By Patrick Henry and Tom Tillison
When one exercises due diligence and takes a good hard, honest look at the state of this nation's affairs, it can bring about a sobering realization. Upon encountering this abyss, there are many who refuse to be dissuaded by the depths of the challenges and fall back on the indelible spirit of man that says 'I can make a difference', subconsciously knowing that the industriousness of their efforts distracts from the carnage that beckons.
Other's immediately surrender to the belief that resistance is futile.
And a very few choose to stand on the edge of the precipice and fully absorb what lies before them in hopes of gaining a better perspective of all that befalls us and in hopes of being able to forewarn others of the imminent danger. Whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Any regular viewer of Glenn Beck will know that when analyzing the problems we face as a nation, he often asks the question 'how did we get here'? Once he poses the question, he then typically, to his credit, examines the possible causes in hope of enlightening his viewers.
As for me, I place myself among those seeking a more realistic perspective of the challenges of our time.
In doing so, I find that I'm being typecast more and more by those around me as being too negative minded and void of reason - my observations often bringing discomfort and threatening the very foundation upon which others place their temporal salvation. Too often cast as being careless in my judgements and emotionally charged, suddenly unworthy of confidence on sensitive matters because I may offer a differing view of reality.
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of these very worthy compatriots. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony.
In proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
When looking upon the political landscape in this country and in this state, there is corruption as far as the eye can see. Much of it legal in the strictest of terms, as the rules and laws governing such actions emerge from those entrenched in the decadence, but corrupt nonetheless.
An example of this rampant impropriety is former Senator Mel Martinez, who resigned as a U.S. Senator with a year to go in his term and two weeks later accepted a job with a powerful D.C. lobbying firm, more than doubling his salary in the process.
There's also a reason why, just prior to the November elections when it was clear that the Democrats would lose the majority in the House, there was a rush by various lobbying firms to bring more Republicans on board. Once again, our friend Mel's name surfaces, having just been hired by J.P Morgan Chase.
All perfectly legal, but it stinks to the high heavens. In fact, there's a virtual revolving door between former politicians, and former staffers, and lucrative jobs in lobbying firms.
Here in Florida, we see powerful lobbyists such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida – two of the largest business lobbies in the state – contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the political party in power, then petition our lawmakers to act in a manner that's often inconsistent with the will of the people.
A very recent example; While lobbying state lawmakers, who are under heavy pressure from the grassroots to address the immigration issue, these two firms call for a 'relaxed' approach, telling a Senate panel this past week that illegal 'workers' bring more to the table economically than they take away in state expenses for education, criminal justice, health and social service programs.
Of course, this flies in the face of recent studies that show illegal immigrants cost this country $113 Billion a year, over $3 Billion here in Florida. But how are grassroots activists to compete? If you were a lawmaker yourself, which group would you least want to alienate?
The playing field is far from level, yet, we continue to look for ways to engage in the process without addressing the corruption. Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?
Many of my colleagues work hard at establishing relationships with our elected officials, which provides critical access to the political process and enables a constructive dialogue necessary to advance one's cause. What many don't seem to get is that ex-politicians such as Mel Martinez are not so highly valued simply because he's such a swell guy.
It's a quid pro quo relationship, of which our elected officials are very adept at and they engage in these relationships with the grassroots in that very spirit, not because we're all such incredibly charming people.
Yet, too many want to see the best in a given situation. It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts.
It also brings up an interesting question; If one engages in a known corrupt process, even with the full intent of never compromising on personal values, does one still not condone the corruption through such acquiescence?
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of our politicians over the years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves.
Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope? Sir, it is our duty to make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which can be sent against us.
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!
Fight for the integrity of the political process by not accepting it for what it is today, legal or not! Fight the corruption and not succumb to it for political gain regardless of the cost! Fight for what we all know in our hearts to be right! Yes, we must fight!