As the second summer of Obama’s reign kicks off I find myself taking stock of the country’s current situation. The United States I grew up in always felt secure, always felt like a land of opportunity. I grew up watching neighborhoods pop-up overnight, huge technological leaps and perhaps most importantly watching my dad start and build his company. Growth and optimism surrounded me. My parents never closed a door to me. I could pursue any goal I put my mind to and success was only limited by how hard I worked. As a child I also remember times of great turbulence—the USS Cole, Kosovo, Clinton’s affair, the Palestinian/Israeli’s on-going conflict and even the Gulf War. As I approached High School the contested 2000 election created more uncertainty, only to be shortly followed by an earth-shattering terrorist attack. Yet, I still knew the United States would prevail. I had faith in the community, trust in our leadership (Democrat and Republican) and belief in our American system. Unfortunately, over the last few months my unshakeable American optimism has eroded through quickening progress away from what I believe are our fundamental traditions.
I see this “progression” in current events. Let me give an example and how it demonstrates our nation’s increasingly unstable position. Possibly most glaring example is the Gulf Coast oil spill. As I sit in a hotel room on the Mississippi shoreline I’m surrounded by ads for class-action lawsuits and dramatic news stories. These stories highlight the human tragedy, but as the leak enters its 8th week there seems to be no end in sight. I’ve seen the government “take control” of the situation, supposedly pushing BP aside, to fix this mess. I’ve heard the threats to keep a “boot on the throat of BP.” But what does this rhetoric accomplish? Does the federal government have more equipment or knowledge to deal with this crisis than one of the largest oil companies in the world? I argue they don’t and this feigned control doesn’t accomplish anything; on the contrary, I think the government is not only hurting the efforts, but actually exacerbating the problem. First, Louisiana’s governor was delayed in taking actions to protect the coast because the Federal government waited too long to approve his request for sand banks. But why did it take the government so long? It was busy using this crisis to further an anti-drilling, business killing agenda. With ever louder shouts to take over BP (a foreign-owned corporation) and a moratorium stopping all deep water drilling in the Gulf, the federal government is hampering the recovery, destroying a company and crushing an entire economy. By “taking control” of the clean-up BP must move at the speed of bureaucracy. The moratorium threatens to crush the remaining jobs in the Gulf Coast that have survived the loss of tourism, the oil industry and its support structure. But it’s the call to nationalize that really scare me. Taking over BP will not help recoup the Gulf, neither will meddling with its dividend payments. This talk only lowers their stock values, thus lowering available capital to make reparations. Beyond that, what right does the federal government EVER have to seize the assets of a company, especially one from another country, and take control? If we allow it in this instance, albeit an extreme disaster, what company (or worse, sector) will it be next time? This is outrageous! Can anyone truly argue there is not a movement towards socialism, especially from one side of the isle? I know Rosie O’Donnell isn’t exactly a democratic politician or policy setter, but she sympathizes with the Left and I have yet to hear any liberal politician disagreeing. She had this to say, “Seize their assets today…Issue and Executive order…call it socialism, call it communism, call it anything you want.” At least someone is finally saying what’s going on. Finally, they’re calling it what it is.
Here is the underlying message in all this rambling about an admittedly terrible catastrophe. Through all the turmoil of my lifetime I always knew America stood for personal freedom and opportunity. I knew American optimism would overcome any problems, because it was unbridled and left to its own measures to succeed. Now we have a government more committed to furthering a political agenda than cleaning up the Gulf, using this leak as an opportunity to shut down drilling and push cap and tax legislation. Beyond an obvious tax increase this legislation gives the EPA broad powers to create mandates and laws. It’s a move further away from personal freedom and capitalism. Then there’s the blatant push for socialism in the calls to take over BP’s American assets. I feel as if our nation is teetering on the brink, standing at the ledge. We can carry on with the current course and fall off the cliff, or we can take a step back and move back towards our roots. If we fall over that ledge the chances of our return to prosperity diminish, in fact we will continue into a dark crevasse as we move away from personal liberty and towards serfdom. America will move closer to tyranny and other global powers will take our position on the global stage. As a kid I knew we would prevail because we remembered what made America great, where our exceptionalism came from, I still had a chance to live the American dream, just like my dad had. Today the winds of socialism are blowing, unfortunately we don’t have a Reagan to stand in the breech for us, we’ll have to fight socialism in our own country. The crisis in the Gulf has exposed the left’s ultimate goal and we must come ready for a fight. It is that realization I have come to, the realization we are teetering on the brink that terrifies me. So get ready and arm yourself, our nation depends on it.