“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.” ~Barack Obama
We are now only two weeks past the 2012 election. Since then, every state in the country has residents who have submitted petitions for secession to the White House from the Union. Seven as of this writing have reached the 25,000 signers required for an official White House response. Over 700,000 have signed the petitions nationwide. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in opposition to portions of Obamacare, has stated its determination to, in the words of Conference president Cardinal Timothy Dolan, “not violate our consciences and not obey what we consider to be something immoral.” As the stock market continues to edge downward, numerous employers, forced to be pitted against their employees, have announced hiring freezes, employee work hour reductions, layoffs and other strategies to deal with the effects of Obamacare and likely tax increases in this dismal economic climate. Yes, there is only one United States of America. And it’s at war with itself. What’s Obama to do?
More, no doubt, of the same except with greater reckless abandon. The real question is, what are you going to do? If you believe that Obama’s re-election is a portent of things to come, then preparations are in order. “Hope for the best, plan for the worst” is a sound philosophy. Below are four suggestions Americans might want to seriously consider pursuing as the next four years further erode our economy, freedoms and our nation’s standing in the world with a few further ideas that, if successful, will hopefully render said preparations unnecessary.
The most critical goal to achieve is ridding yourself of debt and, going forward, to be as responsible as possible with your money. No mortgage, no car loans, no credit card balances, nothing, in short, hanging over your head that you are responsible to make a payment on every month. Such freedom underscores many other aspects of your continued security and liberty. From the loss of a job to the devaluation (or possible confiscation) of your savings and retirement funds, having no debt renders such situations merely tough rather than critical. It’s a hard suggestion to follow, and requires sacrifice and planning. It may also take years to fully realize as you pay even only a little extra each month towards your mortgage and perhaps also drive the same car for years longer than you had otherwise planned. But the sooner one gets started, the sooner one gets there.
That said, it is also important to plan for the future. Assume Social Security won’t be there for you. If it is, and for whatever reason, you like government taking 6.2 percent of your paycheck and forcing your employer to match that amount, then good for you. For the business-minded among us, it offers a poor return on your investment. But then, it isn’t really an investment, is it? It’s a tax. But I digress. The important thing is, if it isn’t there, for you to be prepared. In recent years certain European countries have had to make some hard decisions. Numerous schemes abound. Hungary, for example, offered its citizens a choice: “willingly” give their individual retirement savings to the state or lose the right to the basic state pension (while, of course, continuing to pay into the plan). France, Bulgaria, Poland and other nations have either considered similar plans or other alternatives as they explore ways to make good on the promises they have made. And Greece? Disaster is the only word that comes to mind.
“It won’t happen here” is hope and nothing more. “It could happen here” is a possibility. “It is likely to happen here” may be a stretch. But for those who have worked diligently over the years, faithfully contributing to their 401K’s, I would hope our government never finds itself in such a position as to need to consider such options. But if it does, will you be ready? As you ponder the implications of such a possibility, here is the second suggestion to prepare for your future: take out enough, despite the penalties and taxes, of your retirement to pay off your debt. It is more difficult for government to confiscate your house than your 401K funds. And if you have anything left in your 401K after that, it may be prudent to convert it into gold and/or silver and hide it in a very safe place. Further, though obviously in normal times the stock market should — over the long run — pay you a higher rate of return than mortgage interest would cost you, there is no guarantee under the environment created by our government that this trend will continue.
Americans have had it so good for so long that so-called doomsday scenarios are too frequently mocked. The German states and Prussia of the mid-18th century and going forward (eventually to become unified as simply “Germany”) produced numerous luminaries of the Enlightenment and, by the 20th century, was one of the most modern, wealthy, intellectual and relatively liberal powers of Europe. But after the outbreak of World War I and over the course of the next 30 years, Germany perpetrated one of the worst horrors in human history.
I would like to think we’ve advanced beyond such a lack of respect for human life. I would like to think that modern leaders are above pitting one group of people against another based on race, religion, sex or of creating a scapegoat out of a particular group to blame their problems on. And I would like to think that even if there are such leaders that the people themselves are sophisticated and informed enough to recognize such behavior for what it is and not blindly follow them as they moved forward with their plans. But what I would like and what history teaches are two different things. And no, I am not suggesting that Obama is the next Hitler. Not only is the idea crazy, but I emphatically reject it as his intention or even as a possibility.
America is still, after all, wealthy and powerful. But when that ceases to be, who can say how far we will fall and what agendas future leaders will pursue in preying upon what desperation may at that time exist? Therefore, the third suggestion Americans may want to consider is arming themselves to the teeth. Our Constitution guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms. Exercise that right… liberally. And, as an addendum to this suggestion goes the further recommendation to stock up on food and other necessities.
Fourth, take care of your body. Eat right, exercise, stop smoking and drink in moderation. While we do not know exactly what Obamacare will entail, questions abound. Will there be rationing? Will the quality of care decline? Will there be enough doctors? Will you be forced, ultimately, out of your current coverage? Unless you have blind faith in government, legitimate questions naturally arise when one party forces through any form of legislation — and especially such sweeping legislation as Obamacare — without a single vote from the other side.
Despite these suggestions, I do not ultimately believe that our future is hopeless. It may still be possible, with hard work, diligence, careful planning and persistence that we can turn our country away from the path it is currently on to a brighter tomorrow. While we should still strongly consider the above, here, then, are avenues worth consideration that will hopefully render the prior points moot.
Holding up Rosa Parks as a shining example, a woman who refused to capitulate to the degrading demand that she surrender her bus seat (and, ultimately, her right to sit wherever she wished), we must consider civil disobedience as a serious option. The more rights we surrender, the more government will happily take. And since a majority does not make one right, nor does it give them the justification to run over the minority, we must stand up and demand the freedoms so many Americans fought and died for over the years.
But it is not just enough to pursue this on an individual level. Businesses need to start ignoring harmful decrees from Washington. Drill on federal land, open the Keystone pipeline and disregard the other nonsense that threatens our economy. State governments, too, must lend their support by providing defense to organizations bold enough to stand up for their rights. States must also challenge the legality of everything harmful to America that comes out of Washington. If the courts rule against common sense, pursue nullification. And get your state house in order, so to speak, so you do not have to let the federal government use its power to withhold funds to dictate to states what they should do. We shouldn’t be addicted to those funds anyway. If you are being responsible, which is the example we need to set anyway, your state should be self-sufficient and need the federal government for only what it is intended and not as a great trough to belly up to and take what others were forced to surrender.
Next, do as much business as you can in red states. And if you live in a blue state, buy as many of the things you need online and from companies out of your state as possible to avoid paying sales tax. Above all, research who you buy from. If they contribute to Democrats, take your business elsewhere. Many have called for boycotting companies that plan to make cuts to employee hours to help offset the costs of Obamacare so, apparently, these sorts of suggestions are considered legitimate political tactics. Along these same lines, take as much advantage as you can of any legal means to lower your tax burden.
Pay attention to what your children learn in school. Review the books they are required to read. Do not let them be indoctrinated or to meekly accept any idea just because an authority figure suggests it is right or “truth.” Teach them the value of hard work, of honesty, of integrity and of charity.
Above all, fight for the concept of conservative principles and do not stand for any misrepresentation of our vision for America. Do not let anybody define us as something we are not: racists, sexists or any other such nonsense. Ours is a philosophy of individual freedom coupled with responsibility, of dignity for all, respect for life and of the right to create your own future. We do not use code words, and we do not hate or wish to subjugate anyone. We believe in religious freedom (of or from). We reject the malicious “war on women” slander. We must therefore fight the lies designed to turn the topic away from the real issues and put us on the defensive. And we also need to stand up for the reality of equal opportunity, not the impossibility of equal outcomes.
And, in the process, do not let anyone take from you your joy. After all, hatred isn’t our mantra, nor should it be. Conservatism is, rather, based on the love of country and your countrymen, of the love of life and of the love of what we take for granted at our own peril — our liberty.
Jeff O’Bryant is the author of “Up into the Hills – A Brief History of Catoosa County” and holds two degrees: a bachelor’s in education and a bachelor’s with honors in history. He can be contacted at email@example.com.