In war, the term "collateral damage" is used when unintended victims are hurt or killed.
It seems to me that the current war in Washington over the future direction of our country is creating collateral damage not only among the people directly affected, but also to our sense of economic freedom.
People all over the nation have been impacted by the recent government standoff and subsequent shutdown. It particularly impacted two groups that should never be "punished" for their service. I'm talking about our veterans and our nation's truckers, who, to get attention from our government, had to take matters into their own hands — a move that I support 100 percent.
Have we come so far in our animosity that we have forgotten Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address? His stirring words resonate even more strongly today: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."
This is a message not lost on our nation's veterans. Some of the very same former GIs that stormed the beaches of Normandy joined thousands of people who stormed the World War II Memorial to tear down the barricades that blocked access to the memorial.
It was an act in keeping with men and women in our military who never sat back and shirked from action. They fought for this country and were willing to fight again to regain their rights.
The veteran groups wanted to publicize the impact the shutdown had on many vets and their families amid concerns of delayed disability pay, GI Bill education stipends and other benefits.
Ironically, these brave veterans and their families, who uphold, fight and die for our constitution, were being punished by politicians that ignored the principles of our Constitution. It is shameful for this country to turn its back on those who gave so much.
As frustrated as the veterans are, so are our nation's interstate truckers. The RT website noted that Truckers Riding for the Constitution brought some 3,000 truckers and thousands of demonstrators on foot to Washington to demand the administration uphold the Constitution.
"Somebody had to do it," Zeeda Andrews, a former country singer and Mac Truck spokesmodel told RT. "Maybe that's because the American people are just fed up. It's more than just a trucking issue now, we are in a constitutional crisis and something has to be done, and it's common people like myself — with nothing to lose — who are going to get something done."
What these groups have in common is they are fighting for economic freedom and for this government to follow the tenets of the Constitution.
Visiting the site for the National Centers for Constitutional Studies, I came across the following: "America's Constitution did not mention freedom of enterprise per se, but it did set up a system of laws to secure individual liberty and freedom of choice in keeping with Creator-endowed natural rights. Out of these, free enterprise flourished naturally. Even though the words 'free enterprise' are not in the Constitution, the concept was uppermost in the minds of the Founders. Already, in 1787, Americans were enjoying the rewards of individual enterprise and free markets. Their dedication was to securing that freedom for posterity."
Do you think that Jefferson, in his worst nightmare, would have ever envisioned the entire government shutting down over a political dispute? He and his fellow Founding Fathers would never have imagined the current state of affairs in Washington and how it could destroy our economy.
And most importantly, how can the rest of world continue to hold America up as the model for free enterprise for its sound and dependable economy when its own government representatives are not capable of taking care of the country's business for which they were elected?
This is the collateral damage afflicting our nation and it must stop before too many people are hurt economically, emotionally and spiritually. And veterans and truckers are standing to reclaim their constitutional rights. I stand squarely in their corner.
James Madison once wrote: "The enviable condition of the people of the United States is often too much ascribed to the physical advantages of their soil and climate. . . . But a just estimate of the happiness of our country will never overlook what belongs to the fertile activity of a free people and the benign influence of a responsible government."
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