Monday, March 23, 2009

What can I do?

Many of the comments on my blog, or off-line e-mails ask, “What can I do.” Others suggest that I should “do something” instead of just complaining. One correspondent said that I now had a following, so I had a responsibility to make things better. (300 blog followers vs. the 63,000,000 votes the President received. I don’t think he’s fretting over me running for president, despite the well wishes of many who wrote.)

It’s both hard to know what you can do, and frustrating. When you are one person among 300 million, what difference can you make? When you know that 40% of the people don’t pay taxes (perhaps soon to be a majority), how do you fight the handout mentality? When you know that polls show that Congress had an approval rating of 12% at the last election, but also that 67% of the public couldn’t say which party controlled Congress, and they voted to strengthen the leadership of the Congress they disapproved of, you are tempted to despair.

And very few of the folks lobbying Congress and the state legislatures in any concerted way are lobbying for long-term political reform. Most are trying to protect their turf, get more dollars for their cause, or prevent more dollars from being extracted from them. That’s true of teachers, businesspeople, veterans, healthcare workers, unions, environmentalists, lawyers, CPAs, engineers, and on and on. The fact is, all of us belong to some “interest group,” usually many. And we’re afraid if we take the long view, some other group will eat our lunch today.

So what to do? Unfortunately, I have no magic bullet to fix things.

One view is to give up. Say to hell with it. Try to have as happy a life as you and your family can. Ignore them, and ignore politics as best you can. (Many folks find they are happier doing this with their retirement funds right now!). I know a very bright guy in Mensa who likes to talk about politics, but has given up voting. He maintains an amused detachment. His considered opinion is that the Republic is beyond salvation, that the bureaucracy is too powerful, the unfunded debt and promises of the welfare state too enormous, and that we can’t fix it. He thinks the country is going to collapse. He’s retired, so thinks he may get away clean before that happens, but that there is no longer any use getting upset or putting effort into it, which you could spend on things that make you happy. He may be right.

But I keep remembering what the Greeks said:

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. –Plato

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. –Pericles

I’ve read that the word “Idiot” comes from the Greek description of one not involved in public affairs.

And, I’m a Marine. As General Alexander A. Vandergrift said to the Senate Naval Affairs Committee in May of 1946, “The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps.”

So my intention is to fight on, to go into battle with a light heart and an iron determination. While my health, my finances and a family to support wouldn’t permit me to run for town council, never mind national office, there are still things I can do. There are things each of us can do. Here are a few (you may think of more):

1. Vote. As Robert Heinlein’s character Lazarus Long says in his great novel Time Enough for Love, “If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for...but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.”

And if you vote for or against a candidate just because of party, gender, race, age, ethnicity or sexual preference, than you are an idiot. Contrary to what many readers off my blog apparently think, I don’t vote for or support everyone who puts an “R” in from of his or her name. If President Obama changes his party to Republican tomorrow, it doesn’t guarantee he’ll get my vote. Choose your candidates on the basis on their character, their experience, their ability and their positions on key issues (and know that you won’t agree with anyone 100% of the time.)

2. Work on Campaigns. Find good candidates, regardless of party. (Even minor party candidates can help articulate issues. The Socialist Normal Thomas never won an election, but his ideas are sure popular today!) Contribute money if you can. Contribute time. Put on a bumper sticker. Put up a lawn sign. Stuff envelopes. Distribute literature. Go door to door. A few volunteers really can make a difference. (I won my senate seat by 9 votes out of over 60,000 cast.)

3. Write. Write letters to your state and federal legislators. Keep them short, and focused on one or two issues (they get filed by issue). Due to terrorism concerns, letters get through faster when sent to the district offices of Federal legislators.

And if you are going to join the “Tea Bag” protest, you should probably send just the tag from the bag. The full bag will probably be discarded by the screeners, on the theory it might contain anthrax. Or nuclear waste. Or common sense.

Write to people on your e-mailing list. Write your thoughts and post them on blogs. Write to the newspaper.

4. Speak. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors. Get them interested and involved in the issues. Go to meetings and speak out. Bring people together to discuss the issues. Support each other.

5. Educate yourself. Read all you can. There are a lot of uninformed ideas floating around, and they aren’t all on the left, friends. Understand economics by reading Dr. Thomas Sowell’s terrific book, Basic Economic. (He has other great ones as well.) Understand what the demographics tell us about the future of both the West and the welfare state by reading America Alone by Mark Steyn. Read other books on politicals, economics and international relations.

6. Avoid profanity, name-calling and racism. Leave that to the left. You may think that an e-mail referring to the President as a “Lawn Jockey” is funny, but it plays into his hands, as he can go on portraying himself as a victim of racism, despite holding the highest office in the land. We do not oppose the President because of his racial heritage. We oppose him because we believe that a massive government and a centrally controlled economy destroy freedom, and lead to economic disaster and collapse. We do not oppose what has happened in Zimbabwe and is happening in South Africa because we support “White Rule” while liberals support “Black Rule.” We support “Competent Rule.” The left supporting incompetent rule because it was by blacks has killed millions of black people. That is evil.

7. Teach. Teach your children and others who look to you that hard work matters. That individual responsibility matters. That integrity matters. That involvement in community affairs matters. That education matters. That helping the less fortunate through charity and private organizations matters. That service in our armed forces matters. That they shouldn’t be embarrassed to love their country openly. And remember that example is the best teaching tool.

8. Laugh a lot. Be cheerful. Keep a positive attitude. I may be a pessimist by policy but I’m an optimist by temperament. Work hard. Love your family. Participate at your place of worship and in community groups. Try to focus on the good things in your life. This country has faced down great challenges before. We may again, if we who love her work together, support each other, and fight hard.

We must win. If America goes down, there’s no place to run to.

Reproductions of a poster have been going around, which was printed in Britain in the dark days at the start of WWII. It says: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It’s still good advice.


  1. Oh, excellently said, sir - thank you!

  2. I would also add "Attend a protest" such as the tea parties that will take place in every state on 4/15/09 ( Also, call your Senators and Congressmen. Regularly. This is particularly critical now as Obama's Bankrupting Budget is coming up for vote. if you want more information, you can check out my recent post at Please don't sit back: Take Action! This country can only be destroyed by the enemy within. And we are the only ones who can stop it.

  3. Sir:

    I'd like to take this opportunity to make the following plug. It seems in line with some of your suggestions:

    Values Based Government:

    It's time for values based government to take a foothold in American Politics and many been wondering just exactly where our representative's values are. What if we had a “Gold List” of candidates that signed a “morally binding contract” letting their constituents know they held the same values as we do?

    Now it's time to take a roll call and that's going to take some help. has created a three page letter that asks your representative or candidate to sign a simple contract: “I pledge my sacred honor to representing my constituents by upholding these principles and values:”

    It sounds a bit far-fetched, but if enough people send this letter to their representatives this government which has forgotten that it's supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” can't ignore the people forever.

    If you're willing to take this movement to the next level, if you're tired of your tea bags not being noticed, maybe we should give this a try?

  4. Mr.Hall, I know you are alot knowlagble than i in life at this time. First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Sherry I am 48 yrs. I read your articule (I'm Tired) I agreee with alot of what you are saying except for the part about that it is wrong for us to help drug addicts but its o.k to be gay? Not in the world I live in I believe men and woman are hear to multiply. not for gradification of sex. I think gays are sicker than any addict i ever seen in my life time. I am willing to help anyone that is willing to change. Also My husband and I together only make around 40,000 a year and we both have a car,not because we can afford it but in order for us to get to work to pay our bills. No we cannot get a loan to buy a home we pay 1,200 a month to pay someones else's We are the real pay check to pay check living Americans. Any way take care and God Bless!
    P.S. My Father was in the Koren war, My brother in the vietnam war, My son is currentley in the Service has been to iraq twice. God Bless our men and woman who protect us.

  5. Very good list of things to do before "giving up". I would put more emphasis on number four however. This is only based upon my own life experience.

    During this past Presidential Election, I challenged people to turn off CNN, FOX, NBC and especially MSNBC. I asked them to do their research based upon the politics of the candidates. Check Obama/McCain voting records and written legislature. Go to their official web sites and read the items they have based their campaigns on.

    Then discuss the things that are important to you. Talk about the difference in political philosophy between the Dems and the Reps. Discuss whether you prefer more or less government involvement, higher or lower taxes, socialized or private medical, etc...

    Ironic in my family. My youngest daughter worked on the Bush Campaign in 2004. Then she graduated High School and left for college. This past election she voted for Obama...all the while trying to avoid any open discussion with me.

    Now that it is once again tax time, she is upset that she is unable to claim her tuition as a deduction because her college is not on the list of qualifying colleges/universities. (Michigan's Democratic Legislature keeps shrinking that list on a yearly basis).

    Imagine my delight in telling her that she is complaining about the very political philosophy that she put into office. The harder you work and the more money you make...The more money will be taken from you.

    Anchors Aweigh Old Jar Head

  6. Awesome! A fellow Marine and a fellow Heinlein fan!!!!
    Semper Fi Pal
    Sgt of Marines

  7. Very good blog, sir. I started following after a friend emailed me one of your past blogs. Your link to BlogSpot was included at the end and it was one of the best chances I've ever taken. ;)
    In response to the first *anonymous* comment, the woman named, "Sherry," I have just one thing I'd like to say, although, she may never read this.
    She is in dire need of educating herself a bit more. Being "gay" is genetic, not a choice. And I know this from a lifetime of experience.
    The *community* embarrasses me to no end and I do not associate myself with them.
    I apologize to you, sir, if my "two cents" on this subject in out of line.
    I also thank you for allowing me to say it.
    Sincerely, Ceredwyn

  8. Good post Bob, like you, the best thing I can do is inform people, unfortunately the people we need to reach get cut off in midstream by the "angry left." The internet media seems to be filled with the "anger" that turns the moralistic voters off. I tell my readers that after they read the blog make comments to the issue and not attack the poster or the messenger.

  9. As a retired Marine Corps Officer, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work on this and other issues and for your selfless dedication to our country, both as a former Marine and four terms in the Massachusetts State Senate, which inspires all us to take action and never give up.

    I would also like to take the liberty of sharing my recent blog on another issue that has been getting more and more attention:

    I gracefully ask for and would greatly appreciate your feedback on my blog.

    Since I am not an attorney, I just want to make sure that I took the appropriate action by sending a letter to Mr. Jeffrey Taylor, US Attorney for the District of Columbia asking for his assistance on this issue, knowing that I may not even get a response from him, but I felt that it was my God given duty to stand up for and defend our Constitution, which I believe is under attack by this administration so, after some active soul searching, prayer and intense research, I took the leap.

    Have A Great Day & May God Bless and Keep You.

    Thanks again.

    Semper Fi!

  10. A friend e-mailed your "I am tired" message. Great journalism! I shared it with my family and a few Republican activists I know. I decided to stop just voting and become more involved in politics. It has been a real experience. I live in Minneapolis. I feel like a goldfish in a tank of barracuda.

    A proposed bill to the Minnesota Senate SF705 wants to require all State-chartered banks to "make money" to pay for roads, bridges and other infrastructure. here is a label for this kind of economics, "fiat monetary policy." They argue that Minnesota dollars would be backed by the infrastructure they create. The bill has 3 sponsors: 2 DFL and 1 Republican. Smells like fresh country air to me.

  11. My cousin emailed your "I am tired" message. I will be 63 in April and I, too, am very tired. My dad died two days after my 5th birthday in 1951 (KIA in Korea) and my brother and I have watched out for his widow now for over 57 years (even when we were children in a sense) and she is 91. She should really be tired. She has lived, once we grew up (and didn't bring her any more government money), on her widow's military stipend and social security and she was born in 1917 which is a "notch" year (she gets less than most of her peers in social security money) but she has had some "wealth" from her farmer family (long passed away and used up) and she herself in prior days was able to be a landlord in a vacation house she purchased with insurance money just after my dad's death overseas and even had a civil service job for a year. She couldn't stand one longer than that. She is the one who really must be tired. And yet she is and she isn't. So while I agree with all you've written (most of it anyway) I say there is a lot in this country to be very energized and optimistic about. I am not a liberal by any means. I do feel that liberalism will out itself soon and the pendulum will swing back again to less government interference in business in this the most unusual "governmental" experiment of any nation. All is not lost. That is my prediction. But like you I'm tired because I am a white woman and much has been required of me that I feel unfair. Call me Kathy Anonymous.

  12. Robert,
    You're on solid foundation!
    May I post your "I'm Tired," plus your 8 points "What can I do?" on my blog:

    Would also like to post on
    Thank you!
    You - are greatly appreciated.

  13. What follows is my blog that contains copies of letters emails and/or blog comments that I have sent to Mr. Jeffrey Taylor-US Attorney for the District of Columbia, my US Congressman, and US Senator, along with blog comments posted on:

    and would very much like to share them with you, as a means of providing you with some ideas of the action you could hopefully take to join this urgent, time sensitive and worthy cause, by standing up for and defending those rights given us under our Constitution – You Decide:!.thtml

    “ Food For Thought”

    “God Bless Our USA”

    Semper Fi!


  14. Ignore the movie Starship Troopers. Read the Robert Heinlein book instead.

    Writing to politicians can be amusing. Sometimes the response you receive has no connection to the letter you sent.

    Write anyway.

  15. I am also 63 and a military retiree. I retired at 40 so I would not work again for crappy pay and no acknowledgment for my efforts. Nothing is as good as it was, nor will it ever be again. Too bad we were too young to appreciate it at the time. Also it is too bad America cannot bring forth someone actually capable of preventing us from digging our own grave. Life goes on, but at what cost?