Our Civic Responsibility: "Eternal Vigilance By the People"

Voting is no substitute for the eternal vigilance that every friend of freedom must demonstrate towards government.   If our freedom is to survive, Americans must become far better informed of the dangers from Washington — regardless of who wins the Presidency.   —James Bovard

Our good friend and fellow patriot Trestin recently posted about useful idiots on the right, and it was one of those times when I was commenting and found myself writing a full-length blog.  So here I am, again talking about conservative useful idiots.  “Again?,” you may be asking; to which I respond, yep, again.  The useful idiocy of many on the right has been the not-very-subtle subtext of a couple of my recent posts (examples here and here).  Trestin’s post focuses on the war on drugs and the war on terror (essentially used to show that we shouldn’t support Herman Cain–an idea I disagree with but understand given Trestin’s view of the Fed), so I won’t really go into those (I have been writing out about our giving up our constitutional rights for “safety” for ages).  What I do want to address, however, is the 2012 elections and how I believe that conservative (particularly TEA Party) old-school acceptance of a passive citizenry (a form of useful idiocy) will lead to disaster for our country.

The good news:  We can save our republic.

The not-so-good news:  We are buying into GOP establishment memes.

The bad news:  Doing the latter will destroy our chance of doing the former.

The best news:  We really can save our republic.

We can save our republic

Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  —Declaration of Independence

The pyramid of government-and a republican government may well receive that beautiful and solid form-should be raised to a dignified altitude: but its foundations must, of consequence, be broad, and strong, and deep. The authority, the interests, and the affections of the people at large are the only foundation, on which a superstructure proposed to be at once durable and magnificent, can be rationally erected.—James Wilson

We, the people, have done amazing–and I mean jaw-droppingly amazing–things. We’ve become exactly what the founders intended every American citizen to be: engaged, informed, and in charge.

Our constitutional republic was not formed to be “run” by elected officials who are unchecked, unmonitored, and unrestrained.  Our civic duties include, have always included, not only voting every two or so years, but actually watching what our elected representatives are doing and using our vote and our voice to ensure that they don’t go rambling offtrack.  We dropped the ball.  For decades.  That’s bad.  But we not only picked up that ball but ran with it in 2009, and we scored more than a few touchdowns (I’m going to have to leave the sport analogy there, not being all that sports-minded).  We made a real–a tangible, measurable–difference.

We are a powerful in American politics, even the far left admits that (however grudgingly and enviously), and it is that power–the power of the people–that can save our republic.

We are buying into GOP establishment memes

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.    — Daniel Webster

The issue today is the same as it has been throughout history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite. Thomas Jefferson

We all (or most of us) agree that the GOP establishment is just as culpable, just as guilty, in bringing us to where we are today.  They embraced “compassionate conservative” nanny state big government in too many ways to count: pork, social welfare programs (unfunded, of course), education, the Patriot Act, and on and on.  They funneled our money into their pet projects, industries, and own wallets.  They did all that for decades, and we sat back and grumbled quietly about it . . . until 2009.

Then the TEA Party happened.  We started pushing back, voicing our anger and outrage, insisting that they get back to core conservative principles of fiscal responsibility, free market capitalism, and limited government.  We elected quite a few such conservatives to every level of government across the entire nation, and we kept their feet to the fire.

We were, in short, the responsible citizens that the founders insisted were needed to keep our constitutional republic going. In doing our civic duty, embracing our responsibility as citizens to protect and defend our nation and its Constitution, we made a difference, and we can continue to make one if we continue to do this.  But we’re not doing it.  We’re still thinking, in some areas anyway, like those old couch potato citizens who believed that the power is really in Washington, that Congress and the President are the final word, our rulers.

And make no mistake, that’s exactly what we believed.  Our actions show it beyond any shadow of any doubt.  When we accept unfair and unconstitutional laws, when we accept illegal and unconstitutional searches and seizures, when we remain silent in the face of massive government spending and unlimited power grabs, and most significantly, when we point our fingers at elected officials rather than at ourselves, we cede all power to elected officials who are, for all intents and purposes, unaccountable to the people they’ve come to think of–perhaps correctly–as mindless drones who are susceptible to false campaign promises and empty slogans.  Our form of government requires us, if we want to remain (or get back to being) free, to be involved.  If we are not involved, if we are bystanders and spectators rather than actors, we get exactly what we deserve, and we will lose our republic.

We are losing it. 

And we are losing it, in no small part, because we haven’t made the break, not really, from the old way of thinking about our role as citizens.  The GOP establishment has anointed Romney as our next president.  Period.  And how many of us are accepting that (and I do include myself in this)?  Oh, we gripe, we don’t like it, but we are accepting it.  By not supporting someone else, or by doing so only half-heartedly, we are complicit in the 2012 election of another big government, nanny state, business-as-usual ruler.

Frankly, I don’t care whom you support, but if you’re still sitting on the sidelines, nitpicking and bemoaning our fate, then you are part of the problem, not a part of the solution.  There is no perfect candidate, but there are obvious bad apples.  Romney and Perry are bad apples.  They are crony capitalists, government is the solution (as long as they are dictating the solutions) nightmares.  They are more of the same.  They are the epitome of all that is wrong with our government.  But we are letting the GOP dictate whom will be the next president, we are believing that only Romney can beat BO, we are selling out our nation and our nation’s future by buying into tired GOP memes about how things “are” or how things “are done.”

Doing the latter will destroy our chance of doing the former

It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government.  —Mercy Warren

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. —Samuel Adams

This timid acceptance of the inevitable Romney nomination is very worrying to me, and it’s not simply a matter of accepting someone I believe to be a truly bad man as our next president.  It’s that in doing so we relinquish our hard-won, finally reclaimed power.  We undermine all of the gains we’ve made in the past three years, especially those made in 2010; we seal the fate not only of the TEA Party but of our country.

Do I think Romney will destroy our country?  No.  Do I think his election would mean the end of any chance to save it?  Yes.  If Romney is elected without a real fight on our part, the TEA Party loses all credibility–we sell out and get what all sell-outs get:  nothing of real value.  We will have handed our power to the GOP establishment, and in doing so, they not only win, but we lose.  That is not a distinction without a difference because in winning, they get to go back to being corrupt, thieving rulers, and there is nothing that we will be able to do about that; they would, rightly, think that any TEA Party push back is meaningless and can be ignored.  And before long, we sink back onto our couches to grumble to our spouses and shout impotently at the television.

We become a footnote in the history books.

We really can save our republic

But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.  It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.  Andrew Jackson

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. — Wendell Phillips

That doesn’t have to happen, but any more talk of third parties (total disaster in every conceivable way) and/or of staying home (to “make a statement”–the only statement that makes is “I don’t take my civic responsibility seriously. So there.”), will ensure it just as irrevocably as gobbling up GOP establishment propaganda (the only way to beat BO is to run someone just like him).  We need to stop thinking like it’s 2008, thinking that we can act like impatient, spoiled brats by taking our toys and stomping off the playground (third party) or by pouting in our rooms (staying home).  The GOP establishment, in light of that thinking/behavior/talk, really are the grown-ups in the room.  Think about it.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.  We are the power, and we have the power.  We have proven that.

Our Constitution gives us the tools we need to affect the change we want, but it’s a slow process and involves a real commitment.  It involves staying involved, not checking out in a temper tantrum.  It involves working for constitutional conservatives, not whining about how there aren’t enough of them (of course there aren’t.  We have had one–that’s ONE–election, and it was a midterm, not even a general.  Anyone who expected that to magically transform our government is not thinking clearly.).  It involves keeping our elected representatives’ feet to the fire on every issue–remember, this was the intent of our founders.  They didn’t expect us to check out after every election then sort of shake our sleepy heads a week before the next election to vote for whomever was handed us by “our” party.  That’s lunacy.

But that’s what we did, and what I fear we are slipping back into.   For example, some people who are whinging about Herman Cain’s 999 plan are doing so (and I have to self-report here, I was doing this, too) on the grounds that “they” will just raise our taxes, making the 999 into 12-12-12 or whatever.  But guess what, that’s not possible if we, the people, stay alert, informed, and active; it’s not possible if we show that we will not stand for it, that we will organize and vote out anyone who raises it and replace them with people who will repeal any increase.  That is our civic responsibility.  “They” can’t do a thing that we don’t allow.  Such moves to raise taxes (or do anything else) are only possible, in other words, if we accept that Washington is actually our king, and we have no say in anything.

Unless we completely reset our understanding of our role as responsible citizens, as guardians of our republic and of our freedom, we will lose both.  “They” are not the problem unless we allow it, and we’ve allowed it for far too long.

This is a historical moment, a truly historical moment:  Do we, the people, retain the reins of real power in this nation, or do we not?  Do we, the people, don the mantle of liberty, responsibility, and eternal vigilance intended by our founders, or do we not? 

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22 thoughts on “Our Civic Responsibility: "Eternal Vigilance By the People"

  1. So many of us are struggling. Struggling entrepreneurs, parents, employees, busy with what it takes to support ourselves and raise the next generation. I agree we need a better candidate than Romney or Perry, but what am I supposed to do about it. I blog from the privacy of my home in the little time I have available. I like Bachmann but I don't see her popularity blooming so I don't know what to do.

    So tell me. What specifically do you recommend.

  2. Opus, exactly what you've been doing! You were a tireless supporter of Chuck DeVore, you blog, tweet, attend events, back constitutional conservatives, refuse to be cowed by leftists and this administration, donate, march, teach your children American values, and on and on. This is the sort of civic involvement we need, and you are doing it every single day.

  3. A great post. I' with you on Mittens, he is not a conservative, in fact he champions a lot of Marxist programs and causes.

    I wish the Tea Party would get out of boardroom mode and get back on the street this spring. We need a full fledged movement, not just another lobby group.

    As an aside, when you truly understand what the Fed does to this country for their BIS masters, it's hard not to feel as I do.

  4. Superb post, Fuzzy Slippers. You are, of course, right on point. In fact I am planning to go a step further in my new post over at WP. Many will disagree with me but hey – that's life (a little Old Blues Eyes reference there — that was Sinatra who sang that, right? Never mind, you're too young I am sure.)

  5. This is such a great post, will be linking.

    I have been thinking the very same thing. A lot of people seem to still look to others to make up their minds for them instead of doing their own due diligence in finding out what is going on.

    A lot of us get distracted (I'm soo guilty) and focus on national politics, meanwhile stuff like the UN's Agenda 21 is going in all around us through our locally elected officials who are about as dumb as a box of rocks.

    We've gotten here because TPTB have assumed that we will always be dumb and ignorant and never call them out on anything. That's how we get Goldman Sachs running our Treasury Dept.

  6. This will come down to the question of how many folks in Nov 2012 who are afraid to take the right path.

    In the end we'll have obama and Mr/Mrs X, a choice between socialism and:
    -socialism light
    -conservatism,

    backed by a congress who is:
    -willing to be conservative
    -just be the same old same old.

    Doesn't seem like the percentages are with us. But stranger things have happened 🙂

  7. @Trestin, thanks 🙂 Mittens is a very real danger to us all. The more things unfold, the more convinced I am of this.

    I don't think that the TEA Party is going to stay back for long, and I have mixed feelings about this. We do need to make our presence known again (and we will), but clashing with the lunatics is what THEY need to happen. How we do our thing and remain out of any sort of violent conflict is unclear to me. But one thing is certain, we have to mobilize the second that this administration does one of two things: suspends elections or declares some sort of “suspension” of the Constitution. Either or both seems all-too-likely.

    @Kerry, agreed.

    @Mrs. AL, thanks! 🙂

    @DS, thanks, my friend 🙂 Twice.

    @republicanmother, thanks 🙂 I've been looking at that Agenda 21 stuff recently, and it is indeed scary stuff. I don't think that's what this is, but it's worth keeping an eye on getting involved locally to extract our communities from it.

    @TCL, thanks 🙂 Yes, apathy is a danger. My fear is that when we win in 2012 people will just slip back into that apathy, thinking that the crisis is over (rather like we all did after HillaryCare was defeated, and we didn't pay attention to what either Clinton or Bush were doing. Big mistake).

    @Kid, many are afraid to take the right path right now. And I understand that, we want, we must have, BO out of office in 2013. Again, though, we can't keep pretending that we have no role to play in what Congress does. That's just bullshit, and it's dangerous. Since the TEA Party came on the scene, we have long-time pork snarflers declaring they hate pork and want to eliminate it, among other serious changes in fiscal attitude. That's not “them” doing it on their own, they are responding to we, the people. When we stop being there, paying attention, they will go right back to it. It's ON US. Period.

    @Odie, yes, yes, yes!

  8. @cof, sorry! I missed your comment there for a sec. Thanks! 🙂 We really must guard, protect, and defend our freedom, now more than ever, but if this passes without too much horror, we can never, never, never let down our guard again.

  9. Yes indeed. I have come to the conclusion that many others have come to as well. The only way we “fix” government is to pry it's grimy mitts off of everything but the tasks enumerated in the constitution.

    Like I love telling liberals, government “doesn't work” because it was never designed to do the things progressives want it to do.

    The tea party agenda for the next GOP-run congress and GOP president (God willing) should be no more programs.

    The only laws we want to see passed are laws burning down libraries of federal code. We want the decommissioning of whole departments, labor, education, and the rat-infested departments like the NLRB. Shut down the FCC and contract out frequency management to people who know what they are doing.

  10. @Fuzzy, I just don't believe we have as much control over congress members as you seem to think we do. I'm show me until it actually happens.

    @Silverfiddle. We can't be satisfied with no more programs. The ones in place already are enough to choke the life our of us. They've been choking us for decades already.

  11. @Silverfiddle, precisely, and it's time we started prying more actively 😉 And good point about government not “working” to achieve “social justice”–that's not what it was originally designed to do, and all the progressive (communist, actually) design modifications have turned it into a lumbering, useless monstrosity. Definitely time to scale it waaaaay the heck back 🙂

    @Kid, well, sadly, if enough people take that attitude–and sit back waiting for . . . what? some magic solution that frees you from any responsibility as a citizen?–you're right it will never happen. We definitely have control over Congress, that's been proven by the 2010 election and will only increase with the 2012 and 2014 IF WE STAY INVOLVED. That's the real key. I get that you are skeptical, but in a weird way, that's the exact thing that will do us all in. We can't sit this out. At least not more than a handful of us; the power of the people is in numbers, in votes, in ensuring that the GOP establishment types are voted out and replaced and that once replaced the new ones know that their fate will be the same. DC is waiting for us to back off, to slide back into an apathetic stupor. I hope that's not your plan (and suspect it's not because I know how much you love our country).

  12. Fuzzy, Nope, I will vote for the most conservative candidate I can. I will give them my opinions.

    What else can any of us do?

    When 50% 'of us' seem to support the current agenda so long as they stay on the IV Drip? Lot of people out there who don't care about anything else. Some of them can't afford to. Union guy with family, is he going to vote to potentially lose his job for the good of the country? Course not.

    The easy solutions are not in the available cards anymore in my opinion because of the number of dependent, misinformed, and uninformed.

    The two most important things we can do are to fix the education system by making it local, and causing people to want to be self-responsible and successful. That won't happen over night, but it starts with people voting for it over the next several elections.

    We'll see in 2012. I'm optimistic based on things like current polling numbers reflecting America's huge dissatisfaction with current government, but that's just one data point and it can change in a flash.

    Anyway, that's all I'm saying.

  13. @Kid, I get ya 🙂 I agree that we need to work locally toward change, we need to work with education and with restoring patriotism and pride in America and in American exceptionalism. We need to keep pushing back when our rights are infringed and not silently acquiesce to PC lunacy (flag, God, etc.) and support others who are taking a stand or being battered by lunatic lefties (like Hank, Jr. the other day, etc.). As commies pulled down our society and culture, we must build it back up. That's all part of it, too. No more “silent” majority, just a good, active citizen majority who will band together to push back against injustice and wrongs, including those by Congress and the WH.

  14. “but any more talk of third parties (total disaster in every conceivable way) and/or of staying home (to “make a statement”–the only statement that makes is “I don't take my civic responsibility seriously. So there.”), will ensure it just as irrevocably as gobbling up GOP establishment propaganda (the only way to beat BO is to run someone just like him). We need to stop thinking like it's 2008, thinking that we can act like impatient, spoiled brats by taking our toys and stomping off the playground (third party) or by pouting in our rooms (staying home).”

    Amen sister!

    About the only case I can make for voting Romney, if he gets the nomination is 1) He's more conservative than Obama. 2) Unlike Obama, he actually understands economics and knows how jobs are really created (in the private sector). 3) He's malleable. He will happily go along with a GOP-dominated congress. He's a safe choice as long as we have conservatives in congress setting the agenda.

  15. @Silverfiddle, your points are good ones, and I agree with them for the most part. But I'm taking Romney off the table for now. We can do better; we must do better.

    @conservativeBC, wow, thanks 🙂

  16. No compromise. Never. I fear I shall be one of those “spoiled children” that will take his toys and go home if the GOP evil empire seeks to force me to vote for their champion, Romney.

    I am third party. I shall ever be. Neither of The Big Two speak for me, but serve to only continue their stranglehold on American governance.

    I will vote for Cain or Paul. Period. All the others can pound sand.

    I can easily endure another four years of Obama, no problem. There is nothing he can do that cannot be undone. But I shall not vote for the GOP mandated horse and damage my own personal integrity. I have to live with myself.

    Anyhoos, this is a fantastic piece of food for thought, Fuzi. Thank you for writing it!

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