03.09.2015 1

Fighting for America

By Rick Manning

chamberlainAmerica is too important to give up on.

That’s why those who are distraught over the failure of the Republican majority in Congress to do their duty and stop President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty need to follow Taylor Swift’s advice and “shake it off.”

Yes, we have reason to feel betrayed, but that is no reason to walk away.

Our nation is at an unprecedented time of peril. Liberty itself is under attack from enemies both around the world and within, and the road to restoring America’s greatness is longer and harder than all but a few have anticipated. One election won’t solve the problem that took decades to create.

When a student council at the University of California at Irvine, located in the heart of Orange County, California, voted to take down the American flag from areas on its campus, because it is offensive to some, that decision is the result of an education system dedicated to anti-American indoctrination.

Rather than solely depending upon Congress to do something helpful, the people need to take back over their local school boards and demand that their state governments reject the far left curricula that pervades the system. This is not only about stopping Common Core, because those UCI students and others like them throughout the nation never took a Common Core class. It is about getting involved at the state and local levels of government, and fixing an education system that all-too-often pours national, suicidal poison in our children’s ears.

At the federal level, the expectation that this Congress would be able to do great things over the remaining 18 months of Obama’s term has never really existed. But it is reasonable to expect that they won’t do anything else that does harm to the country.

This means that when the debt ceiling is reached in the next week, it should not be expected that Congress will wrest spending cuts out of the President in exchange for raising it. Given the reality that the President is willing to hit the debt ceiling and make random cuts in expenditures to meet revenue flows, it would be wise for Congress to just extend it into 2017, when Obama will presumably be gone.

The individual appropriations bills provide opportunities for Republicans to make changes using the rider process, where funds to individual Obama policies can be altered or cut off altogether. The President might or might not veto the funding legislation depending upon what else it contains, but this process has the potential to rein in some last-year-in-office Executive Branch shenanigans.

Congress can also refuse to reauthorize certain Big Government programs like the Export-Import Bank, which provides federal government-guaranteed loans to foreign companies and countries who purchase American-made products. The irony of this government bank is that it provides foreign companies a competitive cost advantage over U.S.-based corporations who are buying the exact same product from the same seller. The beauty of the situation with the Export-Import Bank is that if Congress does nothing, the Ex-Im Bank goes away.

Similarly, Congress can simply just say no to the President’s request that he get fast track trade authority that would lower the constitutional threshold for ratifying a treaty from two-thirds to a simple majority in both Houses. Once again, Congress just needs to not act, and any treaty presented to them by this President will be subjected to full and complete scrutiny, rather than being ramrodded through as occurs under fast track.

It is normal to get frustrated when a foundational legislative battle like the one over executive amnesty is lost. However, at a time when I feel that the limited government position is about to be overrun, I remember the story of Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg.

Chamberlain led his contingent of Mainers at the end of the Union line, known as Little Round Top. If the Confederates had taken his position, the entire Union position would have been compromised. Rebuffing attack after attack, Chamberlain was down to 70 men, and low on ammunition. Too low to be able to withstand another charge, yet hundreds of Rebels once again came surging up the hill.

The former school teacher who led the Maine contingent seemingly had three choices: surrender, retreat, or die. He made none of these. Instead, he gathered his men, fixed bayonets and charged down the hill at the approaching Southern attackers. Shocked, his foes surrendered en masse, and many historians credit Chamberlain’s unorthodox action with being the key to the Union’s victory at Gettysburg, and ultimately their victory in the War Between the States.

Chamberlain did not bemoan his situation, get depressed, or give up. He did something to change his circumstances.

Today, supporters of limited government see a Congress that cannot be trusted to fight for their values and concerns. The temptation is to surrender or retreat, but a free America is too important to passively let it slip away. So, like Chamberlain, now is the time to charge.

Go to the elected officials who disappointed you and encourage them to fight for those things they campaigned on doing. If they are too small for the task, find a replacement for them. Get involved at your local school board level, read your kids’ or grandkids’ textbooks, and help them learn the greatness that is America.

The future can be bright, or not. Ultimately, the question is what kind of America do we want to leave future generations, and that is too important of a decision to leave up to politicians alone.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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