Friday, January 02, 2009

What to Do, What to Do?

As a conservative, I'm very concerned about the upcoming term of a liberal president supported by a liberal congress. With so many issues on the table--the economy, energy, health care, etc.--it is easy to worry that we're about to be led down a primrose path to the left. So what can those of us concerned about the loss of liberty, property rights, religious freedom, and other precious freedoms we have enjoyed here in the USA do? I ran across an article at American Spectator with some ideas. It's titled "What Conservatives Must Now Do" and is written by Peter Ferrara.

Mr. Ferrara discusses grassroots organizations that can then grow and strengthen our nation, getting us back to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and following the Constitution instead of wandering off into the wilderness. Mr. Ferrara writes:
First and most important is to build up mighty, grassroots networks across the country. This is something that conservatives must do, not Republicans, who need to work on their own grassroots party network. Conservatives have become too good lately in lecturing Republicans on what they must do. We need to lead by building a powerful political movement, and the Republicans will then naturally follow.

The radical, liberal-left agenda is tailor made for generating grassroots firestorms in opposition. Included in that agenda is national legislation to remove all state restrictions on abortion, all parental notification, waiting periods, informed consent, and partial birth abortion restrictions. Instead we are slated for taxpayer funding for abortion on demand. Another beaut is national legislation to remove all state protections of gun rights, such as conceal and carry permits. Then there is the federal takeover of health care, the federal shutdown of proven, reliable energy production, global warming regulation to shut down what is left of the economy, the "fairness" doctrine to shut down talk radio, and national legislation to take away workers' rights to a secret ballot election to determine whether they will be forced into a union in their workplace. That last item also includes forcing union contracts on businesses, small, medium and large, in place of the current system of free negotiation.
After this partial list of what we have to work on, he goes on to describe what a grassroots organization might look like and what it could accomplish. I like that a lot of the focus is on informing Americans on the issues. It seems to me that there are far too many people who have the idea that they are entitled to have everything provided for them and done for them, and it blinds them to the serious losses they would face if the government attempted that--loss of freedoms of all types, loss of property rights, loss of choices (where to live, where to work, how to worship), and loss of quality in what is provided.

Many people don't understand insurance, for example, whether we are talking about health insurance, property insurance, or any other type of insurance. Let's take health insurance for an example. From what I hear people saying, they think that in exchange for a small monthly premium, all their health expenses should be paid by the insurance company, right down to the aspirin they had to take when they woke up with a headache. That is assuredly not what insurance is for. Insurance is to protect people against large losses (expenses) such as surgery, long term therapy, major illnesses such as cancer, and so forth. People are expected to cover the small expenses themselves--the bottle of aspirin, the deductible on the insurance, etc.--because those are affordable and can be worked into the family budget. Compare it to auto insurance--you don't expect auto insurance to pay for gas and oil changes. The auto insurance is to pay for the large expense of repairing your vehicle after an accident. If you don't understand what insurance is for, it is your responsibility to learn. It is not the government's responsibility to step in and pay/force the insurer to pay for every tiny expense. If we turn our responsibility over to the government, we are no longer free to make choices and, with government's poor record of managing anything, we can expect to have poor quality health care, if we can get it at all.

With all the concern over the economy, health, energy, and the many other issues facing us, I am hopeful that people will be more inclined to learn all they can about these issues and decide what they can support and what they cannot, thinking things through to their logical conclusions.

I am also hopeful that people will re-evaluate their own lifestyles and do everything they can to promote prosperity in their own families. Go back to budgeting and saving. Go back to home-cooked meals with healthier ingredients. Go back to reading books and watching movies at home instead of going out for expensive entertainment. Have family game night or take the family to the park to play. Stop living beyond our means. If you have a lot of changes to make, make them gradually, if you must. Talk to your family and enlist their support. Look on such changes as an opportunity and an adventure, not a deprivation. It's a great time to regroup and begin living a more sensible life.

Even when there is a lot of upheaval going on in the world, we can avoid making ourselves ill and depressed with worry. Look for the good. Appreciate what you have. Seek out the good in life and look for ways you can improve your life. It's the beginning of a new year. Make it a good one!

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