As I write these words, the clock strikes midnight and April 15th has arrived.
Taxes are due.
Some dread this day - they owe money and times are tough.
Some get excited about getting a check - forgetting that it is their money the government is using.
We are witnessing the largest government intervention in our economy in history and the apparent end of any attempt for a balanced budget.
But my concerns are not focused on taxes and tea parties, interesting as they may be.
I am deeply concerned about our Homeland Security targeting individuals and groups who are deemed dangerous because they want to see less federal government and more power left with the stares and the people. In other words, there are millions of Americans who actually believe in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Remember the Constitution? The most important document in social and political history is being interpreted in such cavalier fashion that our Founders and Framers would not recognize the Leviathan we have created. We have a President who considers it a flawed document! This is not because of the failure to deal with slavery (a Civil War and the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments deal with this), but due to the "failure" to write in the redistribution of wealth. In other words, the greatest manifesto of liberty is inadequate because it did not anticipate Marxism.
But the philosophical inanities are not the most serious issue. We have a federal government being used by the current administration to "profile" and "take note" of millions of people who share conservative values and think that we should spend more money locally instead of watching unaccounted billions be consumed by Washington and doled out to groups like ACORN.
If you are vocally pro-life, watch out. If you are a medical caregiver, beware - you risk losing your livelihood if you will not conduct abortions. If you want stronger local and state government, be on the alert - you are obviously a racist and reactionary. In fact, you must be channeling John C. Calhoun and singing "Dixie." If you want LEGAL immigration, you are also a racist and a xenophobe as well. If you want lower taxes, you are an exploiter that is withholding resources from the less fortunate, not a successful risk-taker enjoying the fruits of your labor.
There ARE some "right-wing" nut jobs in the public square. Neither the Left nor the Right has the monopoly of the deranged, foolish and ignorant folks who seem to get all the attention.
The next short period of time will determine American destiny for generations. We have three roads we can travel:
First, we can do nothing and continue to see the injustices and pathologies grow.
Second, we can continue the current federal aggrandizement of power and wealth and watch our liberties decline in proportion to our dependence on government largesse.
The third option is the most challenging, yet full of hope. We can forge a bright future by returning to the principles embraced by our Founders: creativity, self-regulating morality built on lasting virtues, and a vision of a better future for our children built on sacrifice.
Underneath this return to first principles must be a moral and spiritual awakening that restores respect for religion, personal responsibility for our decisions and voluntary sacrifice for our neighbor and nation.
Federal government power games are not the preserve of any party. LBJ lied to a nation (and himself) about victory in Vietnam. Richard Nixon's paranoia led to Watergate and created two generations of skeptics about government., The Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s proves even the the most principled leaders can fail sometimes., the Clinton's were confronted with FBI files that seemed to change location daily. Some of the provisions of the Patriot Act are cause for concern.
What is the way forward? Let's take responsibility - We elected our officials. We can un-elect them too!
Let's protest higher taxes and participate in making someone's life better.
Let's reaffirm that ultimate power under God lies with the people, not the government.