Time To Pare Back Government

Posted on Sun 10/13/2013 by


20130613_TomMcLaughlin_at_CPAC_2010By Tom McLaughlin ~20131010_RonaldReaganGovernmentsFirstDuty_large

Been spending a lot of time up on a ladder lately, scraping and painting. State and federal regulations dictate that only the homeowner may scrape, repair and paint over any house built before 1978 unless he’s willing to fork over lots of money to a government-licensed contractor. That contractor would have to take needlessly-extensive, government-required measures which drive up costs enormously because our South Portland house was built in 1920 and could, therefore, have lead paint on it. It’s covered with aluminum siding except for window frames and soffits, but it has a hip roof and a two-foot overhang all around that I don’t think had been painted for thirty years. There was a lot of scraping to do.

When I told my wife that I’d be doing it she pressured me to hire someone. “You’re too old to be going up that high,” she said. “You should get my brother to do it.” When I pointed out that her brother is three years older than me she said, “Yeah, but he does it all the time.” Still, he’s a painting contractor without the special license the feds require and he’d be liable to a huge fine if he were caught working on our house. So, I did it myself.

It’s mindless work, and I spent several days high up there to think about how much I resented our huge, intrusive government. Then I used my iPod to listen to talk radio, specifically Rush Limbaugh and Howie Carr on the local WGAN AM. On Sundays they broadcast audio from NBC’s “Meet The Press” followed by ABC’s “This Week,” both of which parroted Democrat spin on why the federal government was shutting down. I’d listened to Limbaugh and Carr excoriate Democrats and praise Senator Ted Cruz as he railed against our huge federal bureaucracy. The more I listened, the angrier I got. Trouble is, the streaming signal cut out every ten minutes or so. I couldn’t reset it without reaching into my pocket and manipulating the iPod and my hands were full. One held the scraper or paintbrush and the other held tight to the ladder twenty-five feet up.

So, I switched to downloaded audiobooks which didn’t cut out. I listened to a biography of Saint Paul, then “Intellectuals and Society” by Thomas Sowell, and finally David Stewart’s “Summer of 1787,” this last about the men who gathered in Philadelphia and created our government. Stewart relied on James Madison’s accounts of how state delegates took special pains to limit federal government power. Here it was 226 years later and federal power was out of control. That’s why I was up on the ladder.

The more I listened, the more pissed I got. Delegates agreed that all money bills had to begin in the House, which most closely represented the people – more than the Senate. They called it “The People’s House” and intended that it check and balance the power of both the Senate and the President. If those entities wanted something to pass the House, they had to negotiate. Under Harry Reid and Barack Obama, however, they were refusing. The Mainstream Media – especially David Gregory and George Stephanopoulos – were either ignorant of how the Constitution came to be, or they were willfully misrepresenting the shutdown by repeating Democrat talking points.

I finally finished the job and last Saturday my wife wanted to explore a smokey quartz mine on New Hampshire’s Moat Mountain. Driving over there, it occurred to me that it was in the White Mountain National Forest and the National Park Service had been shutting down access to parks. They had barricaded the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC – an open-access facility that previously anyone could walk into 24-7. They closed highway pull-offs from which people could view Mount Rushmore. They even tried to close off access to the ocean in Florida. All this to follow an Obama Administration directive that they make the shutdown as painful as possible for ordinary citizens. And closing the National Mall to citizens and then opening it up to illegal aliens to demonstrate? That’s going to piss off a lot of Americans. So I’m thinking: what if we get over there and they tell me the National Forest is closed? Well, I decided, then there’s going to be some civil disobedience perpetrated by yours truly.

But it wasn’t necessary. Going up an access road, I noticed a ranger’s SUV behind me so I stopped in the middle of the road, walked back, and asked him if the mine was nearby. The uniformed young man behind the wheel smiled and said, “You’re headed in the right direction.” Then he told me to take a left at the next fork which would take me to the trailhead. A nice kid.

After hearing about those WWII vets that went through government barricades in Washington, DC last week, I was ready to do something similar. Something is brewing out there. Can you feel it?

Contributing Editor   is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.

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