The spark that has triggered rebellion

'I'm as Mad as Hell, and I'm Not Gonna Take This Anymore!'  This sentiment is being voiced by protesters turning out for Tea Parties and Health Care Town Hall Meetings around the country.  People are angry and frightened by the prospect of government running their health care system, but their anger goes far beyond a 1000 page health bill. 

Health care reform is merely the spark that has touched off a prairie fire of grassroots rebellion among a people who believe their representatives do not represent them, do not listen to them and do not care what they think.  Many Americans feel that they are losing control of their financial well being, their values and their culture. Shell shock set in as they tried to absorb the rapidity of drastic change. 

The first stirring of protest came with the Tea Parties in the spring.  These gatherings were completely misread by a media that ignored them and dismissed the attendees as right wing kooks.  The Tea Parties were about taxes, yes.  But far more they were about the rapid intrusion of the federal government into private affairs, about deficit spending, and a growing understanding that America was heading down a very dangerous road. 

People see a government in Washington that is in the process of destroying the constitutional principles of limited government and maximum personal freedom that made America the freest and most prosperous country the world has ever known.

James Madison, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson must be turning over in their graves at what is being done to the Republic they founded.  At the close of Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin said we gave you "a republic if you can keep it." At the moment, keeping it does not look promising.

Our founding fathers had an incredible understanding of human nature, and of the natural tendency of governments to become oppressive. They gave us a unique Constitution that attempted to limit the power of government and ensure the rights of individuals.  In 1798 Thomas Jefferson wrote, "In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

Yet today one must ask "where does the Constitution give President Obama the right to fire the CEOs of General Motors or to force the Chrysler Corporation to merge with Fiat, a foreign Corporation?"  Where is it written in the Constitution that the government has the right to use my tax dollars and yours to prop up businesses that should either declare bankruptcy or simply dissolve and close their doors?

Tragically, our schools no longer teach our children why America is the freest most prosperous country in history.  If the uniqueness of the United States Constitution is no longer celebrated how can we expect the next generation to understand the need to protect and defend it?

For 60 known centuries, people on this earth toiled from dawn to dusk, barely able to feed themselves.   Famine was the rule, not the exception. Then suddenly here in America, the course of history reversed and food became so abundant that much is wasted.  Our country, unlike much of the world even today, has never experienced famine.  Is this just some kind of fluke?

In one century, an economic miracle occurred that provided Americans more wealth, more comfort and leisure than had ever been dreamed of.  America rose from a wilderness to become a leading world power.  How did that happen?

The answer was the unique guarantee of individual freedom and the absence of government meddling and control.  Americans were free to save and invest, to go into business, free to own property, free to compete, to work, to prosper... and free to fail and try again.  Every ounce of freedom produced a pound of progress. This great experiment called America proved that freedom and initiative work.

But today, freedom and initiative are being replaced by ever higher taxation, regulation and centralization of power in Washington.  Our economy is now stagnant and our standard of living is declining.  Each year government takes a bigger share of our earnings, employs more and more of our people, enacts more rules that strangle our economy and controls more and more of our lives.

In the enjoyment of plenty have Americans lost the memory of freedom?  When citizens are willing to sacrifice their liberty for security they will have neither liberty nor security and will soon find themselves living under tyranny.  But sleeping giant of everyday America is stirring.

The September 12th National Tea Party will bring hundreds of thousands of people to Washington.  They are coming by the busload and they are coming because they fear the avalanche of policies coming out of Washington DC that are destroying the foundations of our free society.

They are coming to protest the most fiscally reckless and irresponsible White House and Congress in our history.  They understand that the U.S. is on the road to fiscal ruin with massive spending - soaring deficits and mountains of debt that can never be paid off except by running the printing press, generating phony money, creating inflation that ruins lives, and allowing government bills to be paid with worthless dollars.  

They are protesting Congress and the White House crafting new ways to bankrupt America -- through cap and trade, nationalized health insurance, pork barrel earmarks, and new across-the-board regulations on the financial industry.

They are protesting that people, who have never even run a candy store, are taking over the running of our auto industry, our banks, and other financial institutions.  And they are protesting the massive shadow government of unaccountable czars layered on top of the existing government bureaucracy.

Most of all, they are protesting because they see the capitalist system being dismantled day by day and the nation heading pell-mell down the road to socialism

Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural address in1801 described what he called the sum of good government as, "a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." But Jefferson also warned, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

Generations of Americans worked to build, fought to protect and died to preserve the liberty the Founders gave us.  Despite their sacrifice, freedom is under assault today, as never before in America.  But there is increasing reason to believe that a growing army of patriots will refuse to stand by and allow this great country to be destroyed.

Ellen Sauerbrey, the former Minority Leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, served as Assistant Secretary of State in the George W. Bush Administration.
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