Monthly Archives: May, 2012

Lest We Forget

Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn’t Free (Photo credit: swanksalot)

(Parts of this are reposted from an earlier post entitled “No Guts No Glory”.)

This Monday we will see billboards, bumper stickers, and car magnets all proclaiming “Support our Troops“, and “Freedom Isn’t Free”. Are these truly heart-felt words, displayed by proud patriots or are they meaningless platitudes, mindlessly quoted by pandering politicians?  On this day there will be countless memorial services and tributes.  But will we stop a moment and reflect on what this day really means or is it simply the beginning of summer?  Just a day to have a picnic or barbecue.

I remember as a child hearing the stories of my mother, who, as a toddler underwent surgery on her foot. For years afterward she required special orthotic shoes that had to be replaced every time her foot grew. This was during WWII and rationing was in full force. Everyone was allowed only one pair of shoes a year. Including my mother. The government didn’t make a special exception because she was a child with a medical condition. Her parents didn’t demand that she was entitled to more ration coupons because of a unique hardship. Instead they gave up their ration coupons to get her the shoes she needed and when those ran out other family members, friends and neighbors donated theirs. Why was this necessary? Because the materials that were used to make shoes over here were needed to make shoes for the troops over there. Could you imagine giving up coffee, sugar, shoes and tires and sending them to the troops in Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq?  Could we ever again unite as a whole country behind an effort to rid our world of an unspeakable evil? Do we even know what evil is anymore?

The invention of photography as allowed us to see the horrors of war up close and personal.  The flag draped coffins of our loved ones, the bloody, mangled bodies of our enemies, the atrocities. Faced with the horrifying reality that the price of freedom is blood, many of us have decided that the price is too high. We believe that the act of war, rather than the  megalomaniacal ideals of ruthless men is the true evil and that nothing save our own personal survival is worth fighting and dying for.

The men who marched at Lexington and Concord, whose bodies covered the ground at Gettysburg, who raised the flag at Mount Suribachi, all understood the power of the words of our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution.  That such a radical ideal as individual freedom, that men should control their own destinies, requires a collective sacrifice.

By looking to the government for our prosperity rather that demanding that our elected officials recognize the freedom to build that prosperity ourselves, by allowing the government the rights to our personal property, and by allowing the government to usurp and mismanaged our wages though an unnecessarily complicated tax code, we dishonor those who have fought and died to maintain those freedoms.

By allowing our schools to indoctrinate our children with the mantra that it is the government’s job to take care of us, to protect us from our own ignorance and folly, and that “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” is the highest morality, we dishonor those who fought and died for our right to think for ourselves.

Our Forefathers wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, not to give us certain rights, but to preserve them.  The government does not grant us our freedoms, rather we “the people” grant the government its right to exist.  It’s time for us to “take back” our government and hold our elected officials accountable, for what they do with the money, property, time and power we “the people” give them.

In every election we have the opportunity to show that we truly understand the cost of our freedom and that it is precious.  By taking the time  and making the effort to  research and vote for people truly worthy to serve us, and by reminding them regularly that they do, is how we prove that those who made the “ultimate sacrifice” did not do so in vain.

Advertisements

America, Amerika

sodahead.com

There are those who would say that President Obama may be charismatic,  but he’s not too bright.  When it comes to solving the countries problems,he just doesn’t get it.

I disagree.

I say that Barak Obama is a brilliant man. A man who has a clear vision of what he wants for this country, and knows how to manipulate the system and the public to make it happen. He has a genuine belief that he can save the country and bring prosperity to everyone.

In the President’s American Utopia, every one contributes as much as he is able into the governmental bucket and everyone only takes out as much as he needs. No one will ever have to worry about housing, food, or healthcare, the government will take care of it. No one in this country will ever again be homeless, hungry, or die for lack of lifesaving medications. Since we will no longer have to find a way to supply our most basic needs, we will be free from boring, soul sucking, dead-end jobs and will find fulfillment in all sorts of charitable pursuits instead. We can spend our days building houses for others, cleaning the shorelines, repairing roads, and growing crops, all for free since we will have no need for an income. Yes indeed, Americans will live in a paradise. Free from worry and want. Where nobody has to work, and yet everyone gets fed. We will be the envy of the rest of the world.

Does he have a plan to avoid the substandard housing, the bread lines and rationed medical care? Can he soothe the discontented masses?  Those who are not happy to merely survive, but long for a purpose and a way to prosper? Does he have the vision to correct the ideological faults that doomed his heroes to failure? No. He doesn’t need to. Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro were not worthy of the task. Obama is.

This is the dream that keeps us up at night.  A place where the government slowly and insidiously creeps into our personal lives and dictates every aspect of it.  From what we eat, what lightbulbs we can buy and even what kind of toilet we can flush nothing is made, bought or sold without government’s approval and cut of the profits.  Gone are our rights to our own homes and personal property.  The opportunity to use our hands and minds to create wealth will no longer exist. This is the America that many of us never think will happen. Maybe we are the ones who don’t get it.

The problem is that many people share Obama’s new American Dream.  How do you convince people who are working hard, pay their taxes and yet struggle to put food on the table, and pay their mortgages that it is not the government’s responsiblity to provide relief?  How do you assure someone who cannot afford the treatment they need that there are better alternatives to government health care? How do you persuade an entire generation raised on the liberal bias of the public school system and network media, to fight for the right to work and think for themselves?

This is the challenge Mitt Romney must face if he is to be the next president.  To reignite the passion for personal responsibility in a people who no longer value personal freedom.

PBKBWTG8U2U2

Obama Faces Questions on Federal Fight for Same Sex Marriage

Just days after affirming his support for same-sex marriage, President Obama today declined to say whether he would go a step further and publicly take up the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. While the administration has already stopped defending legal challenges to…

via Obama Faces Questions on Federal Fight for Same Sex Marriage.

The Real Life of Julia

Reflections of a Rational Republican has introduced me to “Julia” the cartoon solder of the fictitious Republican “War on Women”.  Both the Obama Campaign and the Heritage Foundation have differing versions about the “Life of Julia“. While the Obama Campaign’s version touts the benefits of living in a cradle to grave socialist utopia, the Heritage Foundation’s version extolls the virtues of freedom of choice. Neither version truly depicts the reality of Julia right here, right now. This is my version of the “Real Life of Julia” without the cutesy graphics. It depicts what her life would be like at each age, if she were that age today.

Age 3

Both of Julia’s parents work.  Their combined incomes put them in an income bracket too high to qualify for head start or other programs designed for underprivileged children.  After “doing the math” her parents decide that the high cost of quality day care makes it impractical for both of them to work. Julia’s mom’s income is less than her father’s so Julia’s mom decides to stay home with her.

Age 17

It was important to Julia’s parents to bring her up in as safe a neighborhood as possible. They purchased a modest home in a decent suburb.  Because she lives in a working class family her parents  cannot afford private school.  Therefore Julia has spent her youth in the public school system.  Her state uses standardized tests to measure  the performance of the teachers, schools, and students.  Because the teacher’s unions have made it difficult to weed out ineffective teachers, and because school administrators fear the loss of state and federal funding due to government programs such as race to the top, classroom time is consumed with teaching children how to pass the standardized tests instead of proficiency in basic skills.   Sports, music classes, and pay raises for competent teachers are cut due to a lack of funds, but administration costs remain high.  PE and recess are cut and replaced with programs to teach environmental awareness, anti-bullying, drug avoidance, and sexual abuse defence techniques that are of little value in real world situations.  Julia’s parents stressed the importance of doing her best and made sure she did her homework.  They communicated regularly with her teachers.  Because of this, Julia worked hard and made good grades.

Age 18

Because she has made good grades Julia has qualified for a modest state sponsored scholarship.  She barely qualifies for a Pell grant because her parent’s income is almost to high even though they do not make enough to pay any of her college expenses.  She chooses a community college because it is the most cost-effective option, allowing her to live at home and commute to class.  Her scholarship and grant still are not enough to completely cover her school and expenses so she works part-time to fill the gap.  Her public school education has left her unprepared for college level work, she takes advantage of the resources the college offers, but in spite of her efforts to study hard, she fails her math and english courses.  Because the state sponsored scholarship pays some of the costs of trade school, Julia decides to drop out of college and attend cosmetology school.

Age 22

Julia has to undergo emergency surgery for an appendicitis.  The recent passage of Obama care mandates that she is covered under her parents care until age 26, however, before the passage of Obama care, she still would have been covered under her parents’ policy until her 23rd birthday because she is a student.

Age 23-25

Julia finishes cosmetology school and begins her career as a hair stylist. At first she lives with her parents, but through hard work and dedication to her career she lands a job at a prestigious salon and moves into her own apartment.  Among the benefits provided are health insurance and the opportunity to participate in a 401K program.   This particular salon offered such benefits even before Obama care was passed. Her insurance pays for mammograms, pap smears, yearly exams, and maternity care. Her copay for prescription birth control is fifty percent of the cost, but because she is focusing on establishing herself in this business and building a clientele, she has little time for a relationship or casual sex.

Age 29-31

Julia meets Ethan a local electrician.  They begin a relationship.  Julia explains to Ethan that since he would assume half the responsibility for raising a child, he should share half the responsibility for the cost of birth control. Ethan agrees. (He’s a keeper).  Since her insurance pays for half of the fifty dollar cost of birth control pills* and Ethan pays half of her half, her cost for the pill is a manageable $12.50 a month.  Julia and Ethan marry and decide to have a child.  Her maternity and child-birth costs are covered minus the $25.00 office copays and a $500.00 deductable. Because she and Ethan planned ahead for this child, money was saved and these expenses prove to be little problem for them.  Even though money is tight, they still make too much for Zachary to qualify for head start or other daycare options for underprivileged children.  Because neither of them can afford to quit their jobs, Julia’s mother agrees to watch little Zachary.

Age 37

Zachary starts preschool.   His parents make too much money for Zachary to qualify for school vouchers designed to give underprivileged children a chance at a better education, but they do not make enough to place him in private school.  His parents depend on both incomes to get by, so having Julia quit her job to home school Zachary is out of the question.  Julia has no other option but to place Zachary into the inferior public school system.

Age 42

Julia is a well-known stylist around town and has built up a loyal clientele.  She decides to open her own salon.  She qualifies for a small business  administration loan and purchases equipment.  She rents chair space to beginning hair stylists and teaches them the latest techniques.  In spite of a loyal and growing customer base, she is barely breaking even. The regulatory costs of the required insurances and licenses are high and the time required to keep up with the paperwork keeps her from her customers.  When the ADA fines her $25,000.00 for failure to install a wheelchair accessible styling chair even though she has no disabled customers or employees, she realizes she can no longer keep up.  Julia sadly informs her stylists and customers she must close.  She sells her salon equipment to pay off the fine and the remainder of her SBA loan. She then takes a job as an instructor at the local beauty college.

Age 65

Julia enrolls in medicare.  She has difficulty finding a competent doctor that accepts the plan.  She must pay out-of-pocket for a medicare supplement insurance plan to cover the gaps.  Ethan dies suddenly of a heart attack leaving her without his income. Fortunately he had the foresight to purchase life insurance even though paying the premiums was sometimes a struggle.  This allows Julia to pay off the mortgage and Ethan’s funeral expenses.

Age 67

Julia applies for Social Security.  The amount is nowhere near enough to cover her monthly expenses.  She rolled over her 401K into an IRA but was not always able to contribute to it when her business was struggling.  She realizes that her available cash flow is not enough to live on so she continues to work part-time at the beauty school as a receptionist so she doesn’t have to spend hours on her feet.

The truth is, neither scenario, whether it is Obama’s or the Heritage Foundations’s is going to help working class Julia.  Making her dependent on the government for her cradle to grave care will eventually backfire like it did in Greece.  Once the producers have been bled dry and robbed of any incentive to create wealth, the money will run out and untold misery will ensue.  On the other hand, unbridled capitalism will not reduce the cost of healthcare and education to the point where they will be within reach of working class families.  While it will create more freedom of choice, those choices mean nothing if you can’t afford them.

* Information on the cost of birth control pills was obtained from the Planned Parenthood website.

%d bloggers like this: