Ping pong politics
By Lady Liberty
Over a few games of beer pong (yes, really), I got a chance to talk a little politics with a couple of college students one recent weekend. It was no surprise to find that their view of Barack Obama was fairly positive since that demographic is almost overwhelmingly both Democrat and supportive of Obama's campaign and presidency. One said he thought that the President was a lot smarter than all of us (I disagree, and an interesting 'blog entry sets out some convincing reasoning as to how that's actually the case); another said he seemed like a decent enough man (I disagree with that, too). Yet for the first time, the positive comments were followed by a word that's becoming more and more pervasive these days where Barack Obama is concerned, and that word is "but."
Yes, Barack Obama seems to be a pretty smart guy but he's sure doing some stupid things!
Sure, Barack Obama appears to be a nice guy but his programs are bad for the country.
The fact is, it doesn't really matter what kind of scores the president received on any intelligence tests, nor should we really care whether or not we'd like him if we ever met him. While we all know that he's a charismatic user of the teleprompter and that he made myriad promises to hand out largesse from the US Treasury if he were elected, actions speak louder than words. And in his every deed, his every action since his election, he's proved himself to be either ignorant of history or uncaring for American citizens (and often both). That's not very smart, and it's certainly not very nice!
After some further discussion, I discovered a very interesting thing. Despite any otherwise positive thoughts they may have concerning the president, both young men confessed to being worried. One told me he didn't want to think about the debt the Obama administration is incurring, one that will likely burden not only him but his children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren as well. Another, despite his fears, seemed to think that he was being paranoid, that the bad things we were talking about wouldn't—couldn't!—really happen here. Sadly, a hefty part of the rationale behind their inclination to hide their heads in the sand is the belief that there's nothing they can do about the situation anyway.
I told the guys that, as much as it pained me to admit it, they're right. Of course, they're also very wrong.
As individuals, there aren't many of us who can make an appreciable difference. Without the money of Bill Gates, the audience of Oprah Winfrey, or (let's face it), the blind worship of Barack Obama, our influence is limited. But individual action can be multiplied many times when other individuals commit similar, preferably simultaneous action. Witness last spring's Tea Parties and the resulting impressive march on Washington. Take note of the summertime townhall meetings regarding health care reform. The fact that our taxes haven't yet been lowered and that efforts toward health care reform are still ongoing doesn't take away from the truth our representatives have now come to know: Betray your constituency, lose your job.
While one freshman Senator says he doesn't care if his vote on health care reform results in his losing his seat, the vast majority of politicians do care, and they care a great deal. This is one time when the evolution of politicians from representation of other citizens to being in it for themselves and their party is going to come in handy! They may not be willing to do the right thing because it's the right thing, but they'll likely do it if they don't think they've got any other way to keep their job and all of its accompanying benefits (including, by the way, a far better health care plan than any of us could ever get).
Those of us on the side of liberty and prosperity have now lost a couple of battles where health care reform is concerned, but the war hasn't yet been won. And make no mistake: This is a war. Our freedom and our standard of living are both very much at risk if existing plans come to fruition. The same is true of Cap and Trade legislation. If it passes, we stand to lose not only a good deal of money and the resulting hit to our economy, but portions of our sovereignty as well. And don't even get me started talking about the increasing chatter concerning any small arms agreements made through the United Nations, a group that has long wanted to infringe the Second Amendment rights of Americans and which now sees its opportunity under a US President who is just as hostile to freedom as it is!
I know most of you are no more rich or powerful than I am. But I also know that we must do something if we expect to be able to continue to live free and in relative comfort. Health care reform isn't a bad thing, but the way Washington currently plans to do it is. Get involved in efforts to halt current plans and replace them with something that's both more freedom-friendly and which might actually work (adding insult to injury, current proposals don't encompass either of those things). No one favors pollution, but Cap and Trade isn't the way to clean up our environment. Learn more for yourself, and get involved in halting Cap and Trade while supporting measures that are better for both the economy and the environement alike.
Have you ever played beer pong? I realize it's simplifying things a great deal, but look at the current state of politics as a game of beer pong.
Barack Obama and Congress are on one end of the table. They're throwing balls everywhere, and some of them are splashing down right on target. Meanwhile, they've apparently been at it for awhile now because it's clear that he and his cronies are drunk on their power and on their heady high opinions of themselves. But with a resigned czar here, an investigation there, a plummeting opinion poll or two, and a White House on the defensive, we're managing to hit a few of those cups ourselves.
Beer pong is a winner take all kind of game. You can be down any number of cups, but if you start getting the balls in the cups, you can keep right on going until you catch up and then surpass your opponent. If you hit the last cup, that's it. Game over. So the fact that we're currently a little behind on this one is immaterial to whether or not we can still win because the truth is that we can. We just have to be willing to keep throwing those balls. So make your phone calls. Write your letters. Go to your protests. Every one of those individual shots could be, when pooled with all of the others, be the game winner.
A friend with whom I'm usually paired in games of beer pong likes to say that there are no real losers in the game, that everybody ends up drinking at least some beer over the course of a match. I'll give him that. But the game of politics is a little more serious than beer pong, and we stand to lose a whole lot more than a game if we lose the currently ongoing battles over the direction our country is headed.
Now here's some really good news: College kids are usually better at beer pong than the average older adult because they get more practice. They're often better at political protests, too, because they have a good deal of passion. Their passion, in fact, played a major role in getting Barack Obama elected. Their feelings toward the president, however, are changing in the face of the debt they'll have to shoulder, the unemployment numbers they'll be pitted against on graduation, and the knowledge that they'll likely be the first generation to have a lower standard of living than their parents.
These students aren't stupid. Once they really get what's going on, they'll be inclined to rally against it. Those of us who have seen several presidents and who remember people like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan are already on board. If all it takes is some conversation and a few beers to illustrate to them why they should join us, well, beer is cheap. Freedom is not and, once lost, takes years and a good deal of blood and sweat to win back. I don't know about you, but I'd rather play beer pong.
Lady Liberty, a senior writer for ESR, is a graphic designer and pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her writings and other political and educational information is available on her web site, Lady Liberty's Constitution Clearing House, at http://www.ladylibrty.com. E-mail Lady Liberty at email@example.com.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!