Sometimes it’s good when things come to a head

For many years (probably more than a decade), I battled a subcutaneous staph infection.  Most of the time, it wasn’t a problem, but when my immune system got low for any reason, I’d get painful outbreaks.  I hated the outbreaks, but tolerated them without medical intervention because they invariably went away on their own.  Given that tincture of time worked, I was loath to try more aggressive treatment, which would have come in the form of antibiotics.  I react very, very badly to antibiotics, veering between disabling nausea and hives, which are scary, since they can be the predicate to a full blown anaphylactic reaction.  In other words, I had a problem and, while it often had a debilitating effect on me, I avoided addressing it directly, since passivity seemed to work.

A couple of months ago, possibly because years of dealing with the staph infection had finally compromised my immune system beyond the point of no return, I had an outbreak that I couldn’t ignore.  A trip to the doctor’s office gave me only three alternatives, none of which was tincture of time:  surgery, which wasn’t likely to be successful; antibiotics; or almost certain sepsis.  I bit the bullet and took the antibiotics.  I was sick as a dog for 10 days, but I didn’t get hives, so I stuck with the horrible cure.

I’ve now gone two months without an outbreak, which is a record for me.  It’s also a great relief not to suffer the pain and inconvenience of the outbreaks.  The fact is, though, if things hadn’t become serious — that is, if matters hadn’t come to a head — I would have just bumbled along, dealing ineffectually with a chronically recurring problem, rather than submitting to a comprehensive treatment that terminated the staph infection entirely.  As I’d feared, the treatment was awful but, in retrospect, the relief from a chronic staph infection made it all worth while.

It occurred to me looking back on my experience that it works pretty well as a political analogy.  America has had a Statist infection for a long time.  Most of the time it wasn’t a problem but, whenever the opportunity arose, Statists inserted themselves into the body politic.  America was always big enough to absorb the hits to its “immune system,” whether those hits occurred in the areas of education, the economy, social norms, or national security.  The country bumbled along, electing Democratic presidents and booting them out (1980) or bringing them to heel (1994).  Meanwhile, without our becoming aware of it, our national immune system weakened incrementally in the face of these continued, but tolerable, assaults.

Starting in 2008, however, the American immune system had clearly become too weakened to bounce back from the continued hits.  In the past two years, we’ve seen that tincture of time is inadequate to deal with the sustained Statist assaults on the American body politic.  Matters are coming to a head in the form of a corrupt, inept, and quite possibly highly malevolent White House and Congress, both of which seem to be unconstrained by constitutional concerns.

Under the watch of this malignant duo, we’ve seen our economy come near collapse under policies that are stupidly, or, perhaps, intentionally, geared towards its total destruction; our national security become a “man caused disaster” joke; our southern coast line, not to mention our energy underpinnings, threatened with destruction as a result of federal policies that reflect either gross incompetence or a deliberate intention, either to destroy Big Oil or to enrich president-maker George Soros (or both); our health care system become subject to legislation that will bring down America’s premier health care system; our enemies empowered; and our allies assaulted.

In other words, matters have come to a head.  The Statist infection that’s been lurking forever has so compromised our nation that we are on the verge of going septic.  We can no longer sit back and wait for things simply to resolve themselves by virtue of America’s social and political immune system.  We, as Americans, must act.  And indeed, that’s what Americans have been doing.  The Tea Party movement, which has seen normally placid conservatives taking to the streets in the hundreds and thousands is a form of aggressive treatment that is already putting the Statist infection on the defensive.  The internet is another weapon in the arsenal, as people committed to individual freedoms exercised within a strong and safe America bypass the media that has helped spread the infection.

The last weapon, of course, is a totally engaged electorate.  Being passive, saying that one political party is pretty much like the other, or that one vote really doesn’t matter very much, is a death sentence to a healthy body politic, and an invitation to going toxic and going down.  In November, people who care about America’s fundamental health, people who recognize that matters have finally come to a head, must vote.

We’ve seen this moment before in American history.  I’ll leave you with Thomas Paine’s immortal words:

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

This is our winter and we must soldier on.