THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW
In proof of the continuing power of democracy, tomorrow, November 2, the nation will express its disdain for the big government policies of President Barack Obama. The House of Representatives will change hands, becoming a Republican center of opposition to the President, and the Senate will either become ineffectual for the Democrats or will also change hands. Americans must be ever vigilant and go to the polls to bring about this peaceful revolution. In many jurisdictions the ideal candidates will not appear on the ballot and, so, the aim must be to remove Democratic supporters of the President from power so that the President cannot press forward with his agenda of government insinuation into, and regulatory control over, virtually every major industry in America.
The present rise in popular sentiment against big government reminds me of the 1980 election. In that year, as a young college student at the University of Illinois, I formed an Americans for Reagan group to campaign throughout the Mid-West for Ronald Reagan. I was one of only 20 students on a very liberal campus intent on doing everything possible to bring out the vote for a man of great principle, charm, grace, and commitment. Somehow the Reagan campaign team found us on the campus. I remember holding a meeting inside Lincoln Hall one evening when a dapper gentleman in a suit dropped in unannounced and asked if he might speak to us. He said he was from the Reagan campaign. He thanked us for our support, and he promised us his support in helping us campaign. He asked me not to reveal word of it but that the Vice Presidential running mate, George Bush, would be visiting the campus to speak. He asked that on an appointed date we have flyers printed announcing the visit and disseminated throughout the campus and Central Illinois. He also gave me a card that had a phone number on the back. He said print as many flyers, brochures, banners, bumper stickers, placards, and signs urging votes for Reagan as we thought we could distribute between then and election day.
We visited the local printing establishment asked for tens of thousands of flyers, brochures, banners, bumper stickers, placards, and signs to be printed. We were amazed when the owner of the print shop called the number on the back of the card and was given the go ahead. A mass quantity of campaign materials was soon available to us as we entered neighborhood after neighborhood distributing materials and answering questions about Ronald Reagan.
We were assigned to help set the stage for the Vice President’s visit to campus. It was mid-day on a very liberal campus and few students left their classes to attend. We worked with the College Republicans and the Young Americans for Freedom to ensure student attendance but it was far below the 2,500 seat capacity of the Foellinger Auditorium. With the help of the little card, I dispatched several charter buses to retirement homes and filled the open seats with senior citizens. The first floor of the Foellinger Auditorium was filled. The campaign had platforms constructed in the center of the first floor facing the stage for media crews to mount but the fear was that the media would see that the balcony was empty. We had the Young Americans for Freedom stand at the front of the balcony with large placards. We then closed the doors to the balcony. The appearance from the media stand was one of balcony filled to capacity (yet no one was there behind the first row).
We took over the local Republican party phone bank to the chagrin of locals who did not invite our presence. We ensured that the calls were made and that people were greatly encouraged to go to the polls. In a brilliant stroke, the Reagan Campaign left nothing to chance and wanted to ensure that its party faithful felt appreciation for their efforts. The local Republican Party chairman whose phone bank we took over felt snubbed and complained. Deftly, on the day the Vice President left the campus, the campaign notified local media to visit this woman’s home at precisely a certain time to record the delivery of a present from the Vice President. The woman opened her door to a large bouquet of flowers and a personal letter signed by George Bush from his campaign airplane. The letter thanked her for her indispensable role in the campaign. The images of her receiving the bouquet and letter appeared in the local papers, and the woman suddenly forgot entirely that she had ever been snubbed. Masterful but so characteristic of the brilliant Reagan 1980 campaign.
The campaign brought out a large number of voters, including conservative Democrats, who had been disillusioned by the economic decline (the so-called misery index of inflation plus unemployment), the advance of government into the private sector, and political leaders’ loss of faith in the American people (Jimmy Carter’s famous “malaise” speech). They elected Reagan with a landslide.
A comparable phenomena is about to unfold. A basic truth underlies the actions of those now in power. They distrust us. They view private enterprise with grave suspicion. They think those who succeed in the market do so at the expense of, rather than the fulfillment of, consumers. They think industry corrupt: prone to harming the environment, incapable of treating workers fairly without government domination, inevitably resorting to the sale of unsafe goods to maximize profits, and willing to exploit consumers unless stopped by the state. They place total faith in federal regulation, without serious concern for its violations of economic and civil liberty and its corruption, believing the heads of federal agencies know better than business what is in consumers’ best interests. They think the problems with modern medicine come not from too much insurance second guessing of physicians and patients but from too little of it and think if the insurance industry is made a proxy for government that all problems can be solved. They think the federal government best put to decide market winners and losers—to prop up enterprise that produces certain goods at the expense of competitors, to create barriers to competition for certain industry leaders cooperative with the government, and to coerce and cajole businesses into behaving in ways they think best for consumers. This is bureaucratic tyranny.
There is an unmistakable arrogance to their thinking. They second guess the judgment of those who have built successful businesses. They impose costs on businesses that force a reduction in employment, an increase in the cost of goods and services, and a diminution in funds available for research and development. They give appointed officials the power to deny business access to goods and services, to coerce business into behaving in ways desired by the regulators, and to publish condemnatory statements against companies before a final adjudication of guilt. They enact hundreds of prior restraints, forbidding conduct of one kind or another, often conduct that is entirely innocuous, on the notion that it may lead to activity disfavored by regulators. Layer after layer, they strip away human freedom replacing it with ties that bind and control and they make the once free pay the financial cost of those very ties.
This election is not an ultimate success for liberty. It is an opportunity to remove the support this President needs to continue on the path of government takeover of the private sector. It is a chance to stop the big government train in its tracks. The dismantlement of the tracks and that train in favor of freedom of choice awaits a second great uprising of the electorate. That will require a leader who distrusts government and wants it reduced to its core functions, who can articulate a clear vision that places faith in a free people to reach the greatest heights of industry and improvement, and who through word and deed intends to restore the sovereignty of the American people so that they no longer need fear their government.
It is interesting to see the President in his last two weeks of campaigning. He is engaged in a belated attempt at issue obfuscation. The Tea Party stirrings are affecting him. He now sees the writing on the wall. He now appreciates, later than an astute political mind would, that his actions have led to a strong public dislike for his administration and a desire to send a clear message against it. Rather than confront the issues head on, admit his distrust of free enterprise and his undying faith in government regulation, he obfuscates. We are headed in the right direction, to recovery, to a future free market where people can earn an honest wage yet government can keep the public safe.
That rhetoric rings hollow in the ears of many Americans because they have witnessed the enormous bailouts to captains of industry while unemployment rises ever higher. They have witnessed the unseemly political machinations leading to passage of the health care takeover bill and now wait as many will be forced to pay between $5,000 to $15,000 a year for health insurance or face a penalty enforced by the IRS. They cannot answer the question, are you as free today as you were four years ago, with an affirmative response. Instead, they see themselves less free, less financially secure, and less able to pass on to the next generation the freedom and prosperity they once knew.
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This election, then, is not a panacea, but it is a genuine opportunity to pull the political rug out from under this Administration, to render it ineffectual and thereby render it harmless. Much education still needs to occur before elected officials appreciate the way back to liberty, but that can be done. For now, we must be sure to vote on November 2. We must be sure to transform Congress into a bulwark against the assault on liberty created by the Obama Administration. We must stop the big government train and advocate between now and 2012 dismantlement of the tracks and the train in favor of freedom of choice.
© 2010 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved