Sunday, February 11, 2018

Even best president* no role model

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 10, 2018.
*Their words, not mine! I don't write the headlines.)

When Ronald Reagan began his first successful run for president, I wasn't quite old enough to vote. I liked what he said and I put a Reagan campaign sticker on my car.

During his first term, I felt Reagan did a good job as president, and I voted for him in the next election. Then he did something unforgivable: he colluded with Congress to further regulate guns.

This was one of the main reasons I had never supported the other side. Gun laws were a non-negotiable betrayal in my book. Being young and naive, I hadn't educated myself about Reagan's anti-gun history in California. I just took people's word that he was on the side of less government power and meddling. He said the right things, but failed to live up to them.

It was a rude shock; one I have never forgotten.

I reluctantly supported Republicans for several more years, but kept noticing they acted just like the guys I was counting on them to stop as soon as they got into office. Continually infringing on gun ownership and other matters of individual rights.

I began to notice other troubling things. I value liberty-- the ability to exercise the rights all humans possess. Even the politicians who claimed to be on my side were scared of liberty. They wanted it in a box, carefully monitored. They understood it was the natural enemy of government. They kept stabbing me in the back as soon as it was convenient. The politicians I didn't support never even pretended to be on my side.

What was a man to do?

I grew up. I stopped looking to politicians as role models or moral examples. I came to realize they were concerned with getting elected, and frequently with imposing an agenda they and their supporters wanted, whether it was good for people or not. Anti-liberty laws are never good for people, even when people foolishly believe they are.

Beyond that I came to realize the politician doesn't matter because the system is rigged to destroy individual liberty. Government is part of the problem, not the solution. You can't fix it by electing a different person to a position which shouldn't exist, to do things no one has a right to do. The problem is too deep. The solution is individual responsibility, not politics.

The realization was very liberating. It was also just the beginning of freeing myself. I should be grateful to Ronald Reagan for the betrayal which first opened my eyes.

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