Complain about it.
I can remember sitting on the couch bemoaning my increasing girth. Oh sure, every once in a while I would get really disgusted with myself and run a few days in a row, or create some kind of workout regimen. I generally followed up the exercise session with a donut, or maybe a sausage and egg biscuit from McDonald’s, and then more complaining. It never lasted very long either – those bursts of workout mania. After a week or two, my disgust would revert back to apathy and I returned to the couch – with more complaining
And of course, I got bigger.
It wasn’t until I got really serious and made a true commitment to change my lifestyle that I lost any weight. Open heart surgery for a genetic defect jumpstarted my lifestyle change. A week on a cardiac wing will do that to you. I realized I didn’t want the future so many of my fellow patients in the hospital were living. Watching men and women in their 50s struggling just to walk across a room jolted me out of my stupor. I suddenly discovered enthusiasm for getting in shape and maintaining a healthier diet.
But make no mistake, it took a lot of work, self-sacrifice and determination. No more donuts, at least not on a regular basis. No more trips to Mickey D’s. Hard work in the gym and at the track. Every day.
British historian Arnold J. Toynbee said, “Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.”
It took enthusiasm to rouse me from my complacency and motivate me to start taking care of myself. After recovering from my surgery, the ideal of healthy living took my imagination by storm. I developed a plan – diet and exercise. Then I went to work. Sure enough, the weight eventually came off.
Most American’s approach politics in much the same way I approached weight loss in my early 30s – sit on the couch and complain. Every once in a while, they may get up and fire off a letter to a senator, or throw a sign up in the yard supporting a presidential candidate. But after that little burst of energy, back to the couch for the latest episode of American Idol, or the next big basketball game.
And the government gets bigger.
Most American’s recognize Washington D.C. as a problem. Recent polling indicates a majority of Americans view an ever more powerful federal government as a threat. But Washington D.C. will never change itself. That’s a little like expecting a baby to hop up and change its own diaper. Every parent knows that infant will wallow in her own filth until the end of time until somebody comes along and changes that soiled diaper.
It’s time for the American people to change some diapers. But that will never happen while you sit on the couch watching TV. The federal government won’t change just because you write a letter to your congressman one day when you feel particularly irked. D.C. won’t shrink just because you vote one bum out, making way for a new bum.
The states hold the key to reigning in an overreaching federal government. James Madison said states “have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”
But state representatives won’t do squat until we the people insist. We can argue for principles like nullification until we turn blue in the face, but our states won’t act without prompting. Citizens have the opportunity to exercise much more influence over state legislators and executives than they do over federal officials hundreds of miles away in D.C. We live in our state officials’ neighborhoods, our kids go to the same schools as their kids and we shop in the same stores.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get to work.
The greatest danger to our liberty doesn’t reside in the White House, nor does it roam the corridors of on Capitol Hill office buildings.
Apathy stands the greatest threat to our liberty.
We’ve got the ideal – the Tenth Amendment. We’ve got the intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice – nullification. But we need help.
We need people to step up and support the work of the Tenth Amendment Center financially. We can’t educate and lobby without funds. We can’t maintain a website and put on events without a reliable flow of cash. And while we’re on the subject, I am extremely limited in what I can do for TAC because I work a full-time job. Even so, our organization has managed to create a high level of visibility on the national stage. We’ve had information from our press releases find its way into major newspapers and radio and TV broadcasts. I had the opportunity last year to speak before a joint congressional committee. Imagine what we could do if I could dedicate my full attention to TAC? It staggers my imagination sometimes.
But even more than that, we need workers. We need volunteers to go out and get involved in their states, lobbying their representatives, pushing legislation, campaigning for candidates who will uphold the principles of the Constitution and stand up to federal overreach. We need volunteers to attend meetings and educate people on the Constitution. We need workers to organize groups, write letters to the editor, blog, make videos and track legislation.
We need people to do work.
Will you consider volunteering? Washington D.C. will not fix itself. And you can’t rely on politicians. It’s up to you!
“The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” -Samuel Adams
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