Sunday, May 2, 2010

Taking a look at the ICaucus in Kansas

Note: This was written by a friend of mine. Though he is referring specifically to Kansas issues, and the details may differ, similar problems can be found in nearly every one of the fifty states. Those of us in Kansas consider ourselves very fortunate to have a man of Larry's caliber as our state iCaucus director.

Like the vast majority of you I was not an active participant in the political process prior to the 2008 election. Of course I voted and talked to people about the elections and candidates but more on a casual basis.

I can remember sitting around the dinner table years previous trying to talk to the family about political matters only to see their eyes glaze over rather rapidly. It was not a subject matter that would induce a great deal of discussion and usually lead to calls for an early nap. I suspect this was probably a common experience around a lot of tables. Like most people I assumed, incorrectly, that the conversations could wait and that surely those we elected were very busy watching out for our best interest.

How many of us in the recent past would have looked at the makeup of our Kansas House and Senate and just naturally assumed that we were in good shape with the apparent conservative majority in control of both chambers. The past year has provided quite the eye opener to this false assumption. Despite the conservative platform to restrain government spending, spending at the state level continues to rise. Despite the conservative platform to not raise taxes, taxes at the state level continue to rise. Despite a failing public education system, spending in this area continues to rise, over forty percent in the past five years. Despite declining revenue from business taxes, increasing unemployment with the loss of nearly 70,000 private sector jobs state wide, state government and government employment continues to grow. And, despite a professed belief in individual liberty and limited government intrusion in our lives the marauders of personal liberty masquerading in the state house stepped on private business, failed to secure our tenth amendment rights or even pass a meaningful non binding resolution and denied our citizens the right to choose if they would allow their health care to be dictated by an even more diabolical and all consuming federal government. Yep, this big tent deal is really working out well for Kansas.

And, where is the Republican Party during this masquerade session and why are these not so conservative and really quite progressive Senators and Representatives wearing the party logo to begin with? This big tent is more like a cheap carnival in which our citizens should not expect any greater odds of winning. I suggested a while back to the consternation of more than a few in the local area that the Republican Party is such in Name Only and really represents the old Democrat and Republican Party combined, especially when you consider the Democrat Party of today no longer represents the Party many of our parents and grandparents belonged to and many of us could at least tolerate. Today they are really chomping at the bit to proclaim their socialist beliefs and have recently become less constrained in the public arena even in that regard. I think the answer lies in the party desire to retain power (influence) at any cost and we now see Democrats serving as supposed Republicans. It is a deceitful reality at best, damn near criminal, and should require that they wear a visible disclaimer across their forehead that would alert the average Kansan to the fact that they are not what they appear to be. Ok, maybe just a special blue jacket with a fancy red fringe would do.

We have all watched over the past year as the Republican Party first dismissed us and stood at a double arms length away from us when we began to voice our opinions at the local and national level. As we came to recognize the danger and a threat to our liberty we rushed toward the fire in growing numbers with only superficial participation of most party insiders and elected officials. Actually, the Party seemed to consider us as just a bunch of adolescents that would need to be herded in some fashion or the other to a remote corner of the tent (if room could be found). To be fair, there were a few (very few) politicians that actually stood at once and took a prominent place on the fire line. However, time and the approaching election (come on November) brings about those miraculous conversions one would only associate with a tent revival or a Sunday morning healing at one of the televised super centers. We should take care not to be smitten by yet another illusion.

So where does the Independence Caucus fit into this discussion? For me personally, I see the ICaucus as an opportunity for average citizens to become informed about the candidates vying for their vote. I see it as an opportunity for the average citizen to determine for themselves which candidate will receive that vote without the corrupted and compromised, power driven, win at any cost, party influence. The ICaucus provides Kansans the opportunity to ignore the televised campaign infomercials and still step into the voting booth with confidence that their candidate can be located on the ballot with or without the customary party initial next to their name. In practical terms, the Independence Caucus provides Kansans the opportunity to interview the candidate for the job we are hiring them to do. But perhaps most importantly, the Independence Caucus provides our Kansas citizens the opportunity to participate and meet their personal responsibility, as tasked by our Founders, with regard to their governance. If you have had enough or you are just befuddled and do not know where else to turn then perhaps the Independence Caucus would be a good start.

One or more have asked in pointed terms if the Independence Caucus is a “Miracle or Myth”. I suspect time will tell. However, given the choice of continuing down the same old path, with the same worn out promises (we will fix it this time) and our same old gullible expectations that just bring about more of the same, I will cast my lot with the Independence Caucus. However it did or did not work elsewhere is of less importance as to how it works here in Kansas. I would suggest that the relevance or impact of the Independence Caucus in Kansas politics sits squarely in our laps and depends solely on what we make of the opportunity. We can adapt, improvise and overcome the obstacles placed in our way or succumb to the petty ridicule of others or those fearful of losing their entrenched status and power. This time the choice is ours or more specifically yours.

Certainly we have our work cut out for us. Our membership growth depends on the message each of us carries to our neighbors and they in turn carry to others. We are not driven by corporate sponsorship nor supported by federal grants, our energy is our own to expend. Our Founders left us a simple guide in simple language. We need only follow it. It is not negotiable but it is amendable.

Before I go, I want to apologize for the revivalist and super center comparisons to political conversions. I do not believe the spending habits of a drunken sailor should be compared to the political pros either. I am well aware of God’s work in my life and my own life’s experiences are enough to convince me that I am only here today by his grace with the specific mission of standing for my posterity. Some twenty one and a half years ago, following my last drink and with little expectation that faith in a power greater than myself would restore me to sanity a loving but hard old sponsor suggested that if I didn’t have faith that I should just act like I did, until it did, so I did. I think these are Patrick Henry days and again I do not know if I posses Patrick’s bravery so I think I will just act like I do until I do. Like those days long ago it would be a tad easier if there was someone to stand with. Hope to see you in the Independence Caucus. or


No comments:

Post a Comment