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MEMBER DIARY

How much is your country really worth to you?

Over the course of the last ten years millions of brave men and women have served in the United States military. Those people, those fathers, mothers, sons and daughters deserve every ounce of respect that Americans of all stripes have.

It says a lot about both the country and these individuals that they still see something in the United States worth defending and that they were willing to sign on the dotted line to do so.

Unfortunately, that is simply not enough. Not that those brave men and women aren’t giving enough, but rather, the great sacrifice they have been and are making today is simply not sufficient to save the United States.

The United States is far more than a military power. In reality, military power is but a small part of what makes America great and a leader in the world. People around the planet have been flocking to watch Hollywood movies for decades. They’ve also been sending the best and the brightest of their progeny to study at our universities. During the Cold War it was Levis and Pepsi that Soviet citizens were clamoring for. According to Interbrand, ten of the ten most valuable consumer brands in the world are American, including names like Coke, Disney, McDonalds and Google. None of these things were accomplished with a barrel of a gun. From Star Wars to Big Macs to our private and public universities, people around the world see the United States as a place where seemingly everything is possible, where great ideas come from and where anyone can find success. Little of that is the result of American military intervention. It’s the result of accomplishments and achievements Americans have forged throughout the nation’s history… although winning two world wars certainly didn’t hurt.

The bottom line is, the United States’ military is strong because America is strong. Not the other way around. And what has made America strong is her people, the individual freedom and liberty they have enjoyed since June 21, 1788 and the economic strength that freedom has created.

Unfortunately the liberty and economic strength that underlie two centuries of success are under assault today like they have never been before. As much as I dislike Barack Obama, the blame is not all his. He may be the worst president this country has ever had, but the problem that is undermining the foundation of American greatness has been going on for seven decades. No, the majority of the blame does not fall on the shoulders of Barack Obama, or even the collective presidents of the last 70 years… The fault for the situation we find ourselves in is the fault of the American people.

A free people get the government they deserve and we are to blame for what Barack Hussein Obama has wrought as well as what George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their predecessors did. Government is a dangerous weapon in the hands of mere mortals with their natural failings of greed, vanity, arrogance and avarice among others. Our Constitution was specifically designed to temper the worst inclinations of men and to limit the scope to which a citizen’s life might be impacted by government action. Staggered terms, a Senate appointed by state legislatures, an independent judiciary a bill of rights. Everything in our Constitution was written to give citizens the greatest degree of liberty possible.

None of that matters when the government simply decides it wants more power and the people do nothing to stop it, or as in the case of the 17th Amendment, assist in the takeover. A government of men can be expected to try and expand its power and reach and James Madison’s Constitution and George Mason’s Bill of Rights were intended to stop such expansion.

Today however both might as well have been written on an Etch-a-Sketch. How does this happen? Simple. Two symbiotic developments resulted in the situation we find ourselves in today. The first is the division of labor. When Cyrus McCormick freed mankind from the yoke of the farm he unleashed a parabolic curve of innovation such as the world had never seen. The specialization wrought an increase in the standard of living that was exponentially more powerful than anything that had come before. Simultaneously Americans began to enjoy something that few people in the world had ever enjoyed and no people had had on that scale: leisure time.

The division of labor meant that while citizens were able to focus on their jobs stamping engine blocks, editing books, testing scientific theories or flipping burgers, everything else was magically available to them at far less than it would cost them to produce or procure on their own. As their lives became more silo like, they began to understand less and less about things with which they had little contact. For a while they relied on family, friends and community organizations to help fill in the gaps. Then government stepped in and decreed that it was their job to tell citizens what was good and what was bad and what needed to be done, when, and by who. Government is, after all, there to help… isn’t it?

Then of course there is the money. Government largesse becomes a powerful weapon when combined with citizen’s ignorance. As government started providing more information and benefits it started issuing more and more regulations. Today we have the situation where the government seeks to control virtually every aspect of a citizen’s life. Indeed, half the population pays no income taxes, one third of the population relies on the government for most if not all of their income while the entire population is burdened with regulations around every corner. This regulation is particularly onerous to entrepreneurs and businessmen, the backbone of American progress.

Today, with individual liberty and capitalism under fire, the foundation of American greatness is withering away like the grains of sand through an hourglass. The question is, can the country be turned before the sand is fully drained? This is one battle that the men and women of the military cannot fight for us. This is a battle that will be fought in the voting booths across the country. But the real battle is going to go on long before November 6th. The question is, are you going to join the battle? How far are you willing to go to preserve the greatest nation in the history of the world? Politics is rarely a pretty thing and sometimes it causes real pain when you disagree with people close to you. Such is life. Would you rather keep the peace with your brother in law or friend at the cost of watching everything you hold dear slip away, or do you want to take a chance and try and change someone’s mind? It may not work. You might end up talking to yourself or having someone yelling at you. The battle between now and November 6th is not a hot war like what is going on in Afghanistan, but it no less important.

The pending nomination of Mitt Romney demonstrates that conservatives cannot depend on the GOP to light a fire under the American people about the dangers of the leftist agenda and profligate spending. The danger posed by your mother in law or your best friend are nothing compared to the Taliban or Al Qaeda and the other real dangers our men and women in uniform face every day. How much are you willing to do to make sure that their sacrifice is not in vain? Are you willing to do what it takes to help send the Democrats home? Are you willing to do what it takes to help put the United States back on track to greatness and prosperity? Pick up the phone, buy your buddy a beer. Start a conversation. Have a dinner party. Post something on Facebook. At some point someone has to do it. If not you, who? If not now, when? How much is your country really worth? How much are you willing to do for her? Are you going to sit back and watch as the sands of liberty and prosperity pass or is a free Republic worth fighting for? Twenty years from now when someone asks you what were you doing during the most important election of your lifetime, what do you want to be able to say? Do the things today that you will be proud to speak of tomorrow… make a difference, help save your country.

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