November 1, 2009
NY 23: Perhaps Not All Politics Are LocalBy C. Edmund Wright
That we all know -- let alone care -- about the goings-on in New York's 23rd Congressional District speaks volumes about how far away from our founding principles we have drifted. We should not know or care about NY 23 under our founding model, but make no mistake: we do know. We do care. We have drifted a long way.
At stake is the same principle debated in the movie "The Patriot."
Loosely based on the real life of South Carolina's "Swamp Fox," the film's debate was over whether the colonists should "trade one tyrant 5,000 miles away for 5,000 tyrants one mile away." While Mel Gibson sounded pithy delivering that line, the ridiculous theory behind it was unearthed and the colonists did decide to rid themselves of the "one tyrant 5,000 miles away" with the Fox's help.
The result was not tyranny. Limited and local power cannot be such.
The idea -- quaint as it sounds now -- is that any problem you might have with a tiny government could be solved by simply sitting down with some local citizen legislator and working it out. Think Mayberry, where you could hash anything out with Andy, Barney, and the mayor at Floyd's Barbershop.
If that didn't work, you could simply run for office in a fair fight in a couple years. The incumbent would probably have tired of government "service" by then anyway. What a process!
The Feds? Oh, they were just a few guys to handle the Barbary Pirates and such. The idea was that you could live your life and never have to see, let alone deal with, anyone from a strong centralized government if you chose not to. You sent them a few bucks to fund the military each year and everything was fine. Thus the once-true cliché: all politics are local.
Now, however, we have to send money over the internet to a nice geeky accountant in a place we've never been and hope like hell he can win a race decided by voters we will never meet.
Why? Because if he wins, it just might put a damper on the designs of a radical liberal from San Francisco and a community organizer from Chicago who are trying to "fundamentally transform" the nation birthed by the Swamp Fox and other patriots. Nobody outside of upstate New York should have to know or care what happens in that congressional district...yet we need to.
And no one in Texas or Florida or North Carolina should live in fear of whatever whacko is sent to Congress from the shadows of Berkeley or from the machine politics of Chicago. Yet we do know, care, and in fact live in fear of these people -- and for good reason.
They consider all money as theirs and they want to control every aspect of our lives -- and they have made significant inroads towards doing just that in a few months. They are debating a piece of legislation that might in fact push the pendulum of government control past a point of no return. Most of the key people who are pushing this health care legislation are extreme liberals from parts of the country that will never fail to reelect them. The vast majority of the people they will affect, however, have no say in whether or not they get reelected.
This allows them to stay in the halls of power for so long that they accumulate power over years and years of simply being in Washington. Thus, the longer they are isolated from reality, the more power they have to change reality. Gee, what could go wrong with that scenario?
And this is exactly what our Founding Fathers did not want. King George was 5,000 miles away geographically, and even farther apart experientially from the colonies. Our country was founded precisely because the British model was deemed so unworkable and evil that it demanded we spill blood and treasure to stop it. Among the war cries were "Don't Tread on Me" and "No Taxation Without Representation."
And yet now "our representatives" are debating so-called health care legislation that tells the IRS to decide what we're thinking when we spend our money and tax it accordingly. Did we ask for an audit or a séance? Does Carnac the Magnificent work for the IRS now?
How can this be? We have drifted into having about 325 tyrants in Washington, and they are opposed by about 225 scared folks who all too often go along to get along with the tyrants because they themselves have been there too long.
Consider that Barney Frank and Charlie Rangel can heap oppressive taxation on hundreds of millions of us, yet we have no say in their "representation" status. In Rangel's case, he casually avoids living under those same tax rules. Now I consider this a slight violation of that "Don't Tread on Me" concept.
We can't do anything about Frank or Pelosi or Rangel or Waters or Waxman. Kennedy passed on, but his replacement will receive the liberal torch. Reid may get what's coming to him next year, but he can do much damage outside Nevada in the meantime. Obama is there for another three or seven. All of that is very maddening, frustrating, and disheartening.
But right now, what we can do is get involved in New York 23, as many have. Newt Gingrich may have let history pass him by as he blithely deferred to the "local party officials" in a colossal gesture of way-out-of-touchness, but we do not have to make the same mistake. For some inexplicable reason, it escaped Newt that government is so big and so powerful that New York 23 will affect all of us.
Thus it is our duty as citizens to get involved with NY 23. Rarely does a single district carry so much meaning. It is our patriotic duty to help the one person running in NY 23 who does not want NY 23 to ever have to matter to us again.
Doug Hoffman's history indicates him as that one person. Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson agreed before it was cool to be pro-Hoffman. Time will tell if that is true or not. But what is obvious right now is that a Hoffman victory will send a message to those who are doing all they can as fast as they can to increase tyranny...as will those frustrated patriots who think the Republican Party is not the best impediment to Team Obama.
Those two facts make us all citizens of New York 23 this week, regardless of our zip codes. What the hell. I hear the Adirondacks are gorgeous in the fall anyway.