By COL. Rick Powell
In this last primary, I ran for Congress of the 52nd Congressional District and, although I didn’t win the primary, I do not regret the effort, for it was a personal win for me. The real disappointment wasn’t in my loss, for I am supporting a candidate who I believe wants to and will serve the people, but in what I learned about the American voter, the American citizen and the total dismissal of the political process by our citizens. I learned that most people really don’t care who is in office, I mean really care.
As an American citizen, I do fear for my nation and I have disdain for most of our leadership in Congress who no longer represents us. They, with certainty, are far more interested in preserving their job, promoting themselves within their own party and their special interest groups ala: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc.
But more than Congress, I found that my disdain was for the American People.
Not all of course, but most. Why? Because you are sheep! I have listened to people complain about Congress, your taxes, your unemployment, your dialing #1 for English, your gas prices and the loss of your home. You blame everyone but yourself.
Who do you think is responsible? You are and you do nothing about it, just continue on, following the bell of the leadership! It is your vote that allows people to serve in Congress and it is Congress that writes the laws and spends our money.
When I was campaigning, I offered to talk about my position to a man who held his arms up as if to repel an assault. He wanted to know nothing about me as a candidate. Now this man is going to vote and yet doesn’t want to know who he is voting for — absolute stupidity. He will probably be the biggest complainer on his block about Congress.
It was your VOTE, or in a lot of cases, your NON-VOTE that put these people in office. You sheepishly continue to re-elect the same people to Congress that you complain about. Don’t you get it?
Think! America, think!
Most of you think that you have done your duty when you stand in a booth and put a check mark in a little box. You even get to wear a little sticker that says “I voted.” In fact, you are playing craps with our freedom, because most of you really have absolutely no idea who or what you are voting for. You don’t take a few minutes or at the most a few hours to really look at the candidates and what they really stand for. Most Americans listen to the political rhetoric or to television and then make their decisions on who repeatedly tells them something that sounds good, regardless of truth or lies or even the possibilities.
The 18th century American philosopher, William James, wrote, “There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it.”
He understood well how the mere repetition of an idea or message, be it true or false, has power.
Our freedoms and our sovereignty are being threatened. Our “unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is being threatened by politicians who want to give what you have worked for to those who don’t deserve it. Our country is bankrupt with inordinate expenditures, rising deficit and lower production and the threat of higher taxes, and yet most of you ignore it.
Many say the economy is the No. 1 issue. Are you all nuts? The economy is cyclic and has been since the beginning of our country. Yes, it is tough right now, but in a couple of years we will be back on track.
Anyone remember 9/11? National security must be our No. 1 issue. There are terrorist organizations that are going to try and kill us. Another attack or a few attacks like what we experienced will really cause you economic problems, not to mention the American lives and property loss.
Get your head out of the sand. Terrorists are planning on hitting us again. We are in a war on terror.
The rhetoric flies: Change, Change and Change, but beware of Change. What we want is change for the better. Who is really going to give that to you? Do you really know?
We were a people of ideals, free thinkers, a people who fought for liberties, no tax without representation, individual rights and the freedom to prosper, to have whatever life we wanted if we were willing to work for it.
Now, we are people who know less about our own country than a new naturalized citizen. We are a people who don’t know or even care about the sacrifices of our forefathers for the freedom we have, those who died before us in pursuit of liberty and individual rights; those who died before us to protect the sovereignty and the union of this nation and those who will die to keep us safe from our enemies.
What our leadership gives us today is a nation divided in culture, language and allegiance. Their promise to us is the taking from those who have worked and giving to those who do not or those who should not be here. They take from us our individual rights, our sovereignty, our “One Nation Under God,” The Pledge of Allegiance, and prayer.
Are we now a people who blindly, like sheep, follow our “leaders”? Sheep led to slaughter with no fight for what is right? Are we sheep blinded by the lights of Hollywood or deafened by the sounds of well-written rhetoric? Are you followers of politicians who would sell their soul and this democracy for power and greed? A lot of politicians are banking on it.
INDEPENDENTS, citing a different plan or claiming to be independent of the Republican and Democratic parties, may be the biggest sheep of all for you hold your fists high in defiance and then place your vote where it will have no effect on the outcome of this election, the future of this country. You will then taunt your independence and blame the Republicans and Democrats for the wrongs of this nation. I say this: It is easy to wage war and claim personal victory from afar, for there is no stain of blood or sweat from conflict.
Let me be clear. I am not advocating no Independent party, but until it is strong enough to be a real contender, then you must take sides and cast your vote where it best represents your desires for this nation. Give your party real power, make your vote count, and make your voice known.
For the sake of this nation, do something powerful.
STUDENTS — the educated sheep. Many, again not all, know very little of the price paid to give you the ability to go to school. You notice I said ability, not right. You know not the history of sacrifice, or understand the high cost of freedom which is taken for granted. Oh, and don’t talk to me about how educated you are, the lowest in the industrialized world.
There, you now have a cause, a good, no, a great cause, education that is competitive or better than the rest of the world. With all of the research material on campus, most of you couldn’t tell me one thing about the candidates’ tax plan except what you are told by someone else. Will the tax plan hurt your parents, who for the most part have made it possible for you to go to school? Will your vote hurt and diminish the opportunity for people, yourself included, to become great and prosper? Do you really know the answer or are you part of a herd, manipulated onto a path by others.
Am I angry? Yes, but I pause at what I have written. Perhaps I expect too much. You see, I expected as much from the American Voter as I did from the young Marines and Soldiers that I have served with in numerous conflicts.
They were young men and women who were willing to give so much for so little. Their reward, sometimes, only a small white marker in a field of green surrounded by markers similar in kind. There they lay among others who understood service, honor and sacrifice. This is in contrast to most Americans who take what we have for granted, wanting so much but giving so little.
“No longer do I live among leaders and warriors for independence and liberty, but among sheep that blindly follow the bell of shepherds.”
President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
Do something for your country: Think before you vote! Don’t be sheep!
Col. Rick Powell, a Ramona resident, is a retired federal agent with military service in Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom.