Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Soft Tyranny Is Still Tyranny: Will More Americans No Longer Genuflect To The Political Class?

The shutdown is hurting everyone.  Michelle Obama told fat kids, "You're on your own. Eat a Happy Meal. I don't care."...Leno

  • Most of my family grew up either under the Nazis or Communists in Poland. Some were killed.  Fortunately for me, my parents had the guts to leave and come to America when I was two years old. Subsequently I had the unique opportunity to visit Poland on several occasions while it was still under the Communist hammer. I also visited the country on other occasions when it was free of the tyrannical chains of Communism.
  • I only bring this to your attention because I want to be careful when I use language like "tyranny" or "despotism" when referring to this administration and current government. Instead I've often relied on referring to this administration and Congress as bullies. Perhaps "bullies" remains a more appropriate description of what we've been witnessing over the last few years, especially in the last 6 months of sequestration and the government shutdown.
  • However, I find myself leaning more toward a soft tyranny when describing the recent actions of our government. During my visits to Eastern Europe,  I personally experienced many restrictions and limits under the Communists (e.g. control of food prices producing food shortages resulting in long lines just to get some food followed by food riots, restrictions on freedom of movement, suspension of civil rights, economic stagnation, secret police surveillance, etc.). But even under Communism, if you knew how to "work the system" and if you befriended the right people, you could get by. For example, under Communism, I quickly found out that the American dollar could open many doors for me. In most cases, I never had to wait on those long food lines to get some good meat. As long as I produced an American buck, I was able to purchase anything I wanted because merchants withheld the better stuff for those with dollars. When I went shopping for a pair of shoes, I was able to get my size and color. The locals, on the other hand who didn't have other currency, were faced with racks of brown shoes all size 13.
  • Fortunately most of Eastern Europe eventually refused to genuflect to the political class as they unleashed themselves from Russia's tyranny.
  • I started to think about my experience in Eastern Europe in contrast to what our own government did this week when it restricted WWII veterans to their own memorial. Just as disturbing, there have been reports of people arrested and/or fined for jogging in some of our national parks (why not send those Park Rangers to the Southern border and arrest real criminals?). In other words, this government has restricted our movement to monuments, memorials and national parks that belong to us.
  • But it doesn't end there. Recall what I just wrote about having friends under Communism. In case you have not heard the news yet---while our veterans and millions of other Americans have been excluded from visiting national parks and their own memorials in D.C.,---this government will be allowing an "immigration reform rally" at the National Mall tomorrow. That's right. As usual, this administration is picking and choosing which rule and laws they want to obey. In fact, there are reports that at least 30 members of Congress will be attending the rally including Botoxed Nancy Pelosi.
  • So does this make a government tyrannical? No, not in isolation it doesn't. But when one observes and experiences all of the restrictions---especially those placed on ordinary Americans and those in the middle class over the last 5 years---a "soft" tyranny comes to mind. But "soft" tyranny is still tyranny. Unfortunately for America, there are still many Americans who continue to genuflect to the political class. But, as I look around the room today, I see many more slowing rising up to their feet.