By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Another election cycle and I ask myself will anything change?  I keep hoping that Americans will finally wake up and “get it,” but I don’t allow myself high hopes because they’ve been dashed so many times before.

Because of early voting, Americans are now going to the polls long before Election Day on November 4th, 2014.  Early voting was instituted to increase participation in democracy which perhaps was stifled by crowds on Election Day.  Historically only about half of Americans exercise their civic duty and vote.  I understand the concept and agree with early voting, but perhaps I believe it lasts far too long.  Voting by an educated and engaged citizenry is a privilege and a prerequisite of freedom; and it is our duty.  Thomas Jefferson once said that “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”  I wonder if this still holds true?  The “Belt-Way Boys” don’t seem to  believe the people can be trusted with government.  The TV man-on-the-street interviews aren’t funny anymore; these oblivious “citizens” disgust me.

Former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill once famously said, “All politics is local,” and to a certain extent I agree.  However, in our complex society we are not insulated from the policies in Washington or events in the world.  Last week President Obama nationalized the election by stating his policies are on the ballots, though he is not.  In Knoxville we will vote on local issues, such as the sale of wine  in grocery stores, and on various amendments to Tennessee’s state constitution.  But, we will also choose Congressional representatives who support or oppose Obama-care, the President’s amnesty and immigration policies as well as his foreign policy and border politics.

In a representative republic voting is our most important civic duty.  However, some might agree with Hillary Clinton who infamously asked, “What difference does it make?”  If any of you doubt the importance of registering your opinion, or don’t want to waste your time becoming informed and standing in line to participate in self-government, you should consider the following issues of our time: the scourge of ISIS and terrorism, even in Canada; the collapse of Iraq after our withdrawal; Iran’s nuclear program; Putin’s invasion of Crimea and the Ukraine; Ebola and our government’s terrible management; illegal immigration and the amnesty question; our struggling economy with record numbers of unemployed (or partially employed) as well as record numbers on food stamps; the dishonest and dysfunctional government with the politicization of the IRS and more than a “smidgeon of corruption,” as well as deficit spending, and the apparent “pajama boys” running the CDC.

How can the President and our leaders be so wrong about everything?  And is there a way out of this mess and our national malaise?  The reason we’re in a mess is because our leaders are driven by their ideology and their pursuit of power.  Many of them don’t believe in American exceptionalism, or just pay lip service to this concept that made our nation the world’s beacon of freedom and opportunity.  Becky and I don’t watch weekly TV shows.  The exception is Netflix’s House of Cards, which depicts the power game of Washington politics.  If you want to understand what the people are up against, watch this Netflix series.

The murders of two Canadian soldiers by terrorists and followers of Mohammedism has shocked our northern neighbor.  The mayor of Ottawa said his city of one million is normally a safe place with only four murders this year, a contrast to Chicago’s daily slaughter.  The media experts now tell us that western countries must accept the “new norm” of nut-jobs exploited and turned radical by perverse philosophy.  Furthermore, in the looney politically correct world of modern liberalism we must allow them to roam free until they decide to exercise their demons and kill.  The politically correct crowd maintains we should be tolerant and avoid bigotry and common sense, even if it kills us.

Recently, I saw an interview with a Somali man who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  His explanation for radicalization in an affluent country like ours intrigued me.  He believes radicalization becomes more likely when immigrants have difficulties achieving the American Dream.  If I understand this leader of his community, a poor economy aids recruitment, especially of those who are at the margins of society.  A similar effect occurs with gangs.  Perhaps radical Islam is the “coolest” gang these days.  Case in point are the three Denver Somali teenage girls who recently tried to fly to Syria to join ISIS and were collared in Frankfurt, Germany.

A friend of mine told me he was sure I would be audited by the IRS because of my pointed opposition to the liberal-Democrat-progressive philosophy which now runs our government and controls the media.  So be it.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to freedom.   Twenty-five percent of the signers died during the Revolutionary War, others lost children and many were financially ruined by the war which established our country.  “Freedom is not free,” is the inscription on the Korean War Memorial in Washington.  No, it is not, as our soldiers are sent to Africa, the Middle East and around the world risking their lives for us.  How can I not speak up against tyranny?

As a Constitutionalist I believe in the rule of law, and I am doing my homework so that I will understand and then lawfully register my opinion by voting.  I will not shirk my duties as a citizen.

Twenty-five hundred years ago Socrates confronted tyranny.  He was tried on trumped up charges and convicted of treason for not honoring the gods of Athens and corrupting the minds of the Athenian youth.  Sentenced to death his followers offered to help him escape.  He said in so many words, “No, this is my country and and I will not leave it.”  I feel the same.  And though it breaks my heart to see America transformed by Obama and his acolytes, it is here that I will make my stand.