on Standing

“There are a group of people who would like to silence everybody and have everybody go along to get along, but that’s not going to be very helpful for us in the long run, in terms of solving our problems. And somebody has to be courageous enough to actually stand up to, you know, the bullies.” ~ Dr. Benjamin Carson (b. 1951) retired American neurosurgeon

These past few weeks we endured a government shutdown. Did you even notice? Probably not, considering nearly 85% of the government was still functioning. In fact, we were still spending the same amount of money that we were in 2009 when Obama took office, and does anyone remember tales of woe back then regarding the lack of government services?

However, what we did notice were two things: first, that a small cadre of conservative Republicans defied the will of their party to take a stand against the coming train wreck that is Obamacare, and second, that we have a childish, vindictive President who, along with his cronies, will not hesitate to punish the American people, including veterans, if he does not get his way. The first group took a stand to prevent Americans from getting hurt financially, medically, and economically due to job impacts, while the second group actually spent more money to inflict as much hurt as they could on Americans to prove their political point and get the GOP to cave.

And unfortunately, cave they did, despite the fact that the majority of Americans were standing with the conservatives who did not want Obamacare to be implemented. Who did not want the political class in DC to be immune from their own law. Who did not want the privacy intrusion into their medical lives by big government, and certainly not by the IRS, its new enforcer. But unfortunately, the conservative voices of the GOP that were standing for all of those outside the DC bubble were undermined and betrayed by those of their own party who were too scared of the potential political cost. Too scared of how the vindictive “make it hurt” mentality of the President was making them look. Instead of standing up to prevent the further enslavement of the American people under onerous healthcare requirements, they chose to cut and run. Instead of being like those brave abolitionists who founded their party, they became the Whig appeasers. I guess in their mind, slavery was vastly more preferable than a political civil war. I wonder what Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, or even Rosa Parks, would have thought about that?

Perhaps there is something in the water over there on the Potomac. It must be some kind of bone eating disease that only attacks the spine of those in government.  What else could it be that prevents them from seeing past their noses, to the future, and the negative consequences of decisions they make for all of us? If every day Americans and businesses can see them, and even start to experience them, why can’t they?  I think that it is because our elected officials would much rather be liked, than do what is necessary to govern well. They would much rather keep the peace and not rock the boat, than take a kick or two in the shins by standing up to a bully’s temper tantrum. Did they not learn anything on the school playground as children? Caving into a bully only gives him permission to beat you up again, only next time it will be far worse.

Unfortunately, taking a stand on anything usually requires the occasional black eye, and it is not something that is just limited to DC politics. We see it anywhere where a few hold power over the many, who see those that dare question them as a threat to be taken down quickly, lest the many ever realize that en masse, they could easily disrupt that hold. Status quo is neither peace nor the friend of the free man; it is merely an artifice to maintain control. We should never be afraid to question or stand up to those in power when what they are doing is not right, even if they are our colleagues, fellow party members or friends. Remember, no man is immune to the easy comfort of sitting down for the status quo; it takes far more energy – in mind, body and spirit – to stand.

So… is your chair uncomfortable yet?

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” ~ J. K. Rowling (b. 1965) British novelist and author of the Harry Potter fantasy series

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