The revolution at home
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If we are experiencing "climate change," I think I know why: The earth has tilted on its axis.

Watching the political shows Sunday morning, I saw a reversal of the magnetic political field. In the past, fiscal conservatives argued for spending and borrowing limits; liberals snarled the question/demand "Where would you cut?"

The conservatives would try to respond in the limited available time, knowing that any suggestion would be considered an assault on literacy, justice and handicapped puppies.

But this week, the liberals who objected to budget cuts/reforms were challenged by television moderators with the question/demand "Where would YOU cut"? while conservatives smiled (George Will) or smirked (Bill Kristol). I myself laughed with delight - because the default assumption in all discussions was this simple, unarguable fact: There will be cuts, because there's no more money.

No more for the traditional annual increases in everything, including the share automatically allowed for waste, inefficiency, patronage, buying votes and corruption. No more for the joy of spending at the expense of future generations and the very near future of the economy. No more for unaffordable pay raises and unsustainable benefits, not a cent for tribute to the barbarian union pirates.

So it is now understood by almost everyone: Cuts will be made. The only question is, how much right now, and how much later? And where?

Democrat leaders argue for their agreement to cut the rate of increase. But on this swiftly tilted planet, the natives know that this is not a real cut, just more spending of money that we don't have. The Democrats offer to spend at this year's level; but the natives now realize that there is no money for this year's level since much of this year's level of spending came from borrowed money that we have to borrow to pay the interest on. This is insane. And one way or another, it's over.

The Republicans, bolstered by the Tea Party, will begin to stop it now with their own package of real cuts, and a refusal to raise the national debt limit againagainagain; or, it will be over in the very near future when it all collapses on top of the handicapped puppies.

All across the nation, concerned Americans are gathering to save the puppies, save vital services, save the economy, save the country, save the parts of the world that depend on this country's survival. They are joining the Tea Party. They are electing governors like New Jersey's Chris Christie and Wisconsin's Scott Walker, then backing them as they take on the public employee union leaders who wag their vestigial tails and howl the eternal "union-busting" into the uncaring wind.

Listen, feel! New winds of change are blowing, across the tilted planet plains.

Some say that we shouldn't compare our citizen revolution here, with its relative lack of immediate danger, with the powerful revolutions occurring in the Middle East, but as I watched both foreign and domestic events unfolding I thought, revolt is revolt, though it takes more raw courage in some places.

Because of our great good fortune at being Americans, with a very big country far removed from really hostile nations, abundant though declining natural resources, a citizen-protective Constitution and a tradition of freedom, we have margin for a little bit more error before our past errors catch up with us and cause real damage. Revolutionaries in some other countries are risking their lives and what little they may own to stand up to heavily armed power, which in some places they are facing with raised shoes.

I cheer for them and relate to them, even if they aren't really like me at all. It occurred to me recently that my life-long assumption, that most human beings are the same, underneath, may be illusion if not delusion. Maybe they just want more food, better shelter, nicer shoes to throw.

Decades ago, I met young people from Soviet eastern-bloc countries in Amsterdam's Dam Square, who just wanted American blue jeans and rock & roll. I still believe that this desire for our denim and our music helped drive the fall of the Soviet Union.

Back then our Levis were made here and our music wasn't obscenity-filled rap. I'm no longer sure that most Americans are like me either. Is freedom their highest value? And is life not worth living without it, except to fight for it? Do they know there is no security without freedom, no freedom without personal responsibility and some moral restraint?

Do most Americans understand they're not born entitled to a free lunch? Do they borrow only for essential major purchases and emergencies, care about their grandchildren more than their Social Security COLAs, respect those who pay their salaries instead of using collective bargaining to rip us off? Vote for the best candidate regardless of his race, and pay enough attention to know who is the best candidate? Are they willing to stand up for what they believe?

I'm not perfect, but I'm right. And soon we'll find out if there are enough people like me to win the revolution, as the planet tilts.

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.

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