Marilyn M. Barnewall
March 7, 2010
Yesterday I experienced something I hope many conservatives will share this election year. Rampant dissatisfaction with the two-party system in America today makes it a positive experience.
Few of us, Republican or Democrat, like what is happening these days in Washington, D.C. Government officials seem blind to the fact they do not govern. Rather, they rule. It is difficult to determine if the rulers understand that they are not governing. They think we don’t understand. They think they haven’t explained “it” well enough – whatever “it” is (health care, Cap and Trade, environmentalism, Freddie and Fannie, bailouts, AIG fraud, etc.). They believe we’re just not bright enough to “get” the programs they want to shove down our throats.
The truth is we are not the ones who don’t understand what they’re doing. We understand very well what they’re doing! It is they who lack insight into their own actions. Either that is true, or some in the District of Columbia are vipers who may be wrapping themselves around an altar called “treason.”
There is no middle ground here. Either elected officials know when they violate the Constitution and their Oaths of Office to protect and defend it, or they do not. We the People know. And we do not like the loss of freedom. We dislike their decision – without our input, of course – to label the Constitution of the united States of America “a living document.” By craftily changing the intent of a Constitution that limits government, progressive liberals believe they will have free reign to implement statism. Then they can control all things, not just interstate commerce.
There is no middle ground that says, “Well, I read the Constitution and I swore to uphold it, but I disagree with what it says on this point and that point. The Founding Fathers didn’t know we’d have television and would travel to the moon. Things have changed and the Constitution needs to be interpreted from a modern perspective.” What they mean when they say it is: “The Constitution needs to be interpreted based on my personal perspective of right and wrong.”
None of us care what elected officials think! We do, however, care about their actions. Of late, few of them have shown a thought process that preserves the rights and freedoms of We the People so painstakingly laid out in the U.S. Constitution. That document begins with the words, “We the People,” not “We the government.”
We the People, aren’t altogether innocent. We allowed this to happen. When we value something, we refuse to give it up. It is seldom taken from us without a fight. Fortunately, a lot of people are beginning to crawl out of their apathetic stupor and fight to reclaim what has already been lost. They want the onslaught stopped. That’s what Tea Parties are all about this year. We lost a lot of ground, however, while waiting for people to get angry enough to recover from years of political inertia.
It always amazes me when readers write in response to one of my articles by saying they have been good citizens all their lives. “I have voted in every election” is a frequent remark.
That’s good. It is the second most important thing Americans do to fulfill their responsibilities to their country. However, the most important commitment any citizen can shoulder is that of putting candidates of the people on the ballot so voters can elect those who represent them, not just a political party’s platform. Let’s face it, folks, both major parties have been hijacked by progressive liberals. Because of political apathy, We the People allowed it to happen.
Hopefully, many readers will share an experience I recently had—and do so before the November elections. Thursday night in Mesa County where I live, an alliance of Tea Party groups sponsored a Candidate Forum for Republican Candidates from Colorado’s Third Congressional District. Both candidates answered a series of prepared questions. Then the audience participated with questions and answers.
They talked about Cap and Trade, jobs, energy, health care, and the environment. The candidate approved by the Republican Party said pretty much the same thing Republicans are used to hearing: lower taxes, more jobs, lower-cost energy, we must drill, drill, drill and become energy independent (it’s been 35 years since Republicans first said that – and look at our progress!). Both candidates appear to share conservative values, but one seemed more ready than the other to equivocate or move into grey areas of bi-partisan compromise rather than stand and fight for his beliefs.
The idea that politicians must compromise has become a huge part of the problem in our nation’s capitol. Black and white is black and white, and grey is grey. At the moment, we have a House and Senate full of politicians who say they are liberal or conservative, who say they are Republican or Democrat, but who prefer compromise with the other side to taking a stand for what’s best for We the People. The two-party system is strongest when two different sides fight to the end for what they believe best serves the people and the Constitution. Compromising with your opponent to keep unwanted parts out of proposed legislation in a final Bill is not only foolhardy, it is dangerous.
When Scott Tipton was questioned about why two of the Western Colorado Tea Parties have endorsed a guy named Bob McConnell and not him, the Republican-approved candidate, Tipton, criticized the process of the endorsements and the power of the Tea Parties. Hello, Mr. Tipton. Do you not realize that you just told Tea Party members the same thing Obama tells people? “They just don’t understand what’s happening and why.” Tipton noted he was on the radar of the Republican Party as a "young gun." What candidates don’t seem to realize is that being “on the radar” of either political party is a good way to lose political races this year.
I looked at the brochure of Tipton’s adversary, Bob McConnell, and noted that he was the Honor Graduate of his Ranger training, a paratrooper in the elite 509th Airborne, and a combat leader in the 7th Cavalry. Tipton may have been identified by Republicans as a “young gun,” but McConnell was identified as a "top gun" in 1969. Youth is not necessarily an advantage in politics. Leadership is a learned skill.
Selwyn Duke’s recent article about Christianity and faith says two things all political candidates need to hear this year. First, he pointed out that truth is spelled with a capital “T.” It doesn’t change. Second, he made the point that right and wrong are not matters of opinion and they do not change from time to time and place to place. Truth is not a matter of convenience and is what people are looking for in their political candidates 2010.
McConnell’s brochure interested me. One column is titled “This I Believe.” He says he is “a Constitution carrying conservative Republican” and the paragraph continues on with typical Republican talking points about lower taxes, limited government, free markets, and a strong national defense. But he adds a couple of things that are not usual Republican rhetoric: “Protecting individual rights and developing individual responsibilities.” He further says “I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” How many times have you seen that printed in a Republican brochure lately?
I talked personally with McConnell the next day. We had never met before. For an hour, I asked him and his wife, Phyllis, some pretty tough questions. We discussed not just the reason banks need to start lending but discussed how to do it. We talked about what needs to be done to secure our borders. We spoke about many key issues. McConnell is obviously a man who has seen the world and learned from the experience. And he listens!
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What I was looking for is what I hope you will look for in political candidates this year. The reason I asked McConnell such hard questions – and some of them might be considered rude – was to determine if Bob McConnell really has a conservative philosophy or if he was just spouting the same old rhetoric regarding conservative issues?
Conservatives hold three things sacrosanct: 1) Truth; 2) the Constitution; and, 3) the Rule of Law.
I believe I have found my candidate. Time will tell. Now, Colorado’s conservatives need to help him win the primary so he can face Congressman John T. Salazar (C-CO) next November.
© 2010 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved
Marilyn Barnewall received her graduate degree in Banking from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1978. She has authored seven non-fiction books about banking, two are listed at Oxford and Cambridge University libraries in Great Britain. Her current book, When the Swan’s Neck Breaks, details the banking problems she foresaw in 2006. Of the 24 predictions made in the book, 22 have happened. It is fiction but readers refer to it as docu-fiction.
Barnewall was named one of America's top 100 businesswomen in the book, What It Takes (Dolphin/Doubleday; Gardenswartz and Roe) and was one of the founders of the Committee of 200, the official organization of America's top 200 businesswomen. She can be found in Who's:Who in America (2005-08), Who's Who of American Women (2006-08), Who's Who in Finance and Business (2006-08), and Who's Who in the World (2008).