As voters across the nation head to the polls today, I am reminded of an excellent Ventura County (CA) Star column I saw during the run-up to the elections. The article argues that elections do matter, and that there are fundamental choices voters must make regarding the nature and purpose of government that will affect the nation's future path. The following is an excerpt from the column.
While I agree with author Terry Paulson on the importance of such fundamental questions about the proper role of government, and have been encouraged by the movement of so many people across the country calling for returning to fiscal responsibility, minimizing the size and scope of government, and maximizing individual liberty, I am not as optimistic that the differences between the two main parties are so stark, or that either of them, with Tea Party support or not, will help get us back on the right path.
It will take much more than some political rallies and a single election to roll back generations of government entitlements, dependency, bailouts, wars, and countless usurpations of personal freedoms. Remember that it took all of a year and a half or so before those of the "Republic Revolution" of 1994 abandoned their professed principles. It was those "limited government conservatives" that not only failed to reduce the size of government, but actually grew it, such as when they substantially increased the Department of Education's budget. It was those "free-market supporters" who increased the minimum wage. That was about the time I gave up on the Republican Party, as I realized that it had abandoned me and the principles for which it claimed to fight.
If the Republicans, backed by those who believe in advancing free enterprise and limiting government, win big today as expected and again fail to deliver on their promises, it could damage the party for many years. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, as that disillusionment might allow more people to see that both major parties are actually big-government parties, and that more significant change is needed to slay the government Leviathan. If, as I suspect, there is another Republican letdown, let us hope that advocates of liberty are not overly discouraged, and react by redoubling their efforts to fight for the right to live their lives free from the yoke of government programs and other violations of individual liberties.