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On the Veneration of Politicians

It's the end of the year 2012 and we Americans have found ourselves in a country vastly different from the America intended. The independent, self-made spirit that lead us to sovereignty and put us in the books as the only country founded on an idea, is now one of a grossly intrusive government. We have moved from a Declaration of Independence, absolving loyalty to any tyrannical ruler who dared dictate our rights and privileges to a culture of dependence that holds in high regard the very state we once found deplorable. 

Collectively, we now accept government "charity" as paramount to personal charity. We flock to government to cure humanity from humanity itself. Scarcely do we hear cries for "deregulation" rather, the preferred montras are that government must "do something" and that somehow, more laws will bend America in the right direction; ignoring the fact that both are completely contradictory to the American principles of self governance.

There's an abundance of reasons why and how we've slipped into this predicament. Rather than rehash how we got here in this post, it's more important to address where we go from here. How do we make America, America again?

There's an alarming trend that has seeped into the ideology of the Right -- veneration of politicians. I'll posit part of it has to do with pop culture; one that glorifies celebrities, athletes and anyone else who is basking in their fifteen minutes, earned or not. In some respects, I believe people are looking for a hero. Part of our desire to have a hero is simply human. Who doesn't want someone they can count on to fight the bad guy? Somehow this want of hero has morphed in to love of politician.

For many, this love of politician seems to replace onus to act as an individual and also grants a fantastical license to complain when the hero of the hour doesn't live up to impossible standards. If we are to correct our course, we must readjust our thinking. The politicians of today are not heroes, they're merely pawns, forced to trade favors for gain in power and prestige.  Being such, they are part of government, and that government being ever intrusive in nature, is neither our friend, nor heroic.   

We cannot look to an elected official as our answer, our salvation or the cure --no matter how many pledges he signs, which Tea Party groups endorse him, how balanced or well spoken he may be, or how Reaganesque he may seem. In placing so much stock in an elected official, the concept of the individual, the constituent, is lost. It was this very concept of the individual constituent that was at the core of our nation's founding. 

If we are the side that stands for the individual in all its facets (responsibilities, rights, liberties), then that must be the heart of our focus. We must agree to stop waiting for the second coming of Reagan and understand fully that it is only the pursuit of individual liberty and the ideal of individual liberty that will alter our course. It was this ideal that brought people from other nations, from all walks of life, out of oppression to the hope of being free. President Calvin Coolidge summed it up best in a speech he delivered in 1924, "Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty."

This ideal made America what she once was and can make America who she was meant to be once again. 

Tom Ryan

Good post Kemberlee! Further to your point, under the Constitution our government was originally designed to be operated by fallible, imperfect people, with protections in place so they couldn't screw it up too badly. One of those major protections was the federalist structure created by the Constitution, where states could freely compete with one another, thus creating an inherent moderating effect. Federalism was dealt a severe blow 100 years ago with the passage of the 16th and 17th Amendments. If we are to ever hope to reverse the course that we are on, we need to have a long term goal to repeal and/or replace those amendments so we can put federalism back into action. We do not need to sit and wait for "The One" to lead this effort, but with a little education and some new policy approaches (see:, we can all get on the same page and restore the power structure the Constitution envisioned.