Tomorrow is Election Day! It’s time for citizens to evaluate their representatives and decide who to retain and who to fire. Judging by the expressions of anger and disappointment by many Americans, there will probably be some significant personnel changes this time around. Some may feel optimism about this, but I’m not so hopeful. Politicians are politicians, and I worry that, despite the resurgence of conservative talking points this election season, the newly hired representatives as well as those who are retained will resume spending outrageous sums of money, and regulating and taxing us.
Discovering that your candidate of choice fooled you with flowery campaign speeches is a painful experience. It feels like buyer’s remorse, except you can’t just return the candidate to customer service for a refund. You will probably be stuck with him/her for the whole term of office. It is even worse to learn that although your candidate voted the way you thought he/she would, the precedent set by your candidate’s votes has paved the way for disastrous policy decisions in the future.
What voters need to remember as they go to the polls is that this struggle is not between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals; this is a struggle between the government and the people. There is a natural sentiment in favor of liberty. People want to be free. The political parties understand this, so to distract from the real issues and to prevent real change, whichever party is out of power complains about the other’s abuse of power and expansion of government.
During George Bush’s presidency this took the form of Democrat criticism of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the complaints about expansion of executive power. Both of these were legitimate points of concern, but since the Democrats have gained power the wars have dragged on and executive power has continued to expand. They want to give the President a kill switch for the internet for crying out loud! On the other side of the coin, Republicans now protest the ballooning national debt, oppressive healthcare laws, and other intrusions into privacy and liberty. But has their track record for fiscal responsibility and civil liberties been any better?
It should be obvious, but when we get caught up in the heat of political struggle and party warfare, we lose sight of the fact that whenever one party expands government power, the party who later takes control will use the expanded scope of government to implement its own goals and objectives. The only safe course is to prevent the expansion in the first place. Ultimately, it matters very little who first forged the sword or fastened the shackles; once government has the tools, the party in power will abuse them for its own ends.
So, tomorrow avoid voter’s remorse by supporting candidates who will give you less government.