Virginia really has become a microcosm of what is happening in our Federal Government these days. It seems like with every new election we switch from one extreme to the other, completely polarized in a tug-of-war that essentially amounts to a stalemate over the long haul.
Here in Virginia our new Attorney General Mark Herring has made it clear he will not uphold the voter-approved ban on Gay Marriage even though Virginia has reaffirmed the definition of Marriage as being between one man and one woman, and for life. The liberals now have control of the Virginia Senate chamber and are all set to embrace Obama Care here via a huge Medicaid expansion. Our state is no longer the bastion of conservatism we once were. (The swing from red to blue to red again has rendered us purple. We’re just cancelling out one another’s votes here!)
Politics are not the whole answer, but we citizens have been given the means to influence government, and though our rights are being effaced more and more at every level (local, state, and federal) each day, simply throwing in the towel is not an option. As much as our leaders have let us down, and as much as we refuse to ignore that fact, I think that it is all the more important that we get in touch with those few who are still on the front lines taking a stand, to encourage and thank them. Randy Forbes is one guy working at the federal level that Virginians who hold dear their Judeo-Christian values can still depend on! I have a lot of respect for this guy! In his e-mail newsletter today he shared the following, which no doubt expresses the feelings of most average Americans these days:
By Congressman Randy Forbes
January 30, 2014
Years ago, I was with my family at the beach sitting several yards back from the water. Ahead of us near the shoreline, two small boys knelt down playing in the sand just inches from where the foamy cusp of the waves rescinded back into the ocean. The boys used red and yellow buckets, packing sand together and flipping them over into small mounds. They were “building” sandcastles…but mostly they just fought over the buckets and hit each other with their shovels. In fact, they spent more time snatching the buckets from each other than they did perfecting their architectural craft. As I watched these boys argue over how high to stack the sand and who was going to use the blue shovel, a wave much bigger than all the other waves came racing to the shore, crashing up over their shoulders and washing away every grain of their sandcastle. After the wave rescinded, they sat staring at each other and the small lumps of sand that remained, and they didn’t say word. I can imagine what they were thinking. Why did we spend so much time fighting over this sandcastle that we didn’t even see the wave coming?
Isn’t this Washington today? Spending quantities of time arguing about sandcastles without paying attention to the massive wave roaring towards the shoreline? Rather than working in consensus-building mode, Washington operates in spin-mode. Instead of gritty working sessions, Washington holds flashy press conferences. Rather than finding common ground, hours are spent crafting the most cutting sound bite.
But as Washington fights over buckets and shovels, major waves roar in on the horizon. Every moment spent bickering over castles in the sand threatens to wash away our very core beliefs and the things we have worked towards for hundreds of years. We could apply this analogy to any number of issues, but there are a few recent circumstances that are particularly telling.
While failing to resolve defense cuts under sequestration, waves threaten to wash away a core constitutional tenet to provide for a common defense. National security is at stake. While enormous amounts of resources are being used to convince Americans to buy into an unworkable program like Obamacare, waves wash away opportunities for medical discovery. America’s healthcare system is at stake. While focusing on short-term budget fixes and failing to address our ever-growing national debt, waves roll in, threatening America’s fiscal prosperity. Our nation’s economic stability is at stake. While Americans are chastised for standing publicly for their faith convictions, waves roar in threatening to knock over an important American pillar. Religious liberty is at stake.
“Isn’t it exhausting?” people often ask me. “Why would you want to be in such a messy environment like Washington today? Why is it even worth it to be a part of American politics?”
I never hesitate as I look them in the eye: because it is crucial that we get the politics right.
They are right – Washington is messy. In many ways, it’s not working. American politics has become defined by the bickering, the sleight of hand tactics, and the jabs. Politics has become the thing we abhor instead of the very catalyst to create the best possible future for our nation.
However, John Adams once said, “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
The nature of politics in Washington needs to change, and not merely because it’s exhausting to listen to politicians argue over buckets and shovels. It needs to change in order to have the best possible future for our nation.
To get the political part right, we need those who are willing to fight for America, rather than themselves. We need individuals who are willing to make themselves and our government smaller so national interests can be made greater. We need leaders who realize the vulnerability of our political system and why it is so important to fight for it.
If we don’t get the political part of it right, all of it – medicine, infrastructure, commerce, technology, discovery, security, liberty – gets washed away. Our Founding Fathers didn’t work to create our democracy because they thought they would win the talking point wars, or because political life was glamorous or popular. They did it because they believed that it was crucial to fight for a concept called freedom and to build a nation that was, as Thomas Jefferson said, the greatest hope of the world.