Saturday, January 29, 2011

Federalism And Why It Matters To You

I've been reading a lot of American history this last year. The Federalist Papers are most revealing, along with other writings of our founders. The term "federalism" is one of those slippery terms bandied about in political rhetoric today needing a clear definition if we are to understand why it is relevant today.

Washington at Valley Forge
For forty-five years George Washington gave himself to his country. No one deserves the title "Father of Our Country," more than he. There was an overriding concern, however, that he was still fighting until the day he left office.

Throughout his presidency he was grieved by all the wrangling between the two predominant parties of his day -- the Federalists and the Republicans. He was usually successful in standing above the fray and warned against the divisions infused by the parties into the American fabric at the time, fearing dissolution of the union he had forged so diligently. Here's a sample of his effort to warn his countrymen "in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party. . . The spirit unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. . .

"The alternate domination of one faction over another sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension. . . is itself a frightful despotism. . . A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume."

We are close to that place, it would seem, where Washington's warning is near fulfillment. He suggested the antidote was morality in government. From his farewell address, we are advised:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

One searches in vain today for such wisdom. His farewell address was not given as a speech at all. It was drafted first, then sent to his friends, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, for polishing. It was dated September 17, 1796, and subsequently printed two days later in Philadelphia's American Daily Advertiser. He offered it he said, as the parting counsel from "an old and affectionate friend."

Thomas Jefferson
As the new nation under Washington took shape two polarizing points of view emerged. Thomas Jefferson's followers called themselves Republicans. They stood for a true republic of the people. Alexander Hamilton disciples called themselves Federalists, seeking to strengthen the federal Union. Those two simple ideas are the origins of our how the country became divided into two predominant points of view on the role of the federal government. Hamilton deeply believed only a strong national government could rule effectively, and was advocating the idea the common man was incapable of self-rule. Jefferson was a strong proponent of states' rights, while Hamilton was seeking an ever-stronger central government.

Alexander Hamilton
 Before their lives were over, Jefferson and Hamilton became bitter enemies. Each accused the other of trying to destroy the country. The central idea dividing them? Hamilton had some "radical ideas" about fiscal policies. Jefferson saw the establishment of a national bank as simply a way to enrich the few money men behind it, and everything else Hamilton proposed was viewed with the same skepticism by Jefferson, who saw Hamilton's financial practices as harmful to the poor and destructive to the nation's long-term well-being.

Hamilton countered that his policies were essential to a strong national economy. He did not deny a few would be enriched, but saw that outcome as the necessary step to a thriving economy where everyone could become wealthier.

The differences ran deep, and beyond policy they became implacable personal enemies even though Washington repeatedly tried to reconcile them to each other without success. Jefferson finally resigned as Secretary of State at the end of 1793, and a year later Hamilton quit as Secretary of the Treasury.

The core issues separating these two powerful individuals then persist today. The Constitution was established to create two tiers of governing -- one at the federal level, the other at the state level. This was called "federalism," a shared role for each.

Federalism in the United States is still evolving. It attempts to define the proper relationship between state governments and the federal government. American government has evolved from a system of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. In "Federalist No. 46," James Madison asserted that the states and national government "are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers." Alexander Hamilton, writing in "Federalist No. 28," suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens' benefit: "If their [the peoples'] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress."

The states established the first level of governance to be formed in this country. Their pre-eminent existence, some would argue today, give them "more rights" than the specific and limited "enumerated powers" spelled out in the Constitution. These include the right to levy taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. Also, the "Necessary and Proper Clause" gives the federal government the "implied power" to pass any law "necessary and proper" for the execution of its express powers.

These arguments are the very arguments one hears today in the ongoing attempts to reform health care and other transformative issues. The core issue is shall the states or the federal government be the instrument to decide for the people? Jefferson would have argued for the states and Hamilton would have sided with the federal government.

Powers that the Constitution does not delegate to the federal government or forbid to the states, the "reserved powers," are reserved to the people or the states under the Constitution. Jefferson said, "That government that governs best is closest to the people." Over time, however, the power delegated to the federal government was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), subsequent amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War, and by some later amendments. The overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the final dictates of the federal government, had the effect of deferring to a strong federal government in the evolution of federalism and how it is defined today.

The old Hamiltonian Federalist party in the United States was finally dissolved in 1824. They were heavily opposed by the Democratic-Republicans, which included powerful figures such as Thomas Jefferson. The Democratic-Republicans mainly believed:
  • The Legislative had too much power (mainly because of the Necessary and Proper Clause) and that they were unchecked.
  • The Executive branch had too much power, and that there was no check on him. A dictator would arise.
  • A bill of rights for the people should be coupled with the Constitution to prevent a dictator from exploiting citizens. The threat then, as always, is that the Executive could become a dictator.
The Federalists, on the other hand, argued it was impossible to list all the rights, and those that were not listed could be easily overlooked because they were not in the official bill of rights. Rather, rights in specific cases were to be decided by the judicial system of courts.

A larger role and influence for the federal government, however, continued to emerge decades after the Civil War. The reasons included the need to regulate businesses and industries that span state borders, attempts to secure civil rights, and the provision of social services. The federal government acquired no substantial new powers until the acceptance by the Supreme Court of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in State of Minnesota v. Northern Securities Company.

It is the belief of many today (myself included) that the federal government has grown beyond the bounds permitted by the express and limited powers granted in the Constitution. Opponents to that view think they find some legal latitude among the express powers, such as the Commerce Clause. The Commerce Clause is used by Congress to justify certain federal laws, but its applicability has been narrowing in recent years by Supreme Court rulings.

"Dual federalism" suggests the federal government and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. In this theory, parts of the Constitution are interpreted narrowly, such as the Tenth Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause. Under a narrow interpretation, the federal government has jurisdiction only if the Constitution clearly grants it. In this case, there is a large group of powers belonging to the states or the people, and the federal government is limited to only those powers explicitly listed in the Constitution.

To summarize:

We face "ominous challenges" as a nation today. 
Here's a BYU professor who suggests there are at least five requiring immediate attention by the 112th Congress. There was little in Obama's SOTU address last week to suggest he will take a leadership role in tackling those clear and present dangers lurking on the horizon. He played a large role in creating those challenges with the 111th Congress. It appears, instead, he will play politics as usual, hoping the Republicans by reducing spending make life so miserable for Americans he can ride a wave of displeasure into a second term in 2012, and last long enough without specifically addressing the issues that he might still be popular enough with the people by then to be re-elected. His re-election campaign is launching into high gear now and he'll be on the stump between now and then doing what he does best -- talking and talking and talking and talking.

The arguments debating the meaning of "federalism" today are framed around the concept of "dual federalism," the shared powers and the evolving roles of the federal government and the states. It is my belief it is absolutely essential for Americans to become engaged in the debate using the proper definitions and advocating for states' rights as opposed to further expansion of the role of the federal government. The only question remaining is whether it is too late to finally rein it in. It seems both political parties have expanded federal government, now the question is which one will shrink it, if it can really be "shrunk" at all.

Last week in his press conference following his State of the State address, Governor Gary Herbert here in Utah was mystified by the unilateral imposition of Obamacare upon the states without even so much as a consult with the governors of the various states over the last two years when it was rammed down their throats, and he signaled his adamant opposition to the taking of any more Utah land for federal wilderness and monument designations. The states are on the move to reassert their claims against the monolithic federalism they see as a threat to our existence.

Half the fifty states' attorneys general are now involved in lawsuits to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare, and the border states of Arizona and Texas are imposing their wills against the federal government's inaction to control the borders.

Henry David Thoreau asserted, though it is often attributed to either Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson, "That government is best that governs least."

The polar opposite positions held by Hamilton and Jefferson have played out two hundred plus years later exactly as Hamilton and Jefferson framed the original debate then, and the question is still not settled -- far from it.

A return to Washington's thoughts from his farewell address is sagacious wisdom for America today: "Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Beware of those who would take God out of this equation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Incomparable Role of Righteous Women

(l to r) Melanie, Merilee, Emily, Dianne, Allison

I am a blessed man.  Much of that has to do with the women in my life who surround me and bless me with their faith and righteousness.  The accompanying picture is one of my five living daughters, all grown women now, all righteous, all accomplished, all talented, all faithful.  My cup truly runneth over.  They will be the first to tell you they have also been blessed by the righteous influence of their mother, their grandmothers and their mothers before them.

Andrew and Jessica Goates
This past week our family added another righteous woman to our ranks, a new daughter-in-law, Jessica Topham.  Patsy and I consider each of our daughters-in-law as daughters.  All my sons have married way above themselves, following the example of their father.  Outside the sealing room as we were preparing to leave the temple, I had a wonderful conversation with a couple I had not met previously.  They sat among our children and their spouses during the sealing.  President and Sister Hill were Jessica's mission parents as she served her mission in Japan.  "I had 450 missionaries in our mission during our three years," he said.  "I would not be exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you she was the finest missionary we had."  I promised him we would take good care of her.

When I first met Jessica, I looked into her eyes and the depth of her soul was revealed in an instant.  She is only the latest of extraordinary women to marry one of our sons.  Andrew is the last of our seven sons to be married.  As I spoke at their wedding dinner the night before the ceremony, I reminded them they had each been blessed by holding out and not settling for anything less than the best.  Often, if we expect the best and don't settle, we obtain the best.  So it was for each of them.

With my dear friend Scott Strong, we have written extensively in the past about the role of women and men and how those roles intersect with the priesthood to put us on the path to eventual godhood.  I write today on that topic in a season of even greater confusion about those roles.

The Path of Womanhood

Scripture delineates the prescribed path that illuminates the man's and woman's course leading toward eternal life. (D&C 132:20; 138:39). We are not left alone to wonder about it, because a merciful Heavenly Father has revealed it to those who will choose it. In customary fashion, He also reveals an alternative path, underscoring the freedom to choose will never be violated in His plan. (D&C 132:42). Today that alternative path is also called an "alternative lifestyle."

All the women in my life fill roles as righteous daughters, wives, and mothers. As I observe them in each of these roles, there is little doubt in my mind they will someday be glorified with their spouses and receive the promised blessings in "a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever." (D&C 132:19). These roles as men and women, properly defined and pursued, are as old as Adam and Eve, as fresh and vibrant as last week's sealing between Andrew and Jessica.

Before they were "mine" my daughters and daughters-in-law (all my daughters without the "in law" designation) began their role as women when "the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (D&C 76:24). As daughters of God first, they learned the ennobling truth "[the Lord] created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them." (D&C 20:18).

They learned their earliest lessons in womanhood through observation of "our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God." (D&C 138:39). 

Women in Mortality

These daughters of mine then came to earth to take upon themselves a physical body like the one they had seen Eve take in mortality, and like Eve they have become subject to the seeds of death through that body.  For now, however, each has advanced past the age when they become subject to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. They have learned they "must repent and be baptized." (D&C 18:42). Each was baptized, and as they kept the commandments they naturally yearned to have a day at an altar in a temple, where they could be sealed to a righteous priesthood holder and take upon themselves additional covenants with God. These covenants include making a lifetime commitment to personal sexual purity and worthiness. As each has observed and kept those sacred covenants their righteousness shines in their faces for all to see (look at that picture again).

Women as Wives

President Spencer W. Kimball
Women, my daughters included, have "a claim on their husbands for their maintenance." (D&C 83:2). The word "claim" means "rights, privileges, and entitlements." It can be said some wives are "high maintenance" but that is a topic for another day about which I know little. The women in my life give me little experience with such things. President Spencer W. Kimball, includes the husband's "obligation to maintain loving affection and to provide consideration and thoughtfulness as well as food." (CR, October 1978, 63).  Memo to my sons: Loving affection, consideration and thoughtfulness for your spouses is what you promised them at the altar on the day they "gave themselves" to you as the most precious gift you will ever receive. Don't break their hearts through indifference to that covenant.

These righteous women as wives are counseled "to comfort her husband." (D&C 25:5). Despite all his hardships, Joseph Smith found comfort in Emma's love and affection for him, and offered this counsel to women as wives:

"Submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands, in everything." (TPJS, 89).

Emma Hale Smith
Emma Smith was told, "Thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called." (D&C 25:3). The meaning and use of the word "elect" was defined by Joseph Smith on March 17, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois, when he told the sisters that "elect meant to be elected to a certain work. . . and that the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma's election to the Presidency of the [Relief] Society." (HC 4:552-53). A righteous woman living her covenants will find the callings she was elected to fill revealed to her in her patriarchal blessing in addition to her roles as daughter, wife and mother. We have daughters who have presided and served as teachers in every auxiliary organization in the Church.

Emma's counsel from the Lord is pertinent to all wives: ". . . the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband." (D&C 25:5). She was to use "consoling words, in the spirit of meekness" with him. (D&C 25:5). Emma was to cleave to Joseph and to "go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe." (D&C 25:6). She was promised that for faithfully fulfilling her calling as a wife, her "husband shall support thee in the church." (D&C 25:9).
Women and Their Talents and Gifts

Over dinner several months ago with a son who was in town for business meetings, Patsy and I were reminded how much is required in today's Church of young married couples.  He was serving as an executive secretary in the bishopric, teaching the gospel doctrine class and his wife and young mother of three (then quickly thereafter four) was serving as the ward Young Women's President. Where much is given, indeed much is required. They must support and sustain each other in their callings in the Church, and it is not easy to be a servant to others in addition to those under your roof.

Emma was called as a wife and mother, named an elect lady, and beyond that Emma was instructed to develop her talents. Emma's talents included expounding the scriptures, exhorting the Church, writing, learning, and selecting sacred hymns. (D&C 25:7-8, 11). I have observed all my daughters without exception following these admonitions in their lives. She was told that while fulfilling these responsibilities, she was not to murmur but was to "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better." (D&C 25:4, 10). One of our daughters related years ago how that particular verse had guided their family in making a critical employment decision that took them to a new state. Emma was also warned to beware of pride. (D&C 25:14). If she proved faithful, Emma was to receive "a crown of righteousness." (D&C 25:15). The reason I know this counsel extends to every woman in the Church beyond the private instruction Emma received is I have witnessed these same principles at work in the lives of the women I love most.

Joseph Smith loved Emma more than we can even imagine. In one revelation, he pleaded with the Lord on her behalf in these words: "Have mercy, O Lord, upon [my] wife. . ., that [she] may be exalted in thy presence, and preserved by thy fostering hand." (D&C 109:69).

The realization of his pleading comes in another revelation, when she is told "to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else." (D&C 132:54). She is also told to "forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses. . .; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice." (D&C 132:56). The fact Joseph and Emma are reminded to repent and to forgive one another should give ample hope to those of us who seek to follow their example, knowing a little of the dissonance and resolution that goes with the marriage covenant. Today in ward choir practice we sang "Where Love Is," and were reminded by our director that the song has many dissonant chords that all get resolved in the song, just as we seek to resolve them in our marriages.

Abrahamic Tests for Women

Returning to the earlier counsel, Emma is told she must endure faithfully to the end or risk losing all, for unless she does endure, "where I am you cannot come." (D&C 25:15). "She shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law." (D&C 132:54).

I have written before about "Abrahamic tests," here and here. Perhaps none in our dispensation illustrate those tests more thoroughly than Joseph and Emma. Through it all she is still admonished to beware of pride? How could pride even enter into that equation? Can we actually be proud when we are compelled to be humble? She is told to let her soul delight in her husband.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote, "Just as it is possible for the very elect to be deceived, and to fall from grace through disobedience, so an elect lady, by failing to endure to the end, can lose her chosen status." (Mormon Doctrine, 217). The same lessons from the Lord's revelation to Emma apply equally to Joseph and all men by extension: Cleave to each other, comfort each other, serve in the Lord's kingdom, and endure faithfully to the end. I have confirmed the word "cleave" in the scriptures applies in only two usages -- to spouses and to God.

Women Become Mothers

Mothers are extraordinary little girls who mature as women. A righteous young wife earnestly yearns for what comes next -- being a mother. Every mother will desire the children to be sealed to her who are born of her through her marriage relationship. They are sealed to her and her spouse and linked eternally to her through the ordinances and authority of the holy priesthood. (D&C 138:7; 48). Even from the earliest age the parents will teach the children "to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old." (D&C 68:25). These children will have "claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age." (D&C 83:4).

Evidence our familial relationships as husbands, wives, sons and daughters continuing beyond the grave is obvious in this reference to his vision of futurity and eternal realms, when Joseph wrote, "I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept." (D&C 137:5).

Righteous Influence of Mothers

Lucy Mack Smith
There can be little doubt of the influence of a righteous mother in Joseph's life. This description taken from the words of his mother in the minutes of a Church conference held on October 8, 1845, in Nauvoo, Illinois: "I raised up 11 children, 7 boys. I raised them in the fear of God. When they were two or three years old I told them I wanted them to love God with all their hearts. I told them to do good. I want all you to do the same. God gives us our children and we are accountable. . . I presume there never was a family more obedient than mine. I did not have to speak to them only once. . . I want you to teach your little children about Joseph in Egypt and such things, and when they are four years old they will love to read their Bible. . . Set your children to work; . . . don't let them play out of doors. . . I call you brothers and sisters and children. If you consider me a Mother in Israel, I want you to say so." (Conference in Nauvoo, 8 Oct. 1845, General Minutes Collection, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, as cited by Susan Easton Black, LDS Women's Treasury, 13).

According to the minutes, Brigham Young then arose and said, "All who consider Mother Smith as a Mother in Israel, signify it by saying yes." There were loud shouts of yes. I bear witness there are mothers in Israel in my family and yours despite the distraction of other "siren voices" in our world today.

Laws, Rites and Ordinances of Marriage

Woman's role today is consistent with what it has always been throughout ancient scripture dating back to Adam's day. The same is true for men. Together men and women joined in the marriage covenant can learn the doctrines of salvation and how they are to participate in the laws, rites and ordinances of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.

We are all weak, and often we stumble and sometimes become indifferent to our covenants because of the cares of the world. Either through neglect or knowingly, often those we love most receive the harshest treatment from us. If we love each other truly, our actions will accord with our words. If not, we are full of nothing but empty gestures with no substance.

Despite our frailties in the flesh there is always hope. In Mosiah 7:33, the Lord assures us: "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."

In D&C 1:32 we read: "Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven." In other words, "Nevertheless, he or she that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven."

We get to "practice" on each other in this life: "And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me." (D&C 38:24). In the marriage covenant the equivalent is, "And let every man and woman esteem his or her brother or sister as himself or herself, and practice virtue and holiness before me."

Men learn mostly through trial and error (emphasis on error) to respect and dignify women, because as they come to understand the language God uses they eventually are left without excuse. God uses these exalted titles in referring to his daughters: "daughter," "handmaid," "woman," "wife," "mother," and "widow." He uses these titles to teach unthinking men what He expects of us in treating women with respect.

The Parables Highlight Women

The Lord taught many parables highlighting women. We are admonished in these parables about the importance of continually seeking the Lord (D&C 101:84), of being prepared when he comes again (D&C 63:54), and of his desire to gather the house of Israel (D&C 10:65; 29:2; 43:24). Jesus chose a woman as His example of generosity and sacrifice when a certain poor widow threw two mites into the treasury. (Mark 12:43-44).

My Grandmother Leda Meryl Kirkham Goates was an example who was similarly disposed. Her mantra, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" still rings in my ears. She dutifully paid her "mite" on her Social Security check, not wanting to "rob God." Also highlighted in the parables is one woman's joy at the recovery of a lost piece of silver to illustrate angelic joy over one soul that repents. (Luke 15:8-10). Such was Grandma's joy when her prodigal son went to the temple with her for the first time in her advanced years only months before she died on an April 6th temple endowment session.

Zion the Bride

Front (l to r):  Heidi, Kristin, Shauna, Emily, Allison
Back (l to r):  Patsy, Kim, Jessica, Dianne, Melanie, Merilee
When I wrote about Zion years ago, it struck me that the pronouns referring to Zion were "she" and "her." One example: "For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her." (D&C 64:41). The female traits associated with Zion and the female pronouns "she" and "her" illustrate the Lord's vision of the cherished and even sacred position of righteous womanhood. If Zion is prototypical of women, then surely we can all expect the mercy we need and seek, for no one in my life typifies mercy, love and long suffering better than Patsy and all thirteen of our daughters (missing in the picture at the right at Thanksgiving this year are Adrienne, deceased, Toni and Tina ).

Women are Stronger

Elder John A. Widtsoe
Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote: "This doctrine of equal rights is confirmed in the ordinances of the Church, which are alike for man and woman. Faith, repentance, and baptism are the same for all. The rewards, such as the gift of the Holy Ghost and the temple ordinances, are alike for men and women. The gifts and obligations of the gospel are alike for all. The man who holds the priesthood officiates in it, but the blessings of it descend upon the woman, also." (Joseph Smith, Seeker After Truth, Prophet of God, 185).

President Joseph F. Smith
President Joseph F. Smith wrote: "There are people fond of saying that women are the weaker vessels. I don't believe it. Physically, they may be; but spiritually, morally, religiously and in faith, what man can match a woman who is really convinced? Daniel had faith to sustain him in the lion's den, but women have seen their sons torn limb from limb, and endured every torture satanic cruelty could invent, because they believed. They are always more willing to make sacrifices, and are the peers of men in stability, godliness, morality and faith." (Gospel Doctrine, 352; also, CR, Oct. 1947, 152). He was peering into the future in that prophetic statement as it relates to the women in my life.

The Sophistry of the Single State

If you believe the current trend to "do my own thing" in the single state without the possibility of an eternal correct marital relationship, you believe a sophistry that is inconsistent with the plan of God.

There really is no such thing as "an alternative lifestyle" for those who would style their lives as God has revealed. Women who long for these relationships will not be denied them in the eternities. (For example, see President Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World, 292, and President Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:36; also see Special Situations).

So sacred is the role of women to bear children in the eyes of the Lord that men and women are specifically warned about it: "He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out." (D&C 42:23; 63:16). Women are similarly warned, "If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery." (D&C 132:42).

Babylon the Whore

In the ancient and modern scriptures Babylon is referred to as a "whore." A whore is one who rejects her sacred opportunity to co-create life. She cannot obtain eternal lives except she repents and seeks it through righteous union with one God's sons. A "whore" in the scriptural equivalent uses her most sacred and eternal gifts to get worldly gain, to destroy others, and to create cults for personal, selfish power. She is the antithesis of Zion, the beautiful and pure bride of Christ. The examples abound, but one need look no further than Brian David Mitchell and Warren Jeffs for the example of a whoring misinterpretation of Zion.

Babylon is the moral equivalent of evil whoring for gain after other gods. In the scriptures we see references to false churches, the result of whoring originating with the "mother of abominations." (D&C 88:94).

When these abominations redefine the nature of Deity and the covenants, they often seek a redefinition of the divine role of motherhood. Joseph Smith referred to the teachings of a false prophet, a woman named Ann Lee, who taught, "You must forsake the marriage of the flesh or you cannot be married to the lamb, or have any share in the resurrection of Christ." She abominably concluded, "Those who are counted worthy to have any part in the resurrection of Christ neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like unto the angels." Ann Lee was born in 1736, the daughter of a blacksmith. She married a blacksmith by whom she bore four children, who all died in infancy. At age twenty-two, Ann was converted by Jane Wardley and began to preach. Ann came to America in 1774, and from then until her death in 1784, she was able to found three Shaker communities. Joseph encountered the Shakers (see preface to D&C 49). She also taught the Second Coming had already occurred and Christ had come back as a woman named Ann Lee.

Conversely, there are those who have strayed beyond the authorized priesthood keys and still advocate plural wives. More or less is still abominable without priesthood authorization.

All false religions, false churches and false prophets will one day be revealed and we will exult, "She is fallen, is fallen!" (see D&C 88:105) when Babylon, the great whore of all the earth, finally expires.

Sorry to get sidetracked on whores, but the contrast makes pure womanhood, as seen in the faces of my daughters, all the more delightful. The whore today comes in many guises and disguises. She can be alluring on the surface, but certainly there can be no lasting depth in believing a false premise upon which they are all founded. There is a God in heaven who has given revelation and pointed the way back home. The test of this mortal life is to find Him and Christ crucified in spite of the demons of hell who abound to deceive us and point us in the opposite direction.

Faithful Women

For those who are faithful, nothing can destroy the sacred roles of a righteous daughter, wife and mother in exchange for all the personal or temporal gain the world has to offer.

Cherish the righteous women in your lives.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

God in the Public Square

I was asked by someone last week whether God will be the source of deliverance for America, or whether He has abandoned America because of the wickedness so prevalent among us.  On its surface the question disturbed me.  Of course God will deliver America!  And America has a role in the world to help deliver other nations from tyranny and oppression.  Could there be any question?

Then he posed this question:  "I notice you write a lot about politics as though you actually believe there is anything to be gained by it.  Isn't God the real source of our power?"

It made me wonder if the heat of all the political rhetoric sometimes fails to shed the light of truth on the problems we face.

It is true, I write a lot about political matters.  It is because I believe there is an imperative duty we owe to God to do the best we can based upon all He has revealed to us to advance His agenda.  We remain silent in these last days at the expense of our collective peril, expecting God to deliver us without any effort on our part.

Because agency plays such an integral role in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must choose and actively participate in the raging debates in the public square.  Indeed, we must speak out in favor of God being invited into the public square when other voices shun Him.  

I read a cleverly titled piece the other day, "How the Devil Celebrates the Holidays."  The author's observations were that the devil delights whenever he can dismantle yet another manger scene somewhere in America at Christmas time.  

Our "unofficial" anthem as a nation is the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  It stirs ours souls whenever we hear it, particularly if it is sung by the incomparable MoTab Choir.  

Mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on

He has sounded forth the trumpet that will never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat
O be swift my soul to answer Him, be jubilant my feet
Our God is marching on

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free
While God is marching on

I declare boldly and without fear of repudiation that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are inspired of God.  These precious and rare documents in human history have established the freedom of people not only here but in every clime where men and women love and defend freedom.  America is a beacon light guiding all nations, holding aloft the hope she inspires that freedom of choice is championed by her people. 

I do not wish to lament the days gone by.  History is useful only when it points us forward in hope for a better day.  But it is hard to imagine such a group of men today as we had then in the founding of this great country.  

This past year I have looked into inspiring biographies of George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  I do not exclude Madison, who is often referred to as the father of the Constitution.  There were, of course, many others who attached their signatures to those sacred documents.  If you believe these men were inspired of God to do as they did in the founding of America, then you can easily accept the hope God will once again raise up leaders of their caliber who can in His holy name sustain and preserve us as "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The documents accompanying our founding attest to the founders' love and dependency upon God.  While true they disdained or did not favor any one church as a national religion (they had had enough of that in England), references in their writings to "the Almighty," the "hand of Providence," and other phrases such as the "Deity" are abundant.  

Benjamin Franklin sought for prayer to open the sessions of the Constitutional Convention.  

Our national motto, "In God We Trust," is everywhere.  While our actions in the public square may say otherwise at times, our heritage is clear enough.  

The pilgrims were guided here originally by what they referred to as "the hand of God."  Religious freedom and the desire to express religion in one's chosen manner stamps us as religious at our core as a nation.  Even the Mayflower Compact's first lines reveal our forefathers' convictions:  "In the name of God, Amen."  

George Washington
One of my favorite American heroes is George Washington.  He longed for peace and tranquility on his spacious estate at Mount Vernon in Virginia, but the indispensability of this colossus of freedom forbade his heartfelt wishes.  His humility is stunning.  Drafted reluctantly into service as the General of the Continental Army, he declared to Congress he felt unworthy and not up to the task before him.  Nevertheless, throughout the Revolutionary War he is referred to as "His Excellency."  He was worthy of the adulation, whether he knew it or not, but he did everything in his power to put down the notion of anything that might resemble a monarchy rising up in America. As he finally resigned his commission many years later, he wrote, “I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last act of my official life, but commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendents of them to His holy keeping.” 

He went back to his farm, but only for a short season of respite.  No one could find an acceptable alternative to serve as the President of the Convention destined to draft the Constitution.  He is the only American in our history to have been voted in as President for two terms on a unanimous vote of the electoral college.  Only after that long term of service to his country was he granted his earnest and early request to retire to the farm.

His first inaugural address in 1789 contains this declaration of his faith:  “No people can be bound to acknowledge and ignore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

There are seditious forces at work within America today.  They demand that we remove all references to God in the public square.  They want God off the coins, the paper currency, removed from the inscriptions on public buildings, banished from prayers at school, and if they could they would rewrite our history to exclude any reference to Him.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is another inspiring hero for me.  At the darkest hours of the Civil War, a war fought among families over the question of universal freedom (sometimes we forget), Lincoln was driven to his knees in humble secret prayer.  John Wesley Heele reported, "While the battle was being fought [Lincoln] was driven to his knees to struggle like Jacob of old, alone with God, until in Lincoln's own words, 'God told me he would give me Gettysburg and I believed Him.'"  A day of national thanksgiving was proclaimed thereafter, and he acknowledged freely before the entire divided nation the source of the victory that turned the course of events toward healing.

Lincoln would later make this declaration: “What constituted the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoasts; our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands everywhere.”

We don't sing the third verse of the National Anthem as much as we might, but the words are meaningful:

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

Washington, once again in his first inaugural speech, hoped “that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality.” He continued, “. . . there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which heaven itself has ordained.” 

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life, gave us liberty.”  Our liberties today are a direct result of the faith of our fathers in founding this nation.  We cannot separate ourselves from God and expect to maintain our gifts from Him.  Our gratitude for what we have received in the blood and sweat of the Revolution depend upon our continuing faith that we will be delivered from all enemies foreign and domestic.  

I maintain we must do our part, that freedom's blessings will not always be vouched safe to us without effort in the public square with the same God at our side who led our forefathers.

Alexis de Toqueville
There is a little known figure in American history whose words as an immigrant from France ring as true today as they did when he penned them.  I speak of Alexis de Tocqueville, who wisely observed, “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors, in her fertile fields and boundless forests, in her rich minds and vast commerce, in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic congress and in her matchless Constitution, but not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and her power. America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

That observation has been quoted sparingly in recent years, because there are forces aligned against such ideas, but his words cannot be denied.  If not true always, they remain a worthy goal for which to seek.  We may hear the voices of faith squelched in the public square these days, but certainly to the degree we are able we can take our petitions from our private prayer closet into the public discourse perhaps more boldly and ably than ever before through social media unavailable to our founding fathers.  

We can speak boldly, with dignity, never in a belittling way, but as a reminder of the rights protected by the founders to speak freely without fear of retribution by a tyrannous government.

So to answer my friend's question with precision:  Of course God is the source of our deliverance, then, now and forever. . . 

but He needs our help in the public square as His mouthpiece more now than ever.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Symbolic" House Vote Repeals Obamacare

It was newsworthy last week only if you don't tune in to the mainstream media.  They didn't give it much play.  But the newly-elected Republican-dominant U.S. House of Representatives resoundingly voted anyway by a margin of 245-189 to repeal the most costly entitlement program in nation's history.  They don't call this body "The People's House" for no reason!

It's no secret I was opposed to it from the moment it was announced, but more than being opposed to it, I was opposed to HOW it was done.  It is that aspect of the ongoing debate that interests me most today.

There was opposition to Social Security when it first was introduced and enacted into law.  But there was no vote within a year to repeal it.  That was also the case when Medicare was first introduced, along with Medicaid.  None of those programs faced this kind of perpetual anger and frustration from the public, united in their dislike in majority numbers. 

How it was done

The difference in my mind is that unlike Obamacare, the other entitlement programs listed did not pass on a one vote margin bought and paid for in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve in the Senate.  Further, one year after its passage Obamacare has managed to inflame half the states in the nation who have gone to court to challenge its constitutionality.  None of those other programs were struck down within a year of their passage as "unconstitutional" by a federal court.

Handout or empty hand?

We have all been partaking at the trough of government entitlement programs for a long time, and the majority of Americans now like them.  The difference with Obamacare, in my humble opinion, is that it represented a bridge too far in the minds of Americans.  Rather than welcome a handout when the economy had punished so many so severely recently, they pushed back knowing it was not a hand up, only an empty hand promising unsustainable debt and deficits.

Most economists and others who have studied its provisions (I have not) now conclude there is little of anything representing cost savings in the measures enacted.  It went too far, and fewer and fewer have indicated they really want more government intruding into their lives and their choices, especially when it is being paid for with more foreign debt.

Maybe more than symbolic

There is some indication, however, the vote may actually be more than symbolic.  Often, split government produces real progress.  A measure proposed by the White House to a divided Congress thought to be DOA is often debated fairly, both sides expressing their views and a helpful and useful conclusion reached.  Those were the days when a Ronald Reagan could persuade a Tip O'Neill that tax cuts in a bad economy might just be a good idea to present to a Democratic Congress.  It's happened before, why not again? 

The useful reality about debate and a straight up or down vote on proposed measures is that such actions put people on the record, forcing them to declare themselves, compelling them to take a stand for their constituents, and revealing whether or not they give a hang about what their bosses, the people, think and believe.  That's why this vote to repeal is maybe more than symbolic, even though everyone knows it's not a big enough margin of victory to be veto proof and Harry Reid won't let it see the light of day in the Senate, thus dooming it to "symbolic" status.  But only for now, perhaps.

I'm hoping what will happen is Obamacare will die a death of a thousand cuts.  This vote last week extends the debate; opens it up for the first time, really.  Voters will increasingly use the information they glean from successive votes to gauge whether or not they need to do further reassessments about whom they will choose to represent their wishes.  In that sense it may go beyond "symbolic."

SCOTUS will weigh in

I'm wondering what impact this vote will have on the eventual judgment to be rendered by the Supreme Court, where Obamacare will ultimately be adjudicated.  Knowing the Constitution trumps all the laws of the land, will the expressed will of the people stand?  I'm wondering if the SCOTUS also realizes they are subject to the people.  I hope they still are.

Predictably, the administration poo-pooed the whole exercise last week.  Nancy Pelosi openly ridiculed a reporter last year who asked her if she was concerned about its constitutionality, with "Are you serious?"  Well, now we know the people are serious, and so was at least one federal court judge in Virginia.  If this repeal vote was merely "symbolic," then someone forgot to inform the White House about how seriously the new members of Congress have taken their oath to reflect the people's will when they got to Washington.  They heard the message from the voters, loud and clear.  That's why the vote had to be taken -- it's the primary reason they were sent there.

Real health care reform will happen when Obamacare is reversed.  Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT) said it best:  "It reforms too little and costs too much."  He voted against it last year because he knew he would have no chance for re-election if he had done otherwise, and remains practically the lone man standing among the so-called "Blue Dog" Democrats in Congress who went along with Obamacare.  However, last week he reversed course and voted against repeal.  Go figure.

Why the sustained anger?

So maybe, just maybe, it is more than "symbolic."  There was more than Obamacare factoring into the historic tidal wave that washed ashore last November in Washington.  The voters felt disenfranchised and they were angry at not having their wishes realized.  For me and the vast majority, it started with TARP that opened the floodgates for rampant ($862 billion) stimulus spending failing to stimulate as promised, and a $1.3 trillion price tag on health care reform.  The deficit climbed rapidly to over $1 trillion, then the red ink flowed to overflowing with bailouts for "Government Motors" and Chrysler.

So Americans reacted justifiably -- we tossed out nearly everybody we could and began again, as America does every two years.  It's why this country is so viable.  Even when we make mistakes in judgment the founders gave us the reassurance we could begin afresh every two years.  We've all had to make readjustments in our lives these last two years.  We've cut back, we're learning how to save again, we're reducing debt, and we're somehow surviving in spite of it.  And now we demand the same of our federal government.  Some say individual households don't operate the same way as government.  That's true, because the government can print money.  We can't.  We can send representatives to Washington, however, who will do as we do and stop the presses.

Watch for more fiscal responsibility and big reductions in spending.  Those who refuse will be voted out.  That's the way politics works.  The Piper will be paid.

Chipping away now at Obamacare, and if Americans increasingly can stand by their convictions that it won't produce anything but grief if left to another generation to pay for it, then a large enough majority in both houses of Congress and maybe the White House in 2012 can finally bury it so deeply it cannot resurrect.

Federalism must be re-enthroned

The analysts I have read have been uniformly critical about the measure doing nothing to solve the upward tilt of the cost curve associated with health care, references to "bending the curve" in the years ahead notwithstanding.  Obamacare doesn't address the escalating costs associated with malpractice lawsuits.  The states were given virtually no latitude to develop their own solutions, since health care, like education, is administered at the local level.  Utah was already well underway in its efforts.  Federalism (giving states the right to be self-determining) has all but died in the wake of Obamacare.

Finally, one would hope the individual mandate in the law, forcing Americans to buy health insurance or face fines, must certainly be declared unconstitutional in the end.  This is still America, the land of the free.

But rather than let the moniker "the party of NO" stick, Republicans would be well advised to form committees, hold hearings, and work to craft real solutions lacking in Obamacare.  Keep the parts (if there are any) that might work, and scrap the rest.  We do have a health care crisis.  The costs are out of control, the incentives are skewed in the wrong direction, and Medicare and Medicaid are already too much to bear in a bankrupt nation borrowing to sustain an "even keel" level of care.  What do I mean by "incentives" being skewed?  Physicians and health care providers are reimbursed for a never-ending cycle of life-sustaining expenditures for seniors that extend life but sometimes with the tradeoff for quality of life compromises in the name of advancing medical science.  Aged grandparents and great-grandparents become little more than lab rats for government funded research.  Is that too harsh for you?  That's what we've got now.

Re-enthroning states' rights linked with free market competition among carriers would be a huge first step.  Given choices, let consumers be in charge of their care.  Intermountain Health Care is well on the way to showing the path to the rest of the nation.  The federal government needs to stand down and get out of health care reform and education.

The House last week finally heard and acted based upon the will of the electorate.  Yes, it may be "symbolic" as a repeal vote this year, but if the trend continues look for the electorate to take back the other chamber and the White House before the real damage is done when Obamacare kicks into high gear in 2014.  The question remains, will the angst survive another two years?

Power still resides in the majority that can choose to defund or repeal.  This "symbolic" vote was the first step.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Orrin Hatch Announces He's In for 2012

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

To be precise: Orrin Hatch was born on March 22, 1934, making him 78 years old on election day 2012.

He would be 84 years old at the end of his SEVENTH term if re-elected. He will have served 36 years at the end of his current term.

I have great respect and admiration for Senator Hatch. I've worked with him and his staff and been successful with an important issue. I thank him personally for his efforts for us.

We can argue about his record, but know this: Every senator's record has pockmarks on it after 36 years. He has represented Utah for a long time and he has done so with great distinction in the minds of the majority of Utahns, myself included.

However, he is in a Senate that is currently seeing more turnover than ever before in history. In 2012, the trend will continue. The last two elections cycles produced about one-third of the current members of the Senate: There have been 32 new senators sworn in since 2008, which represents the fastest turnover rate since the 1978 and 1980 elections, which together added 38 new members. 

One of the contributing factors leading to America's present situation is the seniority system. It must be gutted voluntarily by the parties and fresh blood infused into the process.

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Our present situation happened on Hatch's watch. He's off to a good start with the balanced budget amendment, but here's a list that Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) just tweeted today, signaling he'll be holding Hatch's toes to the fire if Hatch falters or weakens. Chaffetz asserts there are more than 1,000 committees spending more than $400 million with 74,000 appointees, among them some "czars." All who think we'll miss them when they're gone, please raise your hands.

It's time for change. Massive change, with severe, drastic, deep cuts in spending.

New candidates for Senator Hatch's seat, please apply. You in, Jason?  Who else?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Political Quote of the Day

George F. Will
I stumbled over this magnificent summary of where we were at America's exceptional founding, where we are today at the commencement of the 112th Congress, and where we are headed in the future.  It comes from George Will, and you can read the whole article here:

The American Revolution was a political, not a social revolution; it was about emancipating individuals for the pursuit of happiness, not about the state allocating wealth and opportunity. Hence our exceptional Constitution, which says not what government must do for Americans but what it cannot do to them.

Americans are exceptionally committed to limited government because they are exceptionally confident of social mobility through personal striving. And they are exceptionally immune to a distinctively modern pessimism: It holds that individuals are powerless to assert their autonomy against society's vast impersonal forces, so people must become wards of government, which supposedly is the locus and engine of society's creativity.

Two years into Barack Obama's presidency, we now know what he meant about "hope" and "change" — he and other progressives hope to change our national character. Three weeks into his presidency, Newsweek, unhinged by adoration of him, and allowing its wishes to father its thoughts, announced that "we are all socialists now" and that America "is moving toward a modern European state." The electorate emphatically disagreed, and created the 112th Congress, with its exceptionally important agenda.

* * *

As I read Will's article this morning, I was reminded of a particularly tense moment in my personal history.  We were a group of bold entrepreneurs attempting the impossible -- lobbying Congress for an important piece of a financial puzzle for the benefit of charities.  We had been gathered in an anteroom next to the hearing room normally occupied by the Senate Finance Committee in the Senate Office Building in Washington D.C.  

We had been in a session with representatives from the Congressional Budget Office and staff members of two senators on the Senate Finance Committee.  It had not gone well.  It was obvious there was opposition from the other senator's chief of staff, who had apparently urged the CBO not to cooperate.  Whatever the explanation, clearly no one was acting in good faith.  As we left without the needed resolution in hand, we were beaten down, abjectly defeated and without hope.  

We returned to our hotel, gathered our luggage and left in dismay for the airport to return to our various destinations.  We felt as though our project had failed, the limo ride to the airport uncharacteristically silent and the mood morose.  

One phone call changed everything.  "Turn around and come back to my condo, cancel your flights and be prepared to stay another day.  We have a solution."  

As we gathered again early that evening we learned the senator who had been championing our cause had instructed his chief of staff to "fix it" when he heard about our rejection by the CBO.  

We learned there is a devise often used between senators called a colloquy that could be inserted into the Senate record, summarizing our position with the negotiated acquiescence of the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  A colloquy is a summary of a "conversation" that never really happens but it is put into the record as though it did.  The details are hammered out by staff, an agreement over language is secured by the two senators, and it becomes part of the official record as though the conversation had actually occurred.

We labored over the language that evening together, spelling out in detail what we needed as an exception in the pending adverse legislation, negotiating as we went between the two staffs of the opposing senators (even though they were both Republicans).  

Finally, late that night we reached agreement on the needed language for the colloquy and one of our group uttered this memorable phrase I have never forgotten:  "A spontaneous display of morale suddenly broke out."   

Our senator personally walked the colloquy onto the Senate floor at 1:00 a.m. in the morning to give it to the clerk so it could be inserted into the Senate record.  We had come back from the brink of a seemingly impossible precipice moment to final achievement of our goal.  We had won the battle and we had won the war, but it didn't happen until the last extremity had been visited.  (I suppose to be brutally honest, we lost the "war" when the financial markets melted down and our project cratered, but we sure won a lot of improbable battles like this one along the way).

I wonder if that isn't analogous to where we are today in America.  The 112th Congress, as they commence their path back from the brink of the legislative devastation of the last two years has all our hopes for the future of America in their hands.

Sorry if that sounds too melodramatic.  To those who insist the last two years have been a legislative "triumph" for social re-engineering, you have valid point.  The sheer weight of the paper alone is prodigious and without precedent. But I would ask, "At what cost?"

Men and women of goodwill from both parties serving in this 112th Congress must (and I believe WILL) find critical solutions to America's most pressing problem -- reducing spending, debt and deficits. Polling data among Americans suggests they still have a long way to go before they are pleasing their boss.  Once that is achieved, let's reduce government and make it truly "limited." In a crisis, America has always risen to the occasion.  Freedom depends upon it.

Watch for new leadership and morale to break out.