Friday, March 18, 2011

"If they win a victory, they follow it up at once, and if they suffer a defeat, they scarcely fall back at all."
The Debate at Sparta
The History of the Peloponnesian War
Thucydides, 432 B.C.

The Corinthians were seeking help from their allies, the Spartans. The year was 432 B.C. Threatened by the Athenians, the Corinthians presented their case to the Spartan assembly warning of the relentless determination of their Athenian foes: "...if they suffer a defeat, they scarcely fall back at all."

In November of 2010, the Republicans won a a landslide victory in the U.S. Congress and in State Houses around the country handing an historic defeat to Democrats. Virtually every state, except for California rejected the destructive policies of the Pelosi-Reid Congress and endorsed a more socially and fiscally conservative agenda. In other words, the majority of Americans expressed through their vote a desire for a return to a Constitutionally based government. Months later the mood has not shifted. Polls continue to indicate a national lurch right or, perhaps, more accurately a return to the Foundational principles of our Republic.

Yet since the election, the Democrats, for the most part have not fallen back and respected the wishes of the American people, rather they have dug in. The President has defied two court orders to allow off-shore drilling and continues to prohibit the drilling of oil off the coast of the Gulf states, eliminating thousands of jobs for hardworking Americans and further increasing our dependence on foreign oil sources precisely when we should be ramping up production in the Gulf and, yes I'll say it, ANWR in the interest of national security and sound economic policy. Though gas prices have increased markedly in recent months, the President has yet to comply with the courts while unemployment and inflation threaten many American families and most especially those oil rig workers he forced into unemployment.

Our porous borders--particularly in Arizona--continue to place our citizens at risk and the President's response is not to enforce the law by beefing up border security but to sue the state of Arizona for passing a law requiring enforcement of an already existing federal illegal immigration law. Meanwhile murders continue in southern Arizona and a well worn copy of a book on jihad is found in the Arizona desert. Secure borders are a matter of national security, not merely a politically correct debate on immigration policy. If Mexican drug lords know our borders are open, does not Al Quaeda know the same?

ObamaCare is the most egregious act of defiance yet. Judge Roger Vinson, a federal judge in Pensacola, Florida in a 78 page ruling effectively declared ObamaCare unconstitutional. The Administration continued to implement the law for a month before the judge threatened an injunction unless they appealed his ruling in seven days. They have done so but continue to fund the law to the tune of billions of dollars. Each passing day, despite the voice of the American people, a repeal by the new Congress and two rulings by federal judges striking down the Constitutionality of the law, we move one step closer to losing our health care freedom.

Dug in. No retreat. They will not fall back. No budget in place for this fiscal year as Congress spends with no accountability. Debt accumulating like poker chips. Public unions demanding ever more from the tax payer coffers.

And we won the election. Some things, despite the passing of 2,400 years, never change.


Monday, March 7, 2011


"Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous. "

Pericles' Funeral Oration to the Athenians

Oh for courageous leaders. For a president who would stand up and say enough is enough, we will not spend beyond our means any longer: Read my Budget!

For a Congress that would enforce the difficult fiscal decisions. Cut through the fat, reduce funding of voluntary programs, spend responsibly. Reduce the unwieldy size of government.

For a judiciary that would enforce the Constitution rather than re-write it.

For leaders who are also adults. Who eat their broccoli before the creme brulee. Who are man and woman enough to stand up to short-term disapproval in order to make the right decisions for the nation, for the long term.

And for a citizenry like the Athenians Pericles describes: this is a peculiarity of ours: we do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all.

It is a time-proven tenet that ultimately people get what they deserve. Is it possible through our complacency we have indeed obtained the leaders we deserve? Let's hope that is not the case, that it is not too late to reverse the tide and through our interest in and engagement of the issues elect the kind of leaders America truly deserves. That our children and their children deserve.

It seems to me the least we can do. To have the courage to leave this country a little better than we found it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Obama's Mettle

This semester I have the privilege of teaching a collegiate seminar of the Great Books. We just completed Thucydides' account of the "The Debate at Sparta and Declaration of War" from his History of the Peloponnesian War.

There is a reason the study of this work has long been considered the foundation of classical education. Our culture seems to have lost a thirst for the Great Books, unless of course we can digest them on screen in Hollywood extravaganzas like Troy which are often loosely, to say the least, based on the actual text.

During the Debate at Sparta, the Corinthians were presenting their grievances against Athens to their allies, the Spartans. ...the likeliest way of securing peace is this: only to use one's power in the cause of justice, but to make it perfectly plain that one is resolved not to tolerate aggression.

Sound advice we would do well to consider as our servicemen are gunned down at airports by Islamic extremists, our soldiers are gunned down on our own army base in Texas by an Islamic extremist and our citizens are held captive and murdered on their own vessel by Somali Pirates. Our response has been muted through each of these hostile, aggressive acts. Our response, frankly, has been absolutely shameful.

The Corinthians understood what Sparta didn't: that Athens was a determined and patient foe. ...they gradually encroach upon their neighbors. Now they are proceeding slowly because they think your insensitiveness to the situation enables them to go on their way unnoticed; you will find that they will develop their full strength once they realize that you do see what is happening and are still doing nothing to prevent it (emphasis mine).

Joe Biden told us during the election that our "young president" would be tested and we would wonder at his response. From the New York Post, October 21, 2008:

"Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.
And he's going to need help . . . to stand with him. Because it's not going to be apparent initially; it's not going to be apparent that we're right."

For once I agree with ole Joe. It is CLEARLY not apparent that "we're right." The Corinthians, however did understand the role of government in protecting her citizens: to use power in the cause of justice and to make it perfectly plain to our enemies that we will not tolerate aggression.

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