Two nights ago I watched Rogue One. The dialogue was forced and too many outlandish characters were introduced too quickly but I enjoyed the second half. The defining moment for me was the last scene. After the action is over and worlds have been destroyed the camera follows a messenger through the corridor of a vessel. He turns a corner and we see standing with her back to us a figure draped in white. The camera pans around to her face as she reads the message and then Carrie Fisher, as young and beautiful as ever as Princess Leia, steals the show with one word: Hope!
Normally I don’t get carried away by moments designed to make me do just that but this message was delivered just in time. A powerful and ruthless government entity is strengthening its hold on the people. And with the presidential inauguration a week away the people are divided.
So here’s me hoping: Donald Trump and his administration will go down as the greatest thing ever to happen to this country.
Allow me to clarify. For a long time now the presidential office and the federal government as a whole have been gradually increasing in scope and power and that appears unlikely to change with this new administration. But there is sure to be a difference in Trump’s expansion of presidential authority and that of Barack Obama and other predecessors.
Observe Obama. He has shown little regard for our system of checks and balances. He has bombed seven countries. And his every act seems to require taxation and government intervention. Yet that almost doesn’t change the fact that I’d like to have a beer with him.
George W. Bush did away with our right to privacy and began the nation bombing and building mess we're in today. Still he seems like an easygoing guy with good jokes.
But Trump is a demagogue who resembles a demagogue. He is incapable of taking away liberties while making one feel liberated. And this may go down as the greatest thing ever to happen to this country.
Assuming we aren’t already there our nation appears to me on the verge of statism, a system in which the government, rather than serving the people according to their will, controls them. Examples of increases in government authority are abundant: more agencies, more laws, more regulation, police with bigger guns, and of course more taxation. I won’t bore you with data in this post but the increase in government spending over time is alarming.
Meanwhile the left and the right point fingers at one another rather than at the entity sovereign over them all. Those on the left fancy themselves champions of freedom and equality though their vessel of choice is a party of politicians and bureaucrats grown fat from taxpayer money and corporate bribes. Through their flowery rhetoric progressive politicians have gotten their followers to blame conservative Americans for everything and convinced them that the government would fix it all if only conservatives would let.
The right, while sometimes displaying an aversion toward taxation, also seems to prefer authoritarianism to individual liberty; they have their idea of the archetypal American and either ban anyone who isn’t him or bully him until he is.
One side coaxes us toward a Brave New World while the other drags us bound in chains into 1984. These two different worlds are founded on the same principle: You shall not challenge our authority.
And we have stood by and allowed it. While lauding the aforementioned books for their prophesy we have failed to apply the skepticism they teach. Those who have pointed out parallels between those books and our world have been labelled. Paranoid. Crazy. Conspiracy theorist.
My hope is that we will no longer be able to ignore our impending doom. If Trump’s abuse of power is as blatant as it promises to be perhaps the American people will rise up. By that I mean saying no to more taxation and big-government initiatives. I mean encouraging people to rely less on a large network of selfish, corrupt bureaucrats and more on themselves. I mean showing people why taxation is servitude and security is confinement. I mean realizing the power we have as individuals and what we can achieve when we do what human beings are wired to do: compete.
With Republicans holding the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office, conservatives will be the key to starting this movement but liberals will be the key to seeing it through. But trying to get liberals to fight big government is particularly tricky since socialized universal everything is what they ultimately want. They will be happy to challenge Trump but he alone is not the adversary. We need to challenge an entire government that threatens to take control of every aspect of our lives. If a Democrat steps into office in four or eight years I foresee liberals praising his or her every decision. I see them frowning upon checks and balances, states’ rights, and division of power, and forcing their sectarian ideas of freedom and equality on everyone. Then it’s back to bickering over party lines.
My hope is that in fighting Trump and the conservative initiatives sure to take place soon liberals will get a thirst for bureaucracy blood and continue to fight for the individual regardless of who is in power. Thank you Princess Leia of the Rebel Alliance for inspiring me to be so bold.
You alone are your only hope.