Some tough medicine for getting back to good
By Frank Salvato
web posted March 1, 2010
I just watched an important video. It was a United News newsreel from December 2, 1945, and captured the official Japanese surrender proceedings aboard the USS Missouri, proceedings that brought World War II to an end. As I watched, I wondered how it must have sounded to my Father, who was fighting in the South Pacific during that time.
It would be impossible for me to be able understand how he must have felt at hearing Gen. MacArthur say, "Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it, always. These proceedings are closed."
My Father volunteered for military service during World War II, as did many who fought for the Allies from all countries. They did so not only because they understood the existence of evil in the world, but because they wanted to preserve the way of life their countries afforded them. For my Father it was to advance our American heritage freedom, liberty, constitutionality and opportunity to his children. It was for this belief that he risked life and limb in one of the bloodiest episodes in world history.
I recall during the waning days of my Fathers life his incredulousness at how apathetic the American public has become; how narcissistic and unaware the American populace had grown. From the announcement of the formation of the Nation of Islam in Chicago to the over-reaching of labor unions and government, his exasperated retort was always the same, So this is what I fought in World War II for?
I can only imagine the heartbreak that his surviving brethren feel at the state of our nation today.
It has been said many ways but it bears repeating. The Me Generation, those who brought us the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, those who twirled in the streets at Haight and Ashbury while placing feelings above fact, have done more to damage the United States, bastardize the Constitution and jeopardize the continuation of our existence than all of the enemies we have faced combined. They have spent us (and both political parties are responsible for this) into trillions of dollars of debt, balkanized and dumbed down the populace, misused and abused our military and have allowed caustic special interest groups hell-bent on one-world globalization to capture influence. They have taken a country bequeathed to them in good societal and financial health and moved it to the point where our nations AAA bond rating is being reevaluated and US Representatives laugh at the idea of saying the Pledge of Allegiance before SEIU meetings.
For this I cannot feel the heartbreak of those who fought in World War II, but I can feel a kinship to them in my frustration, sense of urgency and call to duty, because today, it is my generation that must fight the battle for our nations survival against ideologues, opportunists and those of seditious intent who, in many cases, also happen to be US citizens.
But I am not alone in holding these feelings, especially the call to duty. As was made evident on September 12, 2009, in Washington DC, and every day since then in every part of the country, millions of Americans have re-awakened to their civic responsibility to governmental oversight. This re-awakening is commonly referred to as the Tea Party Movement. It is real. It has sufficient motivation to succeed in its goals. And those who attempt to diminish its potency or providence do so at the cost of their political careers.
The unique facet of the Tea Party Movement is that it is a true grassroots movement of people who believe in the Constitution; who believe in limited government, limited taxation, States Rights, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense. There is no leader and there neednt be one. And while there have been organizers in locations around the country, good people one and all, should anyone claim to be a leader or an originator he or she is a charlatan. This movement was born in the soul of the American and belongs to no one but the American; no political party, no special interest group, no individual.
So, in these dark days for our country, days in which politicians continue expanding the debt on the backs of our children, in which the strength of America overseas has been diminished through the appearance of weakness, and in which Progressives try to fundamentally transform the United States of America, there is hope, real hope, not the fake, manufactured, media-hyped hope that the American voter was sold in 2008.
The re-awakening has allowed the American people to reestablish their connection to the fact and the importance of the fact that our government was created by the people, for the people and subject to the consent of the governed.
This, in turn has allowed us to clearly see that most multi-term politicians in Washington and in the many State Houses have elevated themselves into a class of elected elitists, in their eyes, much more qualified to decide what will and will not be good for the people. The American people have re-awakened from a fifty-year slumber of apathy and ignorance to find that most multi-term politicians are actually political opportunists more concerned with the politics of getting re-elected than in performing good government for their constituents.
In an honest quest to get back to good, our country is going to have to take some tough medicine and endure some cultural clashes. Think of it as political chemotherapy. As part of this political chemotherapy a few things, among many others, must be accomplished.
Taking Back Our Schools
Our schools have turned from places where children are taught critical thinking skills, skills that allow them to intelligently engage in life, into ideological indoctrination mills, churning out political operatives who can better put a condom on a cucumber or spew false information about non-existent man-made global warming than solve complex mathematical equations of write an accurately structured sentence. The attention span of the average child pales in comparison to a child of just fifty years ago. And while the technical knowledge of our children today may be far more advance than that of their parents, they have no meaningful education in US History or the philosophies that moved our Founders and Framers to risk life and limb to create our great nation.
The blame for this is two-fold.
First, we, the citizens, have to take a great share of the responsibility for this predicament. We have become far too busy with our own individual lives to be engaged in our childrens education. Its more important to get to that coffee shop, to watch that television show, to engage in that sporting activity than it is to attend a school board meeting or be active in the PTA. Fortunately, this can be rectified and it must be rectified. We must run for local school boards and get on the curriculum committees so that we can have a definitive say in what our children learn in the classroom. By taking back the curriculums in schools we can at least give our children a fighting chance.
Second, we must apply pressure to elected officials to enact legislation that would limit the influence of teachers unions where curriculum is concerned. Teachers unions have morphed from organizations meant to negotiate contracts for its membership to organizations shopping an ideology for the classroom. Decisions on curriculum must be held at the local levels, if just as a safety precaution against ideological indoctrination.
Limiting the Influence of Labor Unions
There was a legitimate need for labor unions after the turn of the 20th Century. Some unscrupulous employers took great advantage of the work force providing less than safe working conditions, demanding long hours and issuing degrading compensation. But that was then...this is now.
Over the years, laws have been instituted that address each and every issue that labor unions were created to champion, thus removing any real reason for labor unions to exist at all. In fact, it can be successfully argued that in the last fifty years labor unions have done more to hurt the worker and business in the United States than they have helped.
Aggressive labor union demands have turned Detroit into a ghost town. They have forced many corporations to outsource manufacturing jobs, turning our country into a service oriented and consumer economy from a production-based economy. Alarmingly, our countrys manufacturing base is an emaciated shadow of what it once was and because of that there are no jobs for the unemployed. Yet labor unions want more in wages for their members, more perks and more influence.
Labor unions must be limited in mission to negotiating reasonable contracts for its members, if not completely abolished. Labor union leadership has proven beyond doubt that they have no regard for the balance that must exist for the private business sector to be healthy enough to achieve full employment. They have transformed into a political special interest group that not only feeds from the public trough while literally eliminating the entrepreneur and destroying the private business sector, but one that is increasingly advancing a Progressive (read: Socialist) ideology, an ideology antithetical to constitutionalism.
Reexamining the Federal Governments Use of the Commerce Clause
For years the federal government has abused the Commerce Clause in order to expand its reach of authority over the States. The Commerce Clause, Article 1 Section 8, Clause 3 of the US Constitution, reads, "The Congress shall have Power to...regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes..."
The original intent of the Commerce Clause is described in the Supreme Court's opinion in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005):
The Commerce Clause emerged as the Framers' response to the central problem giving rise to the Constitution itself: the absence of any federal commerce power under the Articles of Confederation...the primary use of the Clause was to preclude the kind of discriminatory state legislation that had once been permissible.
Since the American Industrial Revolution, Congress has pushed the limits of the Commerce Clause to the point of usurping the Tenth Amendment, which states, "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."
The stranglehold Congress has granted itself with the help of several Supreme Court decisions has served to create a master for the fifty States, which, in the original intent of the Founders and Framers, were to be sovereign states, all.
Limiting Governments Ability to Spend
Both the Legislative and the Executive Branches have proven they cannot be trusted with spending within their allotted means. Today, even as Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (P-CA) trumpet the virtues of Pay As You Go rules, the fact is they routinely exempt certain pieces of legislation from that specific rule.
Put succinctly, the US Congress is populated with spendthrifts; people who spend money recklessly, extravagantly and who use taxpayer monies to affect their re-election via the earmark. Congress has learned to raid the treasury for their own purposes and they are spending us into insolvency.
Congress as well as the Executive Branch must be forced to abide by a prioritized and limited budget derived from a set and limited amount of tax equitable and fair to all in percentage, starting with the responsibilities actually outlined in the Constitution: funding the courts and providing for national security, to name but two. Only when there is money remaining in that limited budget, after the constitutionally mandated responsibilities have been fully funded, should they be allowed to spend funds on new legislation and then only when absolutely needed.
Further, congressional power to borrow should be directly linked to the exact amount it has accrued in reserve capital that has been established in a separate and exclusive holding account, never ever to be accessed but for time of war.
A Moratorium on Entitlements
Constitutionally, the only entitlements that the American people have bestowed upon them as legitimate rights are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all rights granted to us not by Congress or even by the Constitution, but, as the Founders and Framers plainly stated in the Declaration of Independence, by our Creator; through Natural Law.
In a paper titled The Challenge of Giant Entitlements, written in April of 2008, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) states, "Entitlement spending, or government spending that takes place automatically every year without any action from Congress, is currently 62 percent of our overall federal spending."
According to the SocialSecurity.gov, Social Security and Medicare benefits represented 7.6% percent of the Gross National Product in 2008, with Medicare benefits representative of the GDP reaching 11.4 in 2083 and Social Security reaching 6.2 in 2034.
The numbers speak for themselves. Our nation, with the debt that it has amassed, and until definitive action is taken to alleviate the debt burden that will not most assuredly reach past our childrens childrens generation, cannot affords even one more entitlement program, not healthcare, nothing. To continue to call for entitlement programs or to continue to work toward establishing entitlement programs is not only irresponsible, it is a direct threat to the continuation of our country.
Many will read these suggestions and immediately say that there is no way in Hades that any of this can come to pass, not in the climate we have today in Washington. And while I would agree that these are formidable tasks to achieve I would have to also ask, what is the alternative?
...and then I just heard my Father say, So this is what I fought in World War II for?
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at email@example.com.