Judging from our current relative prosperity, it might be difficult for some to imagine that during the period of the Revolutionary War, there were many people who disagreed with becoming an independent country. There were some who believed that America’s connection with Britain would be instrumental in securing the country’s happiness. Yes, America did reap some benefit from the relationship, but I certainly do not have to provide much evidence to assert that the benefits received from Britain were nothing that America couldn’t supply on Her own. Add to this the many offences of King George, and the only motivation to be found for the nay-sayers is fear.
People were rightly concerned about upsetting the world superpower, but praise God that there were men courageous enough to stand up to the European bully. Praise God for Thomas Paine who awoke a fearful continent of men from a sleep of cowardice. Rather than paraphrase and water down poignancy, I would like to furnish some of Paine’s exact words on the subject of those who didn’t support separation:
“We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty.”
“This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster.”
“… All those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation [are] interested men who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three.”
I have a personal appreciation for brute honesty when it is necessary. I have a similar appreciation for observations made generations ago that still hold true today; this reinforces the reality that human nature does not change. The last of those three quotes really hits home for some of my observations on the pre-Tea-Party GOP. In particular, that well-received ‘reaching across the aisle’ behavior exhibited by the Republicans in the past 30 or so years has greatly weakened the credibility of the Republican Party, and weakened the country as a result. The Democrats were able to slowly work in their policies inch-by-inch, completely undetected by the average citizen.
Somehow, being described as ‘moderate’ became a good thing. Admittedly, this isn’t always bad, but when charged with securing individual liberty, it’s best to be uncompromising. I’d make a wager that any erosion of freedom eventually results in an overwhelming loss unless fought. For an example of this phenomenon, please see the 16th amendment in your copy of the U.S. Constitution (keep in mind that the income tax imposed by the amendment began at 1% with an individual income of the 2008 equivalent of $64,000).
In the 1994 Congressional campaign, the GOP developed a contract with America, promising to return to conservative ideals. 16 years later, after being plagued by many of the same problems, the Republicans of the 112th Congress wrote a similar pledge to America in 2010 to center themselves on their ideals once more. So far, I think the Republicans of the 112th Congress have been doing very well. They are showing that they are making good on their promises to cut spending by introducing weekly bills to slowly starve the federal beast.
In wake of the budget crisis temporarily resolved just last night, I earnestly would have looked forward to a temporary government shutdown. I think it would have served as a fine example that the sky would not fall on America, and perhaps that the country isn’t nearly as helpless and dependent as many people perceive. Regardless, the Republicans made some head-way in resolving the budget problem. Although there was more than a bit of compromise involved and they ended up with about half of the cuts they wanted, it certainly seems like a step in the right direction. I believe there are two states of mind in compromise, one in which you get trampled, and one in which you fight. I’m fighting my cynical nature and will call the budget compromise a gain since the Republicans do appear to be fighting.
I also believe there are three end results to compromise: a negative compromise in which one party ends up with an overall loss, a positive compromise in which there is an overall gain, and an ugly middle ground, where both parties appear to be very busy, and both parties wind up with mediocre results. Giving in to my cynicism a bit, I think that last result appears as if it could go on forever.
I’m elated that there are some in Congress who agree. To quote Georgia Republican Representative Tom Price, “With an agreement to keep the government open and then fully fund government for the remainder of the fiscal year, we will now hopefully be able to move beyond this current debate. We need to move forward and get to work on the much larger debate over how to cut trillions, not billions, in government spending and help make our economy more competitive.”
It clearly does not take long for a body of people to return to the same compromising, destructive behavior, and there is unimaginable difficulty on the road to returning to the uncompromising ideals of the foundations of this country. This is what power wielded without accountability leads to; Paine warned of this. Let us pray that the Tea Party remains strong to keep our representatives in check. In earnest, I wish it weren’t necessary to have an organization such as the Tea Party at all. Truth be told, if not for the decline in Judeo-Christian ideals in the past few generations, I believe the act of holding public officials’ feet to the fire would be left to a much larger group of interested individuals: every one!
I must admit, our current situation is not Congress’s fault. We the people compromised on our principles and political involvement long before we could begin to blame Congress.