A healthy dose of optimism on the Fourth
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hello Barbara,

I am SO discouraged about the state of our Country & the socialists in Washington and the monstrous national debt, and the Dodd-Frank bill ... right now I foresee a bankrupt Country in the future ... if we even continue to exist. Remember China is just watching and waiting. I won't be here to see it, but I hate to leave this legacy to my precious grand nephews and nieces. We were so great during and after WWII. The decline of America is so sad.


This e-mail came in on the Fourth of July while Chip and I were at the annual Independence Day party at the home of Don Feder, who hired me 32 years ago this month as his secretary at Citizens for Limited Taxation. Two years later, he was working for the Second Amendment Foundation in Washington state and I was executive director of CLT.

Don soon returned to Massachusetts and wrote opinion pieces for the Boston Herald for 19 years; he is now Don Feder Associates, which organizes conservative events across the country. For several years, I've been attending the party, which is organized by his wife, Andrea, and attended by activists across the conservative spectrum.

We all share a love of America and regard for its constitution. After the shish kebab, potato salad and corn on the cob, and before dessert, we gather around Don's pool and read the Declaration of Independence aloud.


From left, the Rev. Brenda Bennett of Topsfield, Edward F. King (founder of CLT), Christen Varley of the Boston Tea Party, her husband Tim, Don Feder looking on, and Dan Hogan of NH, listen as Barbara reads her poolside part of the Declaration of Independence.


This year, I got to read the names of all the signers. Don had introduced the event by telling us what happened to all those brave men, many of whom, after pledging their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, lost all but the last during the Revolutionary War.

Chip and I took Chip's dad, WWII veteran Woody Ford, who was delighted by this commemoration of the true meaning of the Fourth of July. He also enjoyed another of its expressions that evening during the Boston Pops concert, when Toby Keith sang "American Soldier" while the cameras flashed on the servicemen and servicewomen in the crowd. It was, I thought, one of the finest Esplanade holiday performances ever.

I noticed that many of the younger people in the crowd knew the words to the old songs during the patriotic singalong. This validates my response to the July 2 Marist poll, which shocked some people with its finding that 40 percent of those polled between the ages of 18-29 didn't know from which country we won our independence. As usual, I see the glass as half-full or, in this case, 60 percent full. All it takes is a majority of voters to be intelligent and well-informed, and we save America!

Before watching the Pops on television, Chip and I watched the fireworks across Salem Harbor, down the street; an excellent display, thank you, Salem merchants! Such a great Fourth I was still in a very good mood when I received the above e-mail. Here is my response, which may remind you of a certain letter to Virginia at another holiday:

Dear Gabrielle,

Sad to say that in the Marist poll, 24 percent of people our age also didn't know from whom we won independence. Believe it or not, the best showing was baby boomers, with 79 percent responding correctly. Truth is, all throughout history, a lot of people have been ignorant and clueless in general. Yet life goes on.

Specifically to your concern, for the 234 years since the first Independence Day, there have been socialists and politicians who don't "get" the principles of the Declaration, the state of mind that has made America great.

All we need is those who paid enough attention to know whom we fought in 1776 to also know WHY we fought, and we'll be OK. We need a majority, this November, to fight not King George, but our monstrous national debt.

Meanwhile, the British, as well as other European countries, are realizing they must address their own debt problems. Yes, it's embarrassing to see President Obama trying to talk them out of fiscal restraint and urge them to spend even more, but trust me, Gabrielle, embarrassed Americans are people who will vote for someone else in 2012. They will also vote for many new congressmen in 2010. Maybe Dodd and Frank will soon be gone.

Interesting you should mention China. I was pregnant when the Red Chinese got the bomb, and feared that the child would grow up communist. He turned 46 last week, and the closest he's come to communist is voting Democrat. Meanwhile, also embarrassingly, the Chinese are lecturing us about our debt; and they're potential allies against fundamentalist Islam, which uses terrorism because it's not smart enough to match our technology in a real war.

America is having a few bad years, but I believe we can turn it around for your grandnephews and grandnieces, for my grandchildren.

You are not alone in your concerns, many people share them. Yet a healthy dose of optimism costs nothing and will inspire many voters to do what needs to be done, come the election. I trust we'll both be here to see it.


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.

More of Barbara's Columns