by Arthur Thomas IV

The “Contract with America” was the GOP document of promises in 1994. Almost two decades have passed and, the United States is still having the problems it always has. Now we have the ‘Pledge to America’, which is the ‘new’ Republican set of promises based on the old ones. This is their version of ‘hope’. They seem to be good at making the promises but when they get the power to do so they fall quite short.

When given the power, Republicans use it to grow government for their interests. Whether it is another bipartisan promise to reform education, in the No Child Left Behind Act, or attacking free speech in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, they have worked towards the same goals as Democrats.. When free to do as they will, our freedoms are attacked, as in the USA PATRIOT Act, which is used to detain US citizens without charge. By supporting the TARP Program, they take your money and fund corporatism which attacks the free-market ideas they claim to adhere to. The cycle of promises and backtracking upsets citizens to the point of creating blow back in the election cycles. This is why the Democrats keep getting back into power and why lobbyist continue having so much influence.

From the Drug War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Middle East hostilities, and the never ending War on Terror, Republicans have shown they are great at starting conflicts but incapable of getting out of them. They grow government with expansions in security agencies while having little understanding of security. We threatened more by the breaches of liberty and the dangers imposed by our government than really solving security concerns. The government puts troops overseas, spends your tax money on people that are not friendly to the US, and spends decades meddling in sovereign states that end up opposing us. Instead of being more secure, we are told to worry more and that the threats are growing. We are asked to spend billions of dollars and thousands of lives more with no apparent end to the threats.

Republican ideology has even created a battleground in our public schools. Special interests have tried to take control of textbooks and classrooms. Instead of standing on principle and giving parents full control of their children’s education, Republicans have fought for expanding government schools and allowed this battle to take place. Student, as future citizen voters, should not be held to the standards of any special interest. If the Republicans were acting on principles and free-market ideas they would be fighting for school choice and putting responsible power back into parents control. Their statements of small effective government and competitive private industry do not match their behavior.

Democrats were rightly blamed for one of the largest expansions into the medical industry ever. Where is the fight to repeal this? Why has the talk turned to reform and acceptance? Republicans blame Democrats for hurting the free-market of medicine while ignoring their expansion of Medicare. It is a bipolar example of Republican thinking. The free-market hypocrisy has to end.

They have given up the ideals of free-market long ago. They pull them out and wave them around at election time but jump right back into fund subsidies and corporatism. They bail out those they truly owe their allegiance to while claiming to work towards fiscal responsibility. They claim to work on fixing budget which is an issue they helped created. At best, they can only promise to ‘balance’ the budget in a few years thus giving future legislators a chance to spend at will when no one is watching. The promise is to fix social entitlements to make them sustainable, but wasn’t that the promise of their creation? If a government cannot maintain a program that has been historically abused then why would it maintain a ‘fix’ for that same program? Refusing the accept the limitations of government creates the fiscal irresponsibility that lead us to these issues in the first place. The GOP makes promises, even if in the best of intentions, that they simply cannot keep.

The Libertarian Party is made up of people that understand the principles of freedom and abilities of government. Isn’t it time to stop backing political whims and false promises and start standing for principle? We should not have to worry about the fears of a failing entitlement state or of giving up our liberty for the claims of being more secure. Nor should we sacrifice our personal value and hard work for fiscally irresponsible government.

The same policies have been recirculating for half a century. Every election has become ‘the most important election ever’ with the same ideas rehashed. The status quo can not stand. Libertarians are not here to tell you that we have a set of rules that will make a perfect world for you, but we have a set of principles that empower you to work towards your own ideals. It is time to stop waiting on the promises and pledges that never come from those who claim superiority in all matters. If you want a real difference in politics then don’t wait for them to change but realize that it is about you making a choice. A choice to not do what has been done for decades. A choice to put power back into your hands where it belongs.

A message from over 2 millennia ago: “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero

America was built upon the great principles that were learned from the enlightenment period and free thinkers before us. We refined the ideals of liberty and justice in a great document that has lasted beyond expectation but is slowly being worn down. There is no greatness that cannot be toppled by lack of principles and ignorance. It is time to reclaim all the greatness that liberty provides.