I’m channeling a little Jimmy Buffet today thinking about his song A Pirate Looks at Forty. I know, given what I typically write you must be thinking I’ve finally lost it. But the song is one of my favorites and has a great line. You can listen to the song here, but this is the line.
“Yes, I am a pirate. Two hundred years too late. Canons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder. I’m an over forty victim of fate. Arriving too late. Arriving too late.”
Well I’ll be looking at fifty in a couple years and will simply say I’m a blessed man. I have a beautiful wife and five children. I make a good living. Indeed, I am fortunate to have been blessed by God for what I have in life. I have also made so many mistakes and poor decisions I’ve lost track of them. I’m about as imperfect a person that exists on this earth. I can live with that. Perhaps Mark Kreslins is insightful when he refers to me as semi-competent.
I’ll add that I often feel I’ve arrived too late. Not because I’m a pirate. Nor do I wish to plunder. It would be pretty cool to have a canon though. I’ve arrived too late because I think I’m a relic in today’s political landscape. A middle-aged man holding on to principles so near and dear to my heart that I am disheartened so few of my fellow countrymen treasure and cherish the ideals set forth by our founding.
If the Declaration of Independence were written today the founders would be ridiculed and demagogued by the main stream media and other political operatives from both parties. The Declaration established the original American Dream. That dream was not to own a house. The dream was not to claim the property of others with the government acting as the third party agent executing the transaction.
The original American Dream was to simply have an opportunity to live your life free of rulers, tyrants, and despots. To live a life free of oppression. To be free to worship as you wish or not worship at all. To be secure in your person and your possessions. To be free to pursue whatever you want to do in life. To associate with whom you choose. To transact in commerce freely with others for the mutual benefit of both parties. To enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. The absolute right of property.
Undeniably, these ideals have faded like a well-worn pair of blue jeans. Individual responsibility has been abrogated to government and political parties. Liberties have been trampled. Freedom is no longer a priority. Instead, liberty is freely traded for the false sense of security and entitlement. Security that can never be provided nor an entitlement that any person has a rightful claim to. A moral decay is rotting the country from the inside out.
A few short years ago I had an epiphany. I realized that government, in all its machinations, is not and cannot look out for my interests, rights, or liberty. Government was instituted by man to protect our unalienable rights, liberty, and property. That is the purpose and the end of good government. In exchange, the people consented to government certain limited powers to better protect our unalienable rights. The people, through their states, created a Constitution establishing a limited government.
Elected official were expected to govern, not to rule. Congressmen are agents of the people with certain limited powers enumerated in Article I Section VIII of the Constitution. As agents they are to act as our fiduciaries and public trustees. As agents they do not have the powers delegated to them to then abrogate their responsibilities to the executive branch, agencies in the executive branch, or to the judiciary. Likewise, the executive – the President – has absolutely no authority to act outside the constraints placed upon him or her under the Constitution. Lastly, the judiciary was never intended to be the final arbiter and ruler on all things Constitutional, much less legislate from the bench.
As I said early, I believe I’ve arrived too late. In one aspect that applies to me epiphany a few years ago. During the healthcare town hall meetings in 2009 I was preparing signs. My five year old son asked me what I was doing. I replied, “I’m trying to fight for your rights and liberty so you can grow up and live freely.” The questioning about that went back and forth, but with a five year old it can’t go that far.
Two months later while I was working on a U.S. Senate campaign it dawned on me I gave my son a cowardly answer. It came to me one night why I answered my son that way. The truthful answer is when I’m having a conversation 20, 30, or 40 years from now with my adult children or grandchildren and they ask me “Dad or Granddad, what happened back then?” In my reply I’d explain it to them. Then they’d ask me “What did you do about it?” In my reply I’d say “I voted against it”. When they stare at me with that puzzled look and say “that’s it! That’s all you did” I couldn’t live with myself. It was at that time that I realized I had to do something.
So, that is what got me started. I realize I’ve arrived quite late to the party. But I also realize I have a duty, an obligation, to myself, my family, my children and my grandchildren.
The other aspect of arriving too late is that I often feel I would have been quite at home if I were living during the revolutionary period. When Jimmy Buffet said “two hundred years too late”… I feel like I should have been here in the colonies a couple hundred years or so ago. It would have fit me well, like a well-worn pair of blue jeans.
Hopefully, each of you will look within yourselves and have an epiphany. To rationalize what it is you must do for yourself, your family, and your posterity. It is truly up to you. If you choose to not engage I will share with you a favorite quote from Sam Adams. Adams said, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.“