"The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our Liberty." --Thomas Jefferson
Last year at this time, my friend and fellow conservative, Tabitha Hale, wrote a piece entitled "2010: The Year of the Citizen," wherein she reflected upon the consequential political happenings of 2009 and provided her poignant outlook and predictions for the upcoming new year. Over the course of the last twelve months -- through all the struggles and debates, the ups and downs of the campaign season, the arguments between the left and the right, the arguments between the right and the right, the highs and lows of election night, and the (small) victories and (monumental) cavings of the 'lame duck' session -- I have often found myself returning to Tabitha's post (I "favorited" it on Twitter) to refocus my efforts and find some perspective in moments of elation and despair, alike. As my old high school football coach once said, "You can never allow the 'highs' to be too high, nor the 'lows' to be too low. You just have to focus on the task at hand." Each and every time I would read it, Tabitha's post would do just that -- refocus my efforts on the task at hand.
And as we enter this new year, that task remains clear. Near the beginning of Tabitha's aforementioned post, she wrote the following:
William Temple said during the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington that this fight was a continuation – not a beginning. The things we are fighting for are not new ideas. Freedom from tyranny and a limited government are what our Founding Fathers built an entire nation upon. Here we are 233 years later continuing the battle for the same thing.
True enough. This battle is an eternal struggle - Liberty vs. Tyranny. No matter how many 'victories' we win, the battle always continues. It would be easy to sit back for now and rest on the accomplishments of "2010: The Year of the Citizen." After all, the "citizen" did accomplish quite a lot over the course of the last twelve months: The "Tea Party" built on the momentum of 2009, and became an undeniable force in American politics. It can no longer be ignored. The electoral tidal wave that occurred on November 2nd was truly a 'once-in-a-lifetime' event, sweeping conservatives back into power, not only in the U.S. House of Representatives, but in state houses and governors' mansions all across the country. Long-serving dinosaur incumbents were summarily thrown out of office. Fresh new leadership began to emerge in the conservative movement. 'Cap-&-Trade' died in the Senate, as did the so-called 'DREAM Act.' In 2010, the citizen was pissed. And the citizen rose up.
But, despite all the victories in 2010, there still is much work to be done in 2011 (and beyond). For far too long, the overreaching tentacles of the federal government have been allowed to weave their way into every fabric of the citizen's life. No longer does the citizen have the freedom to make fundamental decisions for himself and his family. The citizen is told what kind of car to drive, what type of lightbulb he is allowed to install in his home, what manner of healthcare coverage he is to provide for his family, and, yes, what kind of food he is allowed to purchase for his children.
At the same time, our nation's debt continues to rise, now on the verge of surpassing $14 trillion - that's $125,935.00 per taxpayer. The unemployment rate (according to the U.S. Labor Department) hovers near 10%; and the real unemployment rate is probably closer to 22%. Gasoline prices look to be headed to upwards of $5 per gallon by 2012. And the housing market continues to be in complete disarray, and possibly on the verge of yet another crash.
In short, the citizen has very little to celebrate this new year. While we seem to have quelled these overtly vicious attacks upon liberty for now, the citizen can rest assured that the other side is not retreating from this fight. They are simply reloading. 2010 was, indeed, historic and unforgettable - the "Year of the Citizen." But it's over. And the next battle begins now.