Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reflections on the Liberty Rally

I have been energized and encouraged by the reemergence of the conservative movement as exemplified by Tea Parties and Town Hall protest. It seems the movement is growing by leaps and bounds and new organizations and websites are popping up all over the place. The 9/12 march on Washington may have been the largest march in over forty years. There is an energy in the air.

I share the same concerns as others in this grass roots uprising and feel a part of it. I am concerned about the government takeover of much of the financial sector, the auto industry and the attempt to nationalize health care; and, the ballooning national debt; and, the rule by Congressional unconfirmed “Czars”; and, the attempt to move the census bureau to the white house; and, the attempt to abolish the secrete ballot in unionization decisions; and, the attempt to gain power to commandeer the Internet and attempt to curtail free speech on talk radio.

Last night I attended a “liberty rally” in Nashville. I was looking forward to it and was pleased the Liberty Tour was making a stop in Nashville. If not for being out of town today to attend a wedding, I would be partaking in some of the workshops being put on by the organizations sponsoring the Liberty Tour.

I enjoyed the rally but at the same time felt a little unease. Dr. Bob Basso, who portrays Thomas Paine in numerous YouTube videos and personal appearances across the country was the primary spokesman for this event and preformed or spoke for about 45 minutes. He entered the hall from the back and made his way through the crowd in a path cleared for him by security. He was dressed in a revolutionary era custom and the revolutionary era melody of flute and drum music accompanied his move to the stage. He was entertaining. He interwove revolutionary war events and history with current events and issues.

I agreed with most of what he had to say. I cheered also. I also want to throw the bums out. I want to reduce the size of government, etc. etc. I want to “take my country back.” However, I have reservations about some of Basso’s performance. Near the beginning of his performance, Basso said something to this effect: “I have been called a community organiser and to a certain extend I guess I am but,” and here he paused and reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper and held it up and said, “I am a community organiser with a birth certificate.” The audience cheered. Pardon me; I am not going there.

Later in his performance, he nearly advocated secession and resistance to paying taxes. Some of the people in this nation tried that secession thing about a hundred and forty years ago and it didn’t work out so well that time. I am not joining a call for secession. As far as not paying taxes, I am not sure how you do that with payroll deduction in place and anyway I don’t want to see the inside of a jail cell. That is too extreme for me.

I accept that sometimes rhetoric is overblown and excessive. I realize that any popular movement is going to have its extremist fringe. The labor movement, the antiwar movement, and civil rights movement had Communist party members active in those movements. The environmentalist movement has those who spike trees in order to injure loggers and they have people who sit fires to Hummers. The extreme does not define the movement. I accept that in any movement there are those who will push the envelope. I also realize that those who are critics of the movement will seize on the worst examples of excess and attempt to discredit the movement.

I left the event early, not out of disgust but because it was 7:30 and I had not had dinner. I left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was pleased to see a large turnout to oppose what is happening in this country. I was pleased to be in the company of like-minded people. On the other hand, I thought maybe they are not “like-minded people"; maybe they are too extreme for my taste. I was also disappointed because I feel that if the extremism is not curtailed the movement will be discredited.

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  1. Folks who hide taxable income from the US thieves are heroes. Secession is the answer.

  2. Hubby found this today. I thought of your blog.

  3. Great post..Like your opinions..

  4. I think it's interesting your list of issues, and agree with some, and find others confusing for their inclusion:

    "I am concerned about the government takeover of much of the financial sector, the auto industry and the attempt to nationalize health care; and, the ballooning national debt; and, the rule by Congressional unconfirmed “Czars”; and, the attempt to move the census bureau to the white house; and, the attempt to abolish the secrete ballot in unionization decisions; and, the attempt to gain power to commandeer the Internet and attempt to curtail free speech on talk radio."

    The financial bailout, I assume you mean TARP, is very complicated to me, as I don't have a financial background. But it seems to me that when the *Bush* administration and Congress pushed TARP through it was to infuse capital into a disastrous financial environment to keep a huge depression from happening. I don't know how that becomes a "takeover". Does the government now directly approve all investments made or loans made? Also, it was *Bush* who used TARP for the auto-bailouts. So was there any names mentioned at the rally for the blame for those actions? I wonder who it was...

    And making a public option is not nationalizing healthcare. It's one plan, managed by the government, and made available to the publis. It just competes as a non-profit with the likely-collusionary insurance industry. Hell, social security and medicare (including the added, costly, and unfunded prescription drug benefit added under *Bush*) are all socialized, using the broad definition if you will, and the VA is government run healthcare...Were those part of the protest as well?

    As for the national debt and "czar" situation, you can take that back to Reagan I think, who started them both, with his Cold War spending and drug czar appointee. And they only propagated under later administrations. I don't know what Clinton did to make a surplus appear, again, I don't know the financial ins-and-outs very well, but I tend to wonder if that was actually all "paper" surpluses, not actually money left in...Regardless, it was again Bush who spent a ton of money fighting a war without reasonable cause or reasonable intelligence that has driven a huge amount of debt up. The war spending wasn't (isn't?) even listed as a budget item, so its practically invisible to the laymen voter! Oh and as for czars, since Bush had a few more than Obama does, and some of those were Congress-approved, some are carryover, and some don't even have power, just advisory roles...what the issue all of a sudden?

    As for the census issue, I can't find much about it since earler this year. Here's what I did find:
    " a February 5 statement, [White House Spokesman] LaBolt stated that the White House planned to "return" to the "model" of the "historic precedent for the director of the Census, who works for the commerce secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management." During a February 6 briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked whether the White House had "moved the control of the Census Bureau into the White House for the purposes of the 2010 census." Gibbs stated: "No. ... I think the historical precedent of this is there's a director of the census that works for the Secretary of Commerce, the President, and also works closely with the White House, to ensure a timely and accurate count. And that's what we have in this instance." Moreover, LaBolt reportedly said on February 11, "This administration has not proposed removing the census from the Department of Commerce and the same congressional committees that had oversight during the previous administration will retain that authority."

    I don't what the issue is with this...worries about minorities getting too much money, over representing their populace in a forged census, and thus more allocations of money that are based on population? Can you explain the issue and its practicality?

    more to come...

  5. Following....

    The supposed elimination of the union secret ballot is also clear to me to be a real distortion of the facts, but maybe I missed something. From my research, it seems that "The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the National Labor Relations Board election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply enables workers to also form a union through majority sign-up if a majority prefers that method to the NLRB election process. Under current law, workers may only use the majority sign-up process if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act would make that choice -- whether to use the NLRB election process or majority sign-up -- a majority choice of the employees, not the employer."

    I don't know about commandeering the internet during a crisis...sometimes if national security calls for using private property (think along the lines of property annexing, a despicable practice when just given to corporations for "commercial development"!). This scares me a little too...

    But the whole bugaboo about supposedly curtailing free speech on talk radio? Man, you let the fringe set the agenda on that one! There is no current legislation being considered for this, no one would vote for it, and it would never pass. Sure, some have talked about reinvigorating an equal-time law, or dreamed of days gone by when it was the law of the land, but really, you worry about it? And this whole post was about how the fringe/extremist side of the right-wing is possibly affecting the reputation of the whole. I suppose you don't want that, yet you seem to have tarnished the reputation the "librul" movement with the fringe we have...

  6. Rod, I agree with your comments. The whole "Birther" movement is simply outrageous to me and detrimental for conservatives to be associated with them.