08.31.2010 0

Time to Get to Work

  • On: 09/01/2010 09:43:53
  • In: Elections
  • By Bill Wilson

    This past weekend saw another significant rally on the nation’s capital by the tea party movement, this time organized by FOX News host Glenn Beck. Estimates suggest that the event, billed the “Restoring Honor Rally,” drew hundreds of thousands of supporters, opposing the expansive role government has seized over the lives of millions of Americans.

    For what it set out to do, the event was a success. It sought to honor “our heroes, our heritage and our future.” It also was intended to be non-political, and speeches made at the event focused instead on patriotic and religious themes, praising the military, and “turning back to the values and principles that made us great,” which Beck said “can unite us.”

    For the sake of the nation and so those principles might endure, Beck said Americans “must discover them again.”

    Beck praised the “American experiment” in self-government, saying that the U.S. is “not just a country, it’s an idea, that man can rule himself.” Beck posed a choice to the American people, asking, “do we today say the experiment cannot work, [that] man must be ruled by someone?”

    Ultimately, the choice he posed is between two conditions of man: slavery, or liberty. To submit to an all-powerful government, or to accept responsibility for governing our own lives. “Do we no longer believe in the individual, and the power of the individual? Do we no longer believe in dreams, and the power of one person making a difference? I testify to you here and now: One man can change the world,” Beck declared.

    A powerful message, to say the least. How best to do so, however, how best to reclaim the nation and reinstate self-government, was not directly addressed by the rally or in Beck’s passionate plea for “faith, hope, and charity.”

    Rest assured, the means are indeed political, if even the rally was not. Americans who hope to restore a constitutional, limited form of government must participate in the nation’s political processes. They must continue to involve themselves with political primaries, in selecting candidates that best represent their values.

    They must volunteer their time and resources to those campaigns, knock on doors, help raise money, and make phone calls. And once the elections have passed in November, they must hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions, and be ever-vigilant in demanding policies that enhance liberty and limit government’s powers.

    They can never again be silent when government overreaches, as it surely will.

    The goals set out at Beck’s rally, and at thousands of other tea party rallies nationwide that have taken place, will not be accomplished without very specific actions on the part of hundreds of thousands of Americans — in political campaigns.

    Ultimately, 2010 is a test for the tea parties and other citizen activists — and an opportunity. Can their energy be directed to changing the administration of government in Washington? Can they persuade elected officials to rein in the national debt, to eliminate wasteful spending, to repeal harmful regulations and to stop raising taxes?

    Can they change who wields power?

    Time will tell, but what must be done by the people right now is not in Washington. It is in their local towns and communities nationwide. Beck was right to take a moment to reflect on what the nation stands for, but now it’s time to get to work. As he said, “It’s what we do from here that matters.”

    Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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