Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
The simple truth is, the federal government will shut down, in whole or in part, sooner or later. It must. The present level of spending cannot be sustained. The impending retirement and dependence on government of the largest generation the nation has ever produced, the Baby Boomers, combined with the productive loss of upwards of 25 million aborted taxpayers, alone dictates this inevitability.
Also inevitable is that the federal government shutdown will be painful. And the longer we put it off, the more painful it will be when it finally happens. Discomfort is an unpleasant but natural and unavoidable consequence of the self-awakening that leads to freedom. Waking up from a utopian dream, especially one born of a surreptitiously induced sedation, leads to disillusionment initially, but it also leads to eventual self empowerment, as one sees clearly again where one is. If you don’t know where you are, how can you determine the path to your destination?
Make no mistake: an avalanche is coming from this mountain we’ve created. We’ve seen the cracking at the base, the debris shifting unexpectedly in places. The only question is, will we control and manage the avalanche, sending out notice far and wide to warn against loss to life and property so that the wise will move out of the way as much as possible? Will we immediately stop adding more material as we speculate about the dangers in what we’ve already accumulated? Will we set up barricades at different points, limiting the effect of any particular section of the mountainside collapsing toward another? Will we seek to remove or intentionally collapse the unstable material of certain sections, while we have a chance, to contain the damage inherent in such risk? Will we make the hard choices now?
Or will we continue to ignore the creakings and rumblings, the rumors of damage already sustained by others in our community? Will we continue pointing at each other until suddenly, the avalanche happens in whole at once, and we are buried where we are standing, or where we are sleeping, like those in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius? Will future generations remember us among those who sacrificed to enable freedom for them, or will we be remembered as those who were buried, not really by debt, but by delusional pride and arrogance, believing that our excesses would always float on the austerity of our forbears?
Let us not be deluded into thinking that is the business of Washington, the business of politicians, the business of professionals. Eventually, they do what we tell them to do, one way or another. Their decisions are by extension ours, whether we admit it or not, by commission or omission. We must stop seeing ourselves as subjects of an empire, and reassert our status as citizens of a republic.
And if we, the citizens, don’t retake ownership of these issues, then the blood, sweat, tears, and hopes and dreams of millions, past, present, and future, will evaporate into a legend of Arthurian magnitude, like the remains of a summer shower on hot pavement in July. And we will know we stood by and let it happen.
If we close our eyes and let go of the wheel, whom will we blame for the result? The engine is redlining; a tire has blown; a chasm lies a mile ahead and below. Should we hit the gas and pick up some speed, trusting that the chasm will somehow fill itself, because we cannot personally remember the last time we crashed? Or, should we lift our foot from the pedal, coast to a stop, confirm our destination, and take a look at a map?
I am burning this house to the ground because we can’t solve a problem we’re not convinced exists, and I’m not sure that enough of us, as taxpayers, citizens, and voters, believe yet that what we have here is not just an abiding concern. In the federal budget, citizens face an impending crisis with consequences, good or bad, that will shape the fortunes of generations of our descendants. Our decisions about the debt ceiling, taxes, and federal spending will reveal everything about the content of our national character.
Be vigilant and courageous. Turn off the television and the Wii. Get educated on the issues and the paradigms behind the information you digest. Make preparations, and let your voice be heard. And, as the Templar knight warned in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, choose carefully.
We’ve asked more questions here than we’ve answered. But hopefully, we’re coming out of denial along the way. In the discussions to come, we’ll zoom in on the details of individual pieces of the budget. We’ll question their origins; their necessity; their standing within the U.S. Constitution, if they have any; their current fiscal health; and various proposals to fund them for the future.
“And the past comes back to smack you around
For all the things you thought you got for free
For the arrogance to think that you could somehow
Defy the laws of gravity
These are lessons in humility
Penitence for past offenses
Oh, consequences, consequences…”
My dear countrymen, the future is still ours to choose, and it starts today.