Commentary by Ron Miller
Although I've been in the professional workplace for 27 years, I still look back on my service as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force as a time of great purpose and personal satisfaction. For nine and a half years, I was a defender of American liberties and an ambassador overseas for American values and character. Every time I put on the uniform, I was the face of my country to people in foreign lands, and I bore on my shoulders the legacy of American warriors dating back to the Continental Army, not to mention the honor of my father, who gave more than 22 years of his life to the U.S. Air Force.
It is because of the pride with which I served my country that I look on last week's election results with a mixture of hope and despair. I've lived in twelve states and three foreign countries as a military dependent and a veteran, and I have a keen sense of what makes America the greatest nation in human history. I've lived in lands where people surrendered their liberty for order and security, and I've felt the exhilaration of coming home from overseas and reveling in the vastness and abundance of my homeland. We are blessed with prosperity because we are free.
The overwhelming message of the 2010 mid-term elections was "liberty above all else." Pundits can spin it however they choose, but it wasn't an anti-incumbent message; 89 percent of incumbents won reelection. The last time a mid-term election resulted in so dramatic a rejection of the party in power was 1938, when Americans lost confidence in President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the Republicans won 72 seats and control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Then, as now, Americans took their country back - not in a chronological sense, which is the lie liberals tell us to invoke negative images from our nation's past, but in a philosophical sense, returning America to its roots of liberty and self-governance, and elevating the individual over government rather than the reverse.
That's what makes the results in Maryland so incredibly disheartening.
While the rest of the nation said yes to liberty, Maryland, with few exceptions, decided to stay with the status quo of expanding, encroaching government, fueled by deficit spending that promises to keep our economy depressed and our children and grandchildren buried in debt.
What is responsible for this apparent willingness to bankrupt our state and our nation? Is their fate irrelevant as long as the special interests get theirs? Don't they know that time has run out, that we are out of money, that the private sector has no more to give, and those who still have jobs are working nearly a third of the year just to satiate government's voracious appetite?
I love southern Maryland, our church, and the lifelong friends we've made here who are closer than family, but it seems the will of our region is constantly being suffocated by politicians and jurisdictions that despise liberty because it gets in the way of their coercive utopian vision of redistributing our "sweat equity", the fruits of our labor, to favored interests groups and illegal aliens, all with their noses buried in the government trough.
Why is Calvert County yoked with representatives like Joe Vallario and Jim Proctor, who don't live here or stand for anything we believe in?
How could we have reelected a governor who thinks the private sector is nothing more than a government ATM, and whose economic literacy is so arrested he doesn't understand that you can't love jobs and wealth, yet hate the ones who create them?
It's getting harder for us to live here. Like roughly 216,000 other Marylanders, I lost my job this year and was forced to become self-employed, and this has been my family's most difficult year in over 26 years of marriage. I had hope that rising unemployment and billion dollar annual deficits would wake us up to the horrible job the one-party monopoly in Annapolis has done, but for some reason, most Marylanders still believe their rescue will come from the very government that is killing small businesses and the jobs they create.
Taxes will go up because the economic illiterates we elected haven't figured out that the reason their higher taxes haven't resulted in higher revenue is because they're killing the private sector, and there are fewer businesses and fewer people working who can actually pay taxes. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and we will all pay the price for bigger government, whether it's with our wallets, our jobs, or our ability to decide for ourselves and our families how we will live.
Because of my military service, I understand the value and the fragility of freedom more than most. I understand what an exceptional nation our founders created, and I know what has made her exceptional isn't her government, but her people living in freedom. The rest of the country seems to have gotten the message, but there are enclaves like Maryland that are so hostile to liberty, free markets and self-governance that I wonder why me and my fellow veterans bothered to make the sacrifice.
This Veterans Day, at least here in Maryland, feels more like a requiem for glories past rather than a celebration of present and future freedoms secured by the blood of our men and women in uniform. I hope we will take the time to understand why we honor our veterans in the first place. It's not just because of what they have done and continue to do, but why they do it - for freedom, a principle that is losing ground in the so-called Free State.
Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Toms Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.