2010: Year of the Citizen

So here we are in 2010. I’ll be the first to say that I am not the least bit sorry to say goodbye. As painful and crazy as it was – both personally and politically – it was in many ways the start of something bigger than I could have imagined… as well as a renewal.

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.

So how did we get here again? The short answer is that we got lazy. Quite simply, Americans don’t understand what it’s like to not be free. The average American has no concept of what it is like to live under the control of a government, and therefore has a false sense of security. As a nation, we can’t really comprehend the idea that our freedom could be taken away, so protecting our personal liberty isn’t a priority anymore – I don’t think I need to articulate how dangerous that is. Those in office do not generally like to limit their own power, which leads to, well, Congress. Our liberty is something we need to protect.

This past year was a wake up call. Congress isn’t doing anything unprecedented. They are doing what any law making body does when they aren’t being held accountable – they are doing what’s best for them. The thing about Americans is that we want it our way, and we only let ourselves get pushed around for so long. Then we get angry.

What happened over the past year is the result of Americans hitting a breaking point. The encroachment on our liberty did not begin with Barack Obama, and this discontent has been brewing for a while. The amount of money being spent and the absurd power grab coming from Washington defy everything that we stand for, and Washington has finally met some resistance. Now we enter a new decade with country-reshaping legislation hanging in the balance, leaders who will not listen, and a whole bunch of pissed off gun and religion clingers. So what comes next?

Democrats in Congress have been clear about their intent to “reshape” America. Republicans – while surprisingly strong throughout the health care debate – are still not quite getting it. In order for the GOP to gain any ground this year, they’re going to have to figure out how to work with the grassroots instead of treating us like wayward children who have been off having a tantrum. Serving tea at an RNC pizza party does not a Tea Party make, Michael Steele, and if you want the Tea Party movement to “come home” you’re going to have to first acknowledge that it would not exist if Republicans had done their job in the first place.

I think the trend of bloggers, podcasters and other citizen reporters breaking stories a la Andrew Breitbart will continue to fill the void left by the failing media establishment. There is news out there – news that doesn’t necessarily serve the utopian agenda being forced down our throats – and the internet has provided the average person with a platform to get the more, shall I say, inconvenient stories out there. No one can deny that the work done by Glenn Beck, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, Andrew Breitbart and Lila Rose have been game changing. We are now in a time where a housewife with a Facebook page can post about “death panels” and turn the whole conversation on it’s head. The power of social media and an informed citizen can’t be ignored by the establishment much longer.

In closing, my final prediction is that this will not be pretty. Political tension is already high, and with so much weight being placed on this year’s November elections, it is undoubtedly going to get nasty. There is a fundamental divide among many in our country, and it all goes back to the role of government. In the infamous words of our ever-so-eloquent Vice President, girds your loins.

I look forward to another year of fighting the fight. Many of us have stepped back during the slow news week to spend time with family and regroup. Congress is back in session as of January 6th, and that means that we’ve got to come out swingin’.

Happy New Year, everyone. I look forward to a better 2010.

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