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07.31.2009 0

Moderate Discourse: The Jailer of Freedom?

  • On: 08/10/2009 09:56:46
  • In: Conservative Movement
  • By David Bozeman

    Bill O’Reilly continues his harangue that conservatives should just drop the Obama birth certificate controversy. Dennis Miller recently advised that Republicans should just let Sotomayor sail through confirmation, since she is replacing a liberal anyway, and we don’t want to alienate Hispanics. And, Juan Williams chided conservatives for “going after” Sotomayor and labeling her a racist.

    Does anyone notice a pattern here? American political discourse is about as deep as a birdbath. Most conservatives try to launch serious national debates on serious issues, occasionally even gaining traction. But the voices from the town square keep nagging us, like pesky little do-gooders: “You can’t say that!”

    In 2008, of course, candidate John McCain tiptoed around Barack Obama’s ties to radicals. Colin Powell, who, by the way, supported Obama, recently appeared on Larry King Live, battling Rush Limbaugh for the title of de facto voice of the GOP because he (Powell) considers Rush too “strident.”.

    In this week’s National Review cover story, Maggie Gallagher notes that conservative radio hosts are nervous about discussing gay marriage. Few, if any, have rallied support for fellow host Michael Savage, either, who has been banned from England solely for his political speech. Didn’t conservative talk radio used to be afraid of nothing?

    The fact is, political debate in this country today has become cautious and uninspiring. Most of us long to hear the conservative extremists of the liberals’ imaginations, having suffered the excruciating congeniality of Bob Dole, President Bush 43, John McCain and the litany of commentators tiptoeing around the peripheries of any given issue. A number of fine commentators and writers breathe fire, but it is the base the is propelling modern conservatism.

    The most rousing words from the Monday night news shows were clips of town hall meetings, particularly one from Philadelphia where a woman confronted Sen. Arlen Specter and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (and I’m paraphrasing): “Medicare and Social Security are going broke, cash-for-clunkers is a joke, and yet you expect us to trust you with our health care.” What her words lacked in originality, she more than made up for with conviction.

    Other town-hallers mention the Constitution and the proper role of government, which means they get it. A common lament is that nastiness and mudslinging are ruining our political process. And, while that may not be entirely untrue, a greater harm is a citizenry lulled into complacency by flat, predictable dialogue. And “Complacency,” as John Kennedy warned, “is the jailer of freedom.”

    Our founders knew it. And the American people, now waking up with a vengeance, know it, too. It’s time for our “leaders” to start hearing – and heeding – their “followers.”

    David Bozeman is a contributing writer for Americans for Limited Government’s Liberty Features Syndicate.

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