Passing the Baton

August 18, 2009

Four runners with sleek muscular bodies take their positions around the track. The first runner takes the baton firmly in his hand. He sets himself in the blocks and coils his powerful body into the starting position. His muscles tighten as he prepares for the start.

At the sound of the starter’s gun, he explodes out of the blocks, his eyes fixated on his team’s next runner. He quickly expends all of his energy in order to get to the next runner as soon as possible. As he nears the next runner, his teammate begins to run away from him. The first runner strains to reach the second runner before he gets too far down the track and is disqualified. He stretches and strains to put the baton firmly in the next runner’s hand making sure that it is not dropped.

It has been a matter of mere seconds from the start of the race until the baton is passed to the second runner. Exhausted, the first runner stops and watches as his teammate races toward the third member of the team. He anxiously watches as each teammate passes the baton to the next runner. Adrenaline continues to rush through the first runner’s body driven by the pressure of praying that his effort does not end in defeat.

As I read this fabulous description of a relay race the other day, I could see what a clear metaphor it is for life. We all want for our leg of the race to make a difference. In this vein, we dutifully save for our children’s futures, get them into the best private schools, make sure they eat their vegetables, get good grades, play sports, and see a dentist. We run as fast and as far as we can in this life to make sure our children start their leg of the race in the best possible position before we pass the baton.

If someone stole the money from your child’s college fund, would you let them take it without a fight? If someone tripped your daughter, just as she was about to go onstage for her first recital, would you sit by and do nothing? We all know we would fight like a lion to protect our children. But think about it…what is the one thing without which your child cannot grow to be a success? The one asset that allows the amassing of all the others? Liberty. Yet we sit idly by as power-hungry individuals, many of which possess not even a tenth of our intellect, steal our liberty. Like rats, they scurry under cover of darkness, nibbling away at our freedoms while our attention is elsewhere.

Ronald Reagan once warned,

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
As students of history well know, freedom and democracy are the exception, not the rule. The founding of America was an incredible milestone in the history of mankind. Our predecessors ran their leg of the race better than we could have ever hoped. They gave us an incredible start. But each runner must do their part. Freedom, as they say, is not free.

We must be worthy of that freedom and pay for the honor of being Americans. The cost is to be ever-vigilant against those that wish to steal our liberty, especially those that do so under the guise of creating a utopian America or providing safety for her citizens. We must hoard our freedom like misers. It is more precious than diamonds, gold or any tangible possession. It is our life blood. We must not let it go without a fight. In this vein, I will be driving with the kids to attend the first national taxpayer march on Washington D.C. on September 12th. I hope some of you will consider doing the same. We are now in the middle of our leg of the race, let’s not lose any more of the valuable ground for which our ancestors fought and died.

I was so moved by the following photo I thought I would include it here. A drive to D.C. and an occasional newsletter is nothing compared to the sacrifice so many others have made.



August 18, 2009

More and more people every day are waking up, as if from a long sleep, to see that the nation we grew up in has somehow morphed into something unrecognizable to us. The surreal events occurring in our news have been prompting what seems to be at least one column a week noting the similarities between modern-day America and a fiction novel. But we reassure ourselves that we are smarter than the characters in a book. We have seen history and know what to avoid. It could never happen here, right? Wrong. Anything can happen here.

Probably the most common comparison I see is that something is “Orwellian”. Over 50 years ago, George Orwell wrote his classic novel, 1984. Winston Smith, the protagonist of the novel, finds himself in a society where government, “Big Brother”, now wields total power over the people, for their own sake, of course. The politicians in the book have now perverted language to such as extent that words have lost their meaning. The Ministry of Truth’s main purpose is to spread lies and propaganda. Forced labor camps are renamed “joycamps”. The ruling party’s slogans are WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH and so on. Smith rebels against this nightmarish world and clings to his sanity, reassuring himself in the truth of certain facts. Even when he is captured to be reeducated, he mentally resists as long as possible. Finally, Winston Smith, his spirit broken in the end, traces “2+2=5” on a table.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, is another book I see mentioned quite a bit. In fact, earlier this year I read that sales of the book had tripled what they were last year, and that the Ayn Rand Center attributed the rise to the uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and events of our day. There was an article a couple of months ago in the Wall Street Journal that stated:

“With each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that ‘Atlas Shrugged’ parodied in 1957 … .”

The journalist then gave a small synopsis of the novel: “Politicians invariably respond to crises – that in most cases they themselves created – by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs … and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.”

While Orwell and Rand may seem eerily prescient, the fact is, they wrote from experience. Their “fiction” was based strongly in fact. Rand warned of the dangers of socialism because she had personally witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution. She was also an avid reader of history and knew that collectivism in its various forms was nothing new and had always failed.

The frightening state of affairs we find ourselves in today is all too real. We are all authors of this book now. Can we change our plotline or will America’s story continue to mirror The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire? Will we choose to affect change or will we be the sheep in Animal Farm? Do you believe that ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS? I didn’t think so.


August 18, 2009

We have recently added the FIRST FEMALE, PUERTO RICAN Justice to the Supreme Court. Is anybody else tiring of these more and more obscure “firsts”? It was difficult to listen to Sotomayor’s confirmation testimony without feeling embarrassed, for it was littered with grammatical errors. It is extremely frustrating to listen to the individual who, in an attempt to impress others with a broad vocabulary, ends up looking foolish by mispronouncing words or using them in the wrong context. One should never use a large word when a diminutive one will suffice.


August 18, 2009

Does anyone remember the old Saturday Night Live “Land Shark” skits? The audience would be viewing an apartment and there would be a knock at the door:

Woman: [standing behind her closed door] Who is it?
Voice: Plumber, ma’am.
Woman: But I don’t need a plumber.
Voice: [after a long pause] Flowers.
Woman: Flowers for whom?
Voice: [after another long pause] Candygram.

And on it would go until the woman finally gets an answer she believes, opens the door and is eaten by the land shark.

Well, we are now living through that comedy skit all the time. As Liberal tradition requires, if an idea is not successful under one name, you can change the name several times until people accept it. They began by pushing “Health Care Reform”, then changed the name to “Health Insurance Reform” believing they could more easily demonize health insurance companies. Now we have moved on to “Government-Chartered Co-op Plan”. Folks, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is Nationalized Healthcare.