Imagine we can all time-travel back to Boston in the late 1760s, not as invisible observers but actual flesh-and-blood residents. Further, let’s pretend we’re all patriots, not British soldiers, officers, loyalists or public officials. Can we detect any signs of unrest? Are we wary of the redcoats? Are noisy demonstrations upsetting the peace and quiet virtually every day? Alone, do we feel threatened and vulnerable, but in a crowd, emboldened and invigorated? Is there treason in the air? Is that gunpowder we smell?
Relax. There will be no Boston Massacre, no mobs around the Liberty Tree, no Boston Tea Party, no riots, no Sons of Liberty, no Minute Men, no midnight ride, no Lexington, no Concord and no Bunker Hill. The American Revolution has been cancelled. Why? Because we time-travelers are spoiled, timid, distracted, passive people who couldn’t fight our way out of a wet paper bag. If the Founding Fathers ever time-travel to visit us, they’ll be perplexed, embarrassed, indignant and disgusted.
Back then the issue was taxation without representation, an external irritant. Today the issue is fiscal irresponsibility, an internal poison. Back then patriots fought and died for the economic freedom we fritter away today, as our exploding debt eventually will push credit ratings lower and interest rates higher, choking off whatever meager growth we’ve achieved. Only after Washington has imposed severe austerity measures will we all pine for the good old days when unemployment was “only” 7.9 percent.
We vote and our elected representatives disappear into the black hole of political aristocracy. Wasteful government spending, entitlements we can’t afford, fraud, abuse, trillion-dollar deficits and a mountain of debt just keep growing like cancer, completely out of our control. We fret. We wring our hands. Maybe next time around we’ll get the good leadership we deserve, right?
No, we’ve already got the “leadership” we deserve, and it is pathetic. Our Ivy League president wants to keep spending because we the hoi polloi haven’t told him not to. He talks pretty, but the problem is that his intellect is held hostage by his welfare-state ideology. After four years, he’s still auditioning for his job. But because we’re all so apathetic and submissive, we actually enable presidential cowardice and congressional dysfunction, which make us look downright heroic by contrast.
These are the times that try our patience. But what to do? The current tea party movement is too narrow, just a slice of the GOP, which is, after all, only half of a two-party problem. We, as a whole nation of taxpayers, need to do something together, something big, to send a crystal-clear message to DC: balance the bleeding budget and pay down the debt!
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.