Lemonade Lessons: Comfort and complacency (Part III)
Why don’t politicians pay more attention to the town hall meetings and the Tea Party members? Can’t they see the grassroots resistance to the direction they are taking the country? Is it so hard for them to comprehend that a significant number of citizens might rise up on their own in opposition to out-of-control government spending, unimaginably huge federal deficits, promised increases in taxes, a weak approach to terrorism and defense, and government takeovers of significant parts of the private sector?
Are our politicians completely tone deaf to the messages being sent by the citizenry or are they just so ideologically tied to their current proposals that they cannot change direction? Do they see their march toward big-government progressivism as the fair and compassionate way to run a country, or are they just trying to buy more votes by making more people dependent on the government?
Can it be that many in our government actually see rugged individualism, self-reliance, and personal responsibility as wrong-headed and destructive? Do they really think that free-market capitalism has been the cause of all the injustice they see? Have they not looked at the facts or studied the extensive history regarding the repeated failures of non-capitalist economic systems?
Are our politicians allowing perfect to be the enemy of good? Is it their honest opinion that because free-market capitalism is not perfect, it is not the best economic system available? Do they know that the alternative to capitalism is government central planning?
Free-market capitalism has raised more people out of despair and offered more opportunity to individuals irrespective of their beginning station in life than all of its predecessors put together. It is free-market capitalism that channels man’s natural tendency to pursue self-interest in a positive direction that allows the individual to prosper while providing benefits to society as a whole. It is the only win-win economic system ever developed by man.
Perhaps the town hall signals and the Tea Party messages are being ignored because they are perceived to be temporary. After all, all protests require high emotion, and in most cases, high emotion is temporary. For these politicians to be right that the protests are just temporary venting, they must believe that the emotion behind the protests was generated only by unpopular policies or the current level of unemployment.
In other words, they must believe that this opposition is event based, not philosophy based.
Do pundits and politicians not understand why so many prominent and powerful Tea Party citizen movements are called Tea Parties. Has history been so completely rewritten in their minds that they can’t even recall the events that occurred in Boston on December 16, 1773? Do they also feel that that the Tea Party protests have no lasting consequence because they were deemed to be temporary and were supposedly financed by right-wing fanatics?
They must believe that the people are ill informed, and that they will remain that way. They must think that the people are uneducated, and that they will remain that way. They must think that the people can be fooled, and that nothing will change this “fact.” They must also think that no one in the country will remind the average American citizen of the logic and history relating to the principles laid down by our founding fathers.
I suspect that what progressive politicians are missing is that people have become better informed. Twenty-four hour news, talk radio, and the Internet have created a new information paradigm. This shift makes hiding political favors and personal perks increasingly difficult for politicians. We the people know what they are doing.
This information train has come a long way and it is moving fast. But we are not at the end of this new information era; we are just at the beginning. Americans are free-market entrepreneurs at heart and there is money to be made exposing political chicanery and corruption. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were the pioneers, but they are not the final word.
The success of these pioneers will inspire others. It already has. And there will be new media outlets, more books on the subject, and new Rush Limbaughs to take up the gauntlet when the time is right.
Janie Johnson is the author of Don’t Take My Lemonade Stand – An American Philosophy.