As the Fourth of July approaches I am finding myself perplexed at the idea of celebrating a non sequitur. The day which brought independence to a nation of self-reliant people because of the freedom it promised is now gone. The dregs are left along with a few patriots who still think independence is a good thing. The reasons for celebration are lying on the ash heap of history. The day seems more like a funeral this year than a celebration of anything.
Evidence of this non sequitur came this week in a pamphlet from the City of Gastonia. The pamphlet is entitled, "Good News" and is brought to us in our utility bill. The entire front page is devoted to Federal Stimulus Money being divvied up in Gastonia as if it is Manna from Heaven. The author of this front page announcement is none other than our city manager, Jim Palenick. The article touts the $6.5 million in funds that our fair city is being granted from the Federal Government. Aren't you deliriously happy?
Independence Day was all about self-reliance. It was a commemoration of all that is good about freedom from oppression and being able, without government oppression, to take care of yourself and your own. We are a far cry from that freedom and self-reliance when an oppressive government puts entire towns and an entire population on the dependent list. As I read about all of the money coming into Gastonia, I thought about every town in America being usurped by a Federal Government gone amok. First the Federal Government and the States created policies which have undermined the free enterprise of this country through heavy regulations, taxation, illegal immigration, disallowing energy independence, and generally wrecking any semblance of sanity and common sense when it comes to fiscal policies. Then, to make sure every citizen gets the point of it, congress keeps passing more inane laws in order to create more dependence on the government and whip Americans into line. And the local politicians, wanting to get on the bandwagon, do more of the same. They grab the power by legislating your dependence and your unwilling cooperation.
So now we have $2.1 million dollars of Federal money to "redevelop" a building downtown, create condominiums, and redevelop other neglected properties. We have over $2 million of Federal money to purchase new hybrid buses. Federal money to buy police cars. Federal money for landscaping along the insane "Thread Trail," which is some conjured up way to pretend we are celebrating a textile industry that the government has near annihilated. People in Wyoming are paying for Gastonia's wish list. People in Gastonia are paying for some other city in some other state's wish list. In short, no city, county, or state is apparently immune from becoming the beggar to the all, omnipresent Federal Government.
And this has nothing to do with real need. It has everything to do with need created by government officials. It has everything to do with political power over our lives. This is the very antithesis that the Fourth of July is supposed to celebrate as a marker of our freedoms. Freedoms which have been thrown out of the window because some greedy politician or city manager wants to tell you they took money from the Federal coffers to landscape your downtown. And that is supposed to make you happy? We have "Movies on Main." We have "Rock the Avenue." What we really have is circuses and games to keep Gastonians distracted while politicians are busy taking away your economic liberty. Note: in this Sunday's Gazette that 5 businesses within a block on Union Road are all going under. More unemployment results while we are "enjoying" that Federal money.
Dependence used to be either a sign of extreme disability or carried the shame of laziness. Self-reliance was a banner of pride and with it came the safety and confidence to know you are not depending on a totalitarian to run your life. Today, our city is waving an American flag proudly proclaiming its dependence, not its independence. This is a sad turn for Americans. It is no badge of courage to find yourself dependent on the Federal Government or the State for anything. The very same government oppression from King George has reared its ugly head in the form of American government wearing a costume and mask of a benevolent dictator. And believe me, there is no such thing as a "benevolent dictator." Blood spilled, lives given in the quest for liberty, independence won, but all given up for some Federal, State, and local programs you don't need, while your jobs and economic freedom have been forcefully taken from you.
So enjoy that new landscaping, downtown development, and the buses. The price you have paid is higher than you think. Happy Dependence Day, Gastonia!