boast, we did raise over $1 million dollars in ten short weeks 😉 rather, my desire is to express the fulfillment of charity.

I cannot begin to describe in words how truly fulfilling it was to look into the eyes of a five year old girl diagnosed with Pre-B Lymphoblastic Lymphoma as she wrapped her arms around me and simply said “Thank You.”  That, right there, changed me forever.

In life, we often tell ourselves that we want to do something good, that we’re going to give to charity, go to the local soup kitchen, or travel abroad and lend a hand.  But, more often than not, we find ourselves too tired or busy with the monotony of our daily lives – work, family, etc.  And, as a result, we end up putting charity, God’s work, aside for another day.

Well, I’m here to tell you. DON’T WAIT!!  Do all that you can do to help those in need now. It will bring a true purpose to your life and inspire a means you never knew you had within yourself to truly appreciate and love all that you have in your life.  Trust me.

In these trying times, it seems only too easy to crawl back into our shells and hide from the trials and tribulations of this turbulent world.  Yet, it is in these dark times that we must be the light for others in need.  Now, perhaps more so than ever, it is all important that we stand up and fight for what is good and just in the world. 

Americais the most charitable nation on the planet.  Understandably, though, we are charitably drained as the international pressures mount and the economic situation at home worsens amid domestic uncertainty. We must not, cannot, turn inward.  The true greatness of America, our giving spirit, comes from within – each one of us.  It starts with you.

So, I pray that each and every one who reads this will do as follows: stop, take a deep, summoning breath, and find once more the courage, the will, and the desire to do for others as you would hope for them to do for you in your time of need.  Your family, your neighbor and your community needs your charity.  The starving children inSomaliaandKenya, inHaiti- the poor and oppressed the world over, need you.  Don’t wait until tomorrow! 

God bless you, and God bless theUnited States of America!

CHARITY HAPPY HOUR AT PJ SKIDOOS

Reminding everyone about the Charity Happy Hour I am hosting along with the Fairfax Business Connection tomorrow, the 12th, from 5:30-8PM at PJ Skidoos in Fairfax City. Please come, socialize, network, and help me in my Campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Thank you.