on Discipline

By the time you are reading this, the 2014 elections will be over. Our email and mailboxes will be less cluttered, our trash bins will be less full, and our television screens will be less annoying. I know that you, like me, are breathing a sigh of relief- thank goodness it is over! We can now return to our daily lives, comfortable in knowing that those we elect will do their jobs while we do ours, right?

As you recover from your fit of giggles, we  both know that it is no longer safe to return to the blissful ignorance towards our elected officials as it once was (if it ever was). No matter who wins the election, our job as the electorate has only begun. The hard part of holding these folks accountable now rests on us. ALL of us. Our lack of attention towards the actions of elected officials – in both parties – is what has put us in this mess. It is why so many in government have the attitude of elitist aristocrats towards those they are called to serve. With the rare exception of a few true statesmen, most act like the undisciplined little children of inattentive parents: destructive to a few, costly to many, and irritating to all.

While parents have unconditional love towards their children, we cannot have this same feeling towards those we elect. No one is perfect; we are all lazy, selfish and corruptible in the right circumstances, especially when no one is paying attention. Just like we expect the parents of a child screaming for a toy in Wal-Mart to do something, perhaps rein them in and punish them if necessary, so too is it with politicians. We are the parents and overseers of this great nation, the protectors of both its future and that of our children. We cannot let these political vagabonds run wild and loose, leaving destruction in their wake. We have a responsibility to pay attention, get vocal, and get involved.

Nothing good ever happens without sacrifice, and I suppose that is what I am asking those of you reading this to do. Although we expect those we elect to be true statesmen and women, and get angry when they inevitably fail us, the fault does not just lie with them. It also lies with us. If we are unwilling to do the hard work to hold them accountable, is it really fair for us to expect them to do the harder work of being honorable? Are these men and women somehow made of stronger stuff than we? Do we really think that we are electing gods? And if it’s our expectation that they be so, should we really be that surprised when some forget their place, and start to believe themselves to be our aristocratic masters instead of our humble servants?

The mess we are now in as a nation can be laid at the feet of both parties, as the human temptation to rule usually overpowers the heart to serve. However, an inattentive public, forgetting their responsibilities to “raise up their children in the way they should go”, is also to blame. As citizens of this great nation our responsibilities are not only to our children and communities, but to their future as well. If we continue to ignore the future, in order to enjoy the present, our children’s children will know nothing of the freedoms we have, nor of all the sacrifices made to preserve them. These freedoms have been slowly eroded by an ever expanding government, which only became so due to a populace who failed in their collective duty to watch, and if necessary discipline, their political children.

However, all is not lost. In this generation I am seeing a rising up of those that understand what is at stake, and who desire to get involved in order to stop this march to soft tyranny. They are revaluating their priorities, and are willing to give up some temporary joys in order to ensure a permanent future for the next generation.  Although their work is harder than it should be – for we have neglected our duty as citizens for so long – they are willing to be the forward guard, to take the arrows and stand for those not able (or willing) to do so.  Now the question is, will you join them, and enter the game to beat back those opposed to our Constitutional Republic? If not, how much longer do you think you can remain on the sidelines before the bleachers are pulled out from underneath both you and your children as well?

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace”. ~ Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776

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