None of the events of Friday night are the slightest bit surprising to economically-aware Americans. Economists warned you. For my part, I warned my own readers repeatedly, and Governor Palin warned you too. On the Thursday before the debt ceiling surrender, Sarah Palin tried to cajole members of Congress to a firm stand. A simple respect for logic screamed a warning in your minds from which there was no means of escape. We all knew this was coming and we all knew it would be humbling. Responsible Americans heard the warning loud and clear, but when they relayed the stark warning to Washington, the DC-Axis pretended not to hear the din, or castigated their critics and defamed them as terrorists.
None of this is news to you, who’ve been reading this blog. If you’ve tuned to Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, or Levin, among lesser lights, you cannot possibly have missed this. Governor Palin warned against the irresponsibility of inaction, on her own Facebook page and during Fox News appearances. Millions of thoughtful Americans made it clear that the Budget Control Act didn’t go far enough. Washington sneered at them, and Speaker Boehner told Republicans to “get your ass in line.” President Obama, for his part, continues to mouth aimless, meandering platitudes. His Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, promised repeatedly that this would not happen. Happen, it has, and now America can count on even worse economic news. It’s going to take real, solid, unwavering leadership to restore all that has been broken in the last three years, and more.
America is not dead, but the policies of Barack Obama, combined with the moral diminution of our nation, have taken her down to her knees. Appropriately, many Americans have noted our position and prayed. I know faithful conservatives who prayed daily for the President and the Congress to find the courage to do what was necessary and proper to safeguard the fiscal and financial state of our Union. As in all things, such prayers may not be answered on a schedule most convenient to mankind, but this doesn’t mean Americans should despair and surrender their country. At least three years of mostly Keynesian solutions combined with innumerable reflexive statist proposals have brought us to this. The shocking truth is this: Barack Obama is not fit for the presidency, and neither are any who timidly sided with the Budget Control Act and its additional blank checks for Obama.
On Thursday, when the Dow slid over 500 points, the chattering class told you this was about Italy, and Europe generally. While there is no denying that these had an effect on the markets, what’s inescapable now is the conclusion I offered you on Friday morning: The market is revolting against three years of an impossible policy of borrow-and-spend and its immediate implications for our own economic future. It also signifies the bankruptcy of a philosophy rooted in early 20th century progressivism. Last night, as the S&P downgraded our credit rating, the truth became apparent. What we witnessed on Thursday was the movement of smart money in response to an impending threat. All day Friday, the White House worked to stave off this downgrade until the markets had closed, hoping to take advantage of the cooling of passions weekends often provide to nervous markets. They succeeded in large measure, and it was not until after the last echos of the closing bell had faded into memory when the first tremors from Washington began to move the earth beneath our feet.
This isn’t an ordinary event, yet in the hours leading up to its final exclamation point, the narrative from Washington had already begun to work its way into the media at large: “This is no big deal. There’s no crisis. There’s no reason for panic. It won’t mean higher interest rates.” Any who have been deceived by past admonitions to abstain from worries should now carefully consider the sources of those remarks. All needn’t be lost, but we, the American people, must resolve and plan to repair this, and it will take a coalition-building servant of tremendous dedication to lead us in bringing this economy hard-about.
We shall see up and downs; rises and falls, but we must measure the course ahead with care, and not turn to panic or despair. We will have a chance to begin setting this right when the elections come mercifully upon us in November of 2012. It is for this coming political season that you must preserve your devotion, energy, and passion. Any silly liberal can(and will) run screaming into the night in fear and trepidation. We must be what we are: The solid foundation upon which this nation still rests. We must have steel spines and strong constitutions. Each of us.
To restore what has been wrecked by the ultimate drunken-drivers, we’ll be faced with challenges as few of us will have known. That doesn’t mean certain failure, but instead only that we must give it our all. Given the character of my audience, as I have been so fortunate to come to know it, I am well-versed in their capacity to do what is right, rather than what is easy. We’re coming to that crossroad at which we will now be compelled to choose what sort of nation we will be. Will we accept endlessly-mounting debt, at each increment yielding a bit more liberty and a good deal more of the futures of our children?
I am reminded of Patrick Henry’s famous speech, and encouragement may yet be found in the fact that our situation is not yet nearly so dire as the one he described. We are not imminently at the point of arms, and there’s no reason we need ever be if only we will make full use of our power in the political battles before us. Substituting political decisions in place of that context, let us remind ourselves of his staggering admonition:
“They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.”
We needn’t go further than to admit that our situation is not nearly so desperate. We have no need of arms, but instead we have a desperate need of people to rise and challenge our adversaries in politics. Our adversaries names are not only Obama and Reid and Boehner, but also John Doe and Joe Sixpack. We must look to our own homes and hearths and know what is in and amongst us. We must mend the fences between neighbors. Go out this day and find one honest person, and tell them what you propose. For my part, I will do so also, and this is what I shall say:
There is no avoiding the truth any longer. We must reform all that is broken with the people in Washington, and if it means replacing them all, every one, then we must do so, as many as we can, in the coming elections. We must find diligent and honest servants, and we must advocate their cause in our own names. We must seek out such leaders as we’ll need, starting most immediately amongst ourselves. We can choose leaders to help guide us at the top, but no leader can carry on her back the combined weight of the world’s problems. A leader must find equally firm character in those who will be led, or their purpose is in vain. Where shall we start? Where have we Americans always started? In our families, among our neighbors, in our churches, and in the town square are the first steps Americans have always taken toward reform, because we know that for reformation and restoration, this healing tide must flow from within us.
Be of good cheer, despite the screaming headlines. Be solid for those who will need your resolve. Be mindful that when you advocate on behalf of a candidate, or an issue, those who are truly undecided will be watching not only for the logic of your argument, but also for the manner in which you make it. They who have sat too long straddling the fence, half in terror and half in comfort at the prospect of dismounting their perch will need to know they’re stepping onto solid ground. We must be that solid ground.
What must be recognized is that this downgrade isn’t a cause, but an effect. We must see even the debt that has brought us to this debacle also as an effect. The cause at the root of our troubles doesn’t lie with the various issues we see emerging in our time, but with something fundamentally broken in what we’ve allowed our country to become. There are great dangers ahead, but none of them need destroy us. None of them ought to be the cause of our demise. They will mostly be mere effects of what actually threatens our republic.
Glenn Beck had it right in his 8-28 project of 2010, when he said that we must restore our honor. The “fundamental transformation” we must find cannot originate in Washington. I’ve been interested to watch, as the new campaign season approaches, who is and who isn’t taking firm and public stands on these arguments in Washington, or elsewhere. I’ve been watching for signals that an honorable and courageous candidate for President will emerge, and while there have been some hopeful signs from a few of those who have announced, I believe the best is yet to come. Who shall lead us? You’ve already had a hint. On the 28th of August, 2010, before a multitude assembled, she spoke not of politics but on the real meaning of American honor:
“We will always come through. We will never give up, and we shall endure because we live by that moral strength that we call grace. Because though we’ve often skirted a precipice, a providential hand has always guided us to a better future.
And I know that many of us today, we are worried about what we face. Sometimes our challenges, they just seem insurmountable.
But, here, together, at the crossroads of our history, may this day be the change point!
Look around you. You’re not alone. You are Americans!
You have the same steel spine and the moral courage of Washington and Lincoln and Martin Luther King. It is in you. It will sustain you as it sustained them.
So with pride in the red, white, and blue; with gratitude to our men and women in uniform; let’s stand together! Let’s stand with honor! Let’s restore America!”
Many will have failed to notice that Governor Palin had been telling us this all along. Some will pretend not to have heard it, not wishing to confront that which they know lies within them. The Obama disaster isn’t the cause of our troubles, but instead has merely exposed the source of our disease. Ridding ourselves of his disastrous economic and social policies will not, by itself, repair what is broken. As Sarah Palin pointed out to the assembled hearing of a multitude, “It is in [us].” We must repair ourselves from the inside, first, and that means honor and integrity in all we do; in our families, among our neighbors, in our churches and our workplaces we must become as honorable as the names of our cherished beliefs demand. At every junction, at every intersection in which one must choose between what is comfortable and easy, or that which is more difficult but right, we must be the people who will choose the latter.
It’s your country. You choose. I’ve asked what sort of freedom it is that you seek. Did others think that by avoiding the choice, they would avoid the consequences of not choosing? Surely not. What your comments and emails reveal is that my readers and millions more have chosen, and I thank you, but there is much work to be done. Let each of us go to it.