and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column

Teachable moments found
in Washington and around the corner
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, August 6, 2009

"We should impart our courage, and not our despair ... and take care that this does not spread by contagion."

-- Henry David Thoreau

I have tried to live by Thoreau's words. But toward the end of July 2009, I had almost given in to despair about the future of America, never mind Massachusetts.

Too much debt, too much entitlement, too little common sense and common ethics. I was getting crabby about it, too.

I was at a local farmers market, waiting patiently in line with my visiting son and twin grandchildren, when a woman pushed in front of us because she was "just getting a $3 breakfast burrito."

That might have seemed only slightly unreasonably rude if she hadn't been waving a $20 bill, which required that the lone vendor make change. I told her firmly to get in line. I save quarters and low-denomination bills all week, just to be considerate, and I wasn't going to allow this "special" person, who thought her time was more valuable than mine, to cut ahead of me and the others who were waiting.

My son joked about not knowing me, but the 8-year-olds were supportive; kids usually dislike line crashers, too. I guess we had a "teachable moment," as the president would say: Their parents may want to teach them peaceful coexistence. I want to teach them to stand up to "the entitled" and stand up for themselves.

However, it has recently occurred to me that these might not be useful skills in the new Obama Order. Maybe we should get used to standing in line for, say, health care, while entitled politicians push ahead with superior plans for themselves and their friends.

Earlier that week, I had watched the president's news conference on his health care plan, about which he seemed to know little, appearing almost glad to have the subject changed to the alleged racist incident in Cambridge.

I hadn't paid much attention to the incident until that moment, since I don't read news articles that have the word "race" in the headline; I'm bored with perpetually aggrieved blacks and pathetically "concerned" whites who see racists on every street corner.

But suddenly I was faced with the astonishing sight of the so-called "transformational" president of the United States attacking a Cambridge cop and casually insulting police officers in general in this country who he says have a problem with racial profiling during a news conference being broadcast around the world.

I decided that things have become entirely too bizarre and it's time to withdraw to Walden Woods, so to speak: Quietly resist the government, simplify my life, follow my own drummer.

In the next few days, I shopped to beat the state sales tax increase purchasing the replacement shingles for my house just in time, having a final Burger King meal and, at the last minute, buying three little plants at the local garden center to replace the ones that drowned last month. Maybe by next spring, the state will realize it made a mistake increasing the sales tax, and it will be repealed in time for me to shop for annuals again.

The twins and I watched my classic "Red Dawn" video, giving me another chance for a teachable moment about the Cold War and teenagers resisting communism. Then we enjoyed the first two episodes of "Davy Crockett" the Disney version that was colorized for a 50th anniversary edition. Too bad there wasn't time for the "Davy Goes to Congress" episode in which his innate American virtue triumphs over bureaucratic evil.

I think my mood of despair actually began to lift, though, when we went touring in Salem. My first choice was the New England Pirate Museum, which I had been saving until the grandchildren came. I doubt that they enjoyed it more than I did, as I laughed out loud throughout the guided tour and found myself wondering if I was too old to apply for a job as a pirate tour guide.

I kept thinking about that quote by H.L. Mencken: "Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats" figuratively speaking, of course.

So I have two new hopeful bumper stickers on my car: "2010 the Second American Revolution," during which we the voters will remove many incumbents at both the state and federal levels, and "1-05-11" the date that some brand-new state legislators are sworn in.


There are already good candidates preparing to run against Congressman John Tierney and Gov. Deval Patrick.

After the family left, I watched the so-called "beer summit" at the White House, one of the silliest stunts in recent political history and thought how sometimes things work out in ways one does not expect.

Just as many of us despaired of stopping President Obama from changing America into one big, government-run entitlement, a courageous police sergeant stood his ground and showed the country the difference between a man and a political mirage. Policemen and citizens across the nation backed the sergeant, and the mirage backed down.

Look, delusional Obama voters: A teachable moment. Depart, despair! America can yet be saved.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.