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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Social Capital


Sunday we went to one of the youngest cousin's fiftieth wedding anniversary. (This is a clue as to the average age of the fifteen remaining first cousins.) At the gathering were a bunch of the older group with their spouses who had celebrated their fiftieth anniversaries during the past decade or so… In attendance were the adult children in the extended family,  grand children and a handful of great grandchildren.  Everyone one cleaned up real well, visited, ate of lot of cake and drank un-sweet tea…. The talk, whenever this group gets together, often has to do with growing up in Mississippi during the depression years and family activities when we were children.

Back then, most of Mississippi was made up of farm families such as ours. Many subscribers to this blog have similar family histories. Our family wasn't unique. What is unique was there wasn't a sense of being poor…. More or less every family had the same, which was little or nothing. You would be hard pressed to call what was going on in Mississippi at that time an economy...If crops were good you had a little more. If crops failed you had less…. Clothes were mostly hand-me-downs. There were no government backstops. However, there was something that held it all together.

 There were social values. There was a set of beliefs that was common to all. These values and beliefs were the social capitol. We had very poor people, some with a little more and a few who had a lot compared to the very poor. All were bound together by some inner strength. This strength was the social net. This 'net' contributed, helped out, shared and this compassionate legacy was America and Americans. Wherever we have gotten to, this legacy is what got us here. The ones in the family who have had fiftieth anniversaries are old enough to recall that Mississippi and that America. One book per class in a one room school,  the orange at Christmas, and sometimes a silver dollar on a birthday, along with prayers for rain in the summers.

That period of our history and all the poorness that went with it is gone and good riddance. What are not gone are the poor people. 

Government, businesses, and people have worked hard over the last half of the last century replacing the old social capitol with financial capitol. This was a trade off few realized was happening and was spread over a couple of generations so there weren't any big jolts…. By the early sixties there were enough divorces that some began to notice and worry that the core of the nation, the family, was spinning apart. By the late sixties as President Johnson created a national mission, the war on poverty, could we begin to see the transition to the new social capitol and the impact on the old social capital. Once done the flood gates opened for government to step into the role of the good neighbor and it has never looked back. Within one generation the grandchildren accepted and expected government to take care of all social problems and many demanded that even become more proactive.

Looking back, governments, throughout history, have been the ones who decide and create economies and defines how they will work and what the rules within the economy will be. There is an illusion that has been fostered over the last century that capital markets and economies have been created by individuals exchanging goods and services, i.e. the free market….The money that was used in the market place was created and denominated by government. Government encouraged business to produce certain things the society and government needed, inhibited foreign competition, and the unemployed were paid to do work at different levels of government such as build roads, plant trees, etc.  

When government does its job well we often don't know/don't see it has a hand in what is going on. When it becomes lax and leaders become self absorbed the system starts to unwind and becomes unstable. It is only then that we see government’s hand in the pot, such as in this moment in time with this president and this congress behaving like despots.

We find ourselves at this tipping point again in America. This is not our first tipping point and will not be our last. This representative democracy called the United States of America is in its midlife crisis. About two hundred years is as long as similar experiments have lasted and each historical failure can be traced to the door step of the people in those nations through their lack of involvement, lack of interest, lack of knowledge, and lack of responsibility. That has been the cause of the government breakdown with all who have tried and this was always followed by an economic breakdown. As President Truman said , "The buck stop here" meaning his desk…. The reality is, the buck starts and stops on our dinner tables."

We forgot to guard our elected guardians. The Tea Party is now in the process of reminding the guardians who they work for and how they are expected to serve and serve only at our behest. Not an easy job but we are up to it. We dropped our forefathers' baton but it has been picked up and the race is a long way from being over. In 2010 we wrote lots of congressional pink slips….Hopefully we will write even more pink slips this November. (The Dems will remember 2010 as one of their good years.) With the defeat of our current president the whole mishmash of self-interest fringe groups under the banner of American liberal Democrats will spin apart along with the elected who pander to them.

If we can't get them all out in 2012, well 2014 is just around the corner. The political class will have to deal with us every two years and ever two years we will replace a few more of these good old boys. They are politicians who come and go but we are the citizens. We are America. This is a last man stand sort of thing. 

Clearly America is not Greece, Italy, France, or Span. We are not going to let our politicians sink this representative democracy even though our behavior over the past two plus decades has led them to think so. We are the sleeping Tiger Japan feared and any politician who forgets American history, written by its citizens not politicians, does so at their peril.

Our political class has forgotten… Each incumbent is holding on to his/her power by a thread of empty promises and self delusions. Suddenly many elected Democrats are announcing that they will not attend the Democratic Nation Convention. This speaks volumes. As Regan so apply put it, "They can run but they can't hide."

This war or what feels like a war on our freedoms, beliefs, and values started long before Obama became president. However, many in congress today, who make up the good-old-boys and girls in the always to be reelected crowd, have been in Washington chipping away at one right after another, one value after another, and our freedoms for low these many election cycles while hiding behind government departments autocrats who spew out regulations, controls, and restrictions at their behest. Protecting themselves behind a thin cloak of denial. 

One would think the political class, who control both the Democratic and Republican parties, would sense that something unique is happening. They don't…
This election is part of a struggle for the preservation of America and a way of life of the citizens that this political class does not know, understand, or have any contact with. It is as if they live in some parallel universe.

This country created more wealth, safety, and still offers hope for a better life for our children and grandchildren today as it did before this political class emerged and the current group of elected representatives got elected the first time.

Note to all these candidates:

What we the people want is simple: We want the minimum necessary government. A government which defends individual freedom, our country, supports those in real need, takes as little of our money as possible to run, and doesn't impose itself in our lives.

Our current President, congressional leaders, the media, and all other who make up this elite political class are at odds with the Tea party in general and these simple American birthrights. 

The Tea Party is not simply a sub-group of unhappy dumb voters complaining about this or that tax or law... The Tea Party folks are the salt. It is they and their fathers who have fought many bloody wars when less was at stake.

As I was getting ready to post this article I started listening to the Supreme Court's decision on Obama Care…. The word "infamy" came to mind. I have never used or heard the word used since I was very young. President Roosevelt described Japans attack on Pearl Harbor as the Day of Infamy. Earlier in this article I talked about a tipping point. This decision in my mind is a tipping point.  Now we have a congress, a president, and the Supreme Court saying that no matter what the majority of voters wants it is for the political class to decide what is best for them.

No matter how many new Tea Party folks there will be come November can they offset the seventeen million new folks who now will be on our, free to them, medical system with their health coverage being paid for by the people who work and the businesses they work for? Maybe more importantly, given our current health system, will it not collapse under the weight of all the new citizens’ patients?

The answer may lie in the adage, "When the going get tough the tough get going."

I saw a wonderful tee shirt the other day that said, "I am the Tea Party".  I though, yes he is the Tea Party and I am the Tea Party….What a simple and powerful statement. Each of us is the Tea Party

134 days, 10 hours and 32 minutes till the November voting begins.

Ron

docnick37@gmail.com


Monday, June 4, 2012

Squanders 0f Liberties

" A society without the means to detect lies and theft soon squanders its liberty," C. Hedges The candle was lighted in the window so we have found our way home from our Central American sabbatical just in time to start all of the spring gardening chores and campaign watching. The lesson from the reaches of Costa Rica that is every country has limits. When the people, along with their government, exceeds the resource limits of their country the punishment is swift and the downward economic spiral takes no prisoners. Seeing the cost of these mistakes, as a outsider in Costa Rica, the question resounds like a cannon shot, "How could they not see?" Possibly this small nation has resources for a million people yet it has four and a half million and growing and at the same moment being bombarded with illegal immigrants. Costa Rica is a third world nation and we are the world's leading nation so how could there be any similarities between the two? From bondage to spiritual faith;  What do we know as a people about our government and its workings? Can our citizenry detect lies? Do we recognize theft? Do we notice when politicians change the meaning of words to hide the meaning of their acts? This reelection game is now getting underway in spades…. Saw my first TV ad this morning by Congressman Cohn out of the Memphis area… The ad tied him together with Obama and a older black lady saying, "They" are trying to take away my President and my Congressman." I suspect this is a simple example of the direction this campaign will take over the next five month. From spiritual faith to great courage;  Simple reality, yet so easily forgotten is the 'bigger something is the more time, money, and effort it takes to manage it. Resources are limited and when growth in terms of people and government out strips the resources of the country the results are predictable. BUT by whom? Americans are hopeful people. If our citizens cannot detect lies and recognize theft and deceit, how can we know who the candidates really are and will be unable to predict their behavior as leaders? From courage to liberty;  George Orwell famously said: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Today, conservative truth tellers are the Tea Party revolutionaries, struggling to get a seat at their governments table against the elite political establishment that blankets free speech, conservative ideas and ideals with liberal media blitzes. Once again, like in 2010, the liberal media broadcast the demise of the Tea Party. discounting the Tea Party as yet another grass roots movement who's time has passed. From liberty to abundance; Here we are in 2012 and like in 2010 the Tea Party folks are the only drums sounding out warnings…. Recognizing the theft and deceit … Predicting and fearing the consequence of our governments' direction. Our elected RINO's can't/don't ever look past the next election cycle. We know this about them because we know them….and yet in all likelihood we will reelect many of them again. From abundance to complacency;  Former slave Frederick Douglass advised: "Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. ... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." From complacency to apathy; Societies are always in flux. Adaptation and change has been the corner stone of mankind. Now is no different from yester-year or yester-century with one exception and it a big exception.We have more of everything' than anyone in history and therefore we have more to lose. All our forefathers contributed to this rich society by following the back side of a mule or standing on an assembly line day after day, year after year. Dreaming dreams. Dreams of liberty and the freedom to accomplish all that they were able was the driving force of their efforts. They built the nation one crop at a time... One car at a time... One family at a time... This is a silly thing to say, but most of the people working in America today have never gone without, have never sweated on their job, and few have ever made a deal with a hand shake. Maybe sweat and handshake times have passed but the loss of this community trust is seen in almost everything we do. From apathy to dependence; There are 161 days, 22 hours, 32, minutes, and 22 seconds before the voting begins in November. The choices will be limited so great care and consideration is needed. This voting will take us to a form of governing that offers citizens their rightful place as the head of their government supported by their elected representatives or it will take us to an unthinkable direction of elite political class tyranny that has become so dominant in the last few decades and has escalated under this current president. Obama is not the threat to our freedoms and our historic way of life but the guy that stares back at us in the bathroom mirror every morning… Does the man in the mirror want the responsibility of the governed? Does he want a job? Does he want to contribute to his community? What does the face want? There is and has been the wealthy and the poor. These groups were bound together by common beliefs and ideals and working together a middle tier group grew and the nation prospered. The linkage between the wealthy and the poor is breaking apart. The values, beliefs, and mores in the poorer group began to change. Social bonds, family values, communities unraveled, and work ethics began to disappear. History's finger points to 1964…. The year government decided to intervene in the social structure of the nation and began engineering the Great Society. A half century later we find ourselves in a divided nation. This election will not be about federal deficits, slowing economies, unemployment, failing school systems, lies and deceit of the political class but the torn curtain that separates our citizens from one another, the people from their government, children from their fathers, and the nation from it dreams. Sweat and courage are the tools. Hope points the direction. There are few hands left that have memories of the older nation. Soon Saba's will be gone. No one will know where the candle is to light. From dependence back into bondage. If you take a group of any size where there are the same beliefs, values, the group will be acceptably stable. The group will come together, work together, and be empathic where there are causes and needs that affect the group as a whole and individuals within the group.…. At a national level, in our recent past, this was referred to as, "Being a good neighbor and/or The American Way of Life." This election campaign along with the past three years of national leadership has focused itself on dividing our citizens by defining them as victims within ethnic and economic groups. Our President, from his bully pulpit, is telling them they are being victimized by American business as well as wealthier citizens and if they reelect him he will fix the problems by taking money from this group, the wealthier 1%, and distributing it to them. The question our group along with countless other citizens should ask is , "Will this kind of pandering work?" What we know is this type of political campaigning has worked many time in out past. Many of the good old boys in the House and Senate have used the same tactics and it has worked for them in their states. Our President can’t help but regurgitate these leftist-progressive ideas and ideals. (For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…) This is who our President is… He believes wealth should be taken from the ones who have created it. He believes government should control the economy and the individual while we at the same moment are watching the demise of the second largest economy in the world built by leaders in Europe who thought and preached the same gospel. We watched Russians citizens suffer seventy years under similar leaders with exactly the same set of government controls. Our goal is to flood the House and Senate with as many new conservative representatives as possible and to replace a President who is well liked by over half our population. Can this be done and can we do it? Yes… The answer is, yes we can… We have fought many battles before and our challengers have always regretted the outcomes. This current leading Republican candidate looks like he will be our only choice. You can bet there won't be any surprises in the convention… I had hoped we would have a candidate that had a little more true grit in him…. Ron docnick37@gmail.com Http://theoxfordteaparty.blogspot.com