Liberty and Prosperity Needs You
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
(Reprinted from the April 21, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties)
“A fish does not campaign against the fishing industry-it only tries to slip through the net. . .”
Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), author and political prisoner in the former Soviet Union.
It has now been almost seven years since I and a dozen others formed LibertyAndProsperity.org.
Our goals were first to explain how the message “Liberty and Prosperity” is as true and relevant today, as when those words became New Jersey’s motto in 1776. Second, was to teach Americans how to again be free and effective citizens.
At one time, almost every American knew that the only reason we had more wealth than any other people in the world was because we had more freedom, less government, and lower taxes than anyone else. And most Americans learned the skills of politics from day to day involvement in their churches, synagogues, and other volunteer civic and fraternal organizations.
In the 1950’s, only one parent had to work five days to comfortably support a family. As a kid, I read in My Weekly Reader that new inventions would soon make American workers so productive that one parent could support a family with only two days of work. Our generation’s biggest problem in the 21st Century would be figuring out what to do with all that leisure time!
But our baby-boom generation and our parents messed up. We instead became the first Americans in 400 years of our history to give our kids and grandkids less wealth, leisure, and safety than what our parents and grandparents gave us.
LibertyandProsperity.org is a very a small group. About a hundred people pay dues and donate money to us. Only about a dozen of us do 95% of the work. I do this column, a radio program, and an e-mail update.?? Dennis Mahon and Bruce Barkoff set up booths and signs at various events and festivals like the Somers Point Bayfest this Saturday. Jesse Kurtz updates our www.libertyandprosperity.org website. Mark Hutchinson shows a new Liberty movie every month in Mays Landing-and puts our signs along rural roads, where landowners give permission. Betty Lou Barnard, our treasurer, documents and accounts for every dime. Mel “Nate of Northfield” Nathanson and Mary Kazmarck are always there when needed. I ran out of space for the others.
But after seven years, we are tired. Business owners give generously to charities that help the poor, but do nothing to give them the freedom and opportunities to succeed on their own.
Doctors privately complain of how the government is ruining their profession. But only two doctors donated to our group, and not one had any time to work with us in any way.
Dozens of builders and real estate professionals complain of how ridiculous laws, union rules, and petty tyrants in local building departments drive up costs, and kill their profits. But they respond with big donations to the politicians who cause these problems, rather than help us demand fair and simple laws that apply equally to everyone.
Then there are the Tea Party People. Hundreds of them showed up at meetings around South Jersey during the past six months. But very few of them showed any interest in our projects to apply the Constitution to local issues–or our Campaign School on how to be an effective candidate for local public office.
Instead they spent countless hours at their computers sending e-mails to each other telling themselves how they were like the patriots of 1776. They also talked a lot about recalling U.S. Senator Menendez under state law, without reading Article VI which explains why such a recall is unconstitutional.
And they held another Tea Party Rally in Trenton last Thursday, April 15 and said about 2,000 people attended. The newspapers said it was 600. But what difference did it make? Governor Chris Christie was right there looking out his office window. But he did not open his door to greet the crowd—or invite any Tea Party people to meet with him.
Meanwhile, not a single Tea Party candidate ran for the Mainland High School board, even though two seats in Somers Point and one seat in Northfield had no candidates on the ballot. Anyone could have run unopposed just by getting 10 signatures on a petition! There were no Tea Party candidates in towns facing big tax hikes like Somers Point and Egg Harbor Township.
Are we at Liberty and Prosperity doing something wrong? Or have too many Americans today become like those fish Solzhenitsyn talked about?