But I also have disgust at what I see going on in the political realm - and that's a bad thing.
I know exactly how so many people feel when they see what counts for 'action' by our governments at all levels and it is eerily reminiscent of the feelings I felt while in office .... that efforts are for naught.
Don't get me wrong - I'm very encouraged by a lot of things: good candidates with firm philosophies and not various 'positions' on issues; a growing awareness of the impact political decisions being made have on individual freedom; the enthusiastic embrace of limited government/low spending approaches by many individuals regardless of political party, etc...
But sometimes, the idiocy or 'stuck on stupid' things just really get to me.
We've seen Toledo City Council and the Lucas County Commissioners spending time on non-binding 'statements' opposing a state for a law greatly supported not only by their own residents but by a majority of Americans as well.
Considering all the polls on the issue, I can't help but think these elected officials are violating the wishes of their own constituents, but that's nothing new. They were catering to a specific small-but-vocal group of interests that they believe they need to placate.
We've seen the news that Ohio is facing huge budget deficits for the next year and that our governor is again hoping one-time money from the feds (actually from all of us) will get him by. State Auditor Mary Taylor warned everyone in the last budget go-round that relying upon one-time 'stimulus' funds was a recipe for bigger problems in the future - and she was absolutely right. Why the idiots in Columbus cannot see that, I don't know.
And then I heard on the news yesterday that Gov. Strickland has asked his departments and agencies to let him know the negative impacts a 10% budget cut would have. That's the most WRONG question to ask! You ask them how they can cut their budget, not how bad things could be if they are forced to do so.
I don't know why it is that politicians never want to ask the questions that will actually give them the answers they need. They always ask 'what don't you want cut,' knowing full well that every little group that benefits from the spending will show up to say 'don't cut my program.' We see that in Toledo and Lucas County, too.
Instead, they should be asking 'what can you live without'? With that type of question, you'll at least get a listing of programs, projects, etc...that people can do without as opposed to the ones they don't want to give up, regardless of priority.
So what will Strickland get as a response to his request? He'll get a bunch of doom-and-gloom scenarios as bureaucrats list the most dire consequences of a cut in funds. He'll then end up in a no-win situation if he and the state legislature make the cuts that we all know need to be made.
We've seen President Barack Obama give 'stimulus' funds to a foreign company that is setting up shop in Michigan. Where is the outrage from all the 'buy America' people?
I despise the idea of any 'stimulus' coming from the government in terms of handouts to companies while that same government simultaneously increases taxes and regulatory compliances. Talk about contradictory! We're supposed to be ever so grateful for the meager government largess while ignoring that they're making us less profitable by requirements/fees/rules/taxes/etc... that add much, much more to the cost of doing business. That's not the way to 'stimulate' the economy.
And while that is a huge thing, it's nowhere near the double standard so evident in the action. If providing subsidies to foreign companies is a bad thing, then it's a bad thing even when Democrats or Pres. Obama do it. If groups are pushing a 'buy American' approach, they need to be vocal when American tax dollars are going to a foreign company in Michigan. And if they're not going to object to this particular expenditure, they cannot object to others.
Most people can live with either position - or at least agree to disagree. But when the criteria for comments or outrage is not the principle, but whichever political party is engaged in the act, the American people see it for what it is and reject the hypocrisy. (I hope.)
We've also seen the slippery slope in full effect. Many people have rightly complained that when government pays for things, it insists upon making decisions relating to those monies. We see it with the states: impose certain laws or forgo the money we're planning to give you.
As the federal government moved into the realm of health care, they made promises about us still being in control, but many of us knew it was only a matter of time. If government is paying for your medical care, it won't be long until they're dictating your eating and exercise habits under the guise of 'containing costs' for your care.
The White House chef is now a 'senior policy advisor' to the White House so he can advise us on an 'epidemic' of obesity. I always thought an epidemic was some sort of infectious disease that spreads among the populace. Who knew that your own actions (or lack thereof) could qualify?!? So now obesity is a matter of 'national security' and legislatures are trying to figure out how to control things you eat like salt and trans-fats and junk food.
Oh - let me clarify. They're not yet trying to make YOU stop eating things that are bad for you (though they are requiring a reporting of your Body Mass Index to them by 2014). They realize that if they tell you that you can no longer eat too much salt (even though 'too much' is a large range that varies from person to person), you'll rebel. So they're telling food manufacturers that THEY can't include salt in their products - and they're doing so through force of law.
It is a slippery slope and we are gliding down it at a very fast pace, approaching an even steeper incline.
So with all these things going on it's easy to just bury oneself in work, family and things like mowing the lawn. But, as Wendell Phillips once said:
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty — power is ever stealing from the many to the few…. The hand entrusted with power becomes … the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity.