If you knew a devastating flood was coming, what would you do? Would you grab some chips, plunk down in a recliner and grab the remote?
Of course not. And yet, that's essentially what our leaders in Washington are doing: They're carrying on as if the sun were shining and everything were peachy, when in fact a catastrophic flood of unsustainable federal spending is enveloping the nation.
And it's our children who are drowning.
Here's a synopsis: We already owe $12 trillion. We're adding over a trillion in debt every year now. The government is also obligated to spend more than $60 trillion in future Social Security and Medicare benefits -- and no one, but no one, has any idea where that money is coming from. Meanwhile, when Social Security revenues start dipping below expenditures in the next decade, as baby boomers retire, the federal government will have to come up with that money as well.
And, oh by the way, Washington has already been spending our retirement nest egg on other things all these years (which, if done by anyone else, would be a crime), so all those IOUs will come due as well.
All this spending cannot help but crowd out other domestic and national security spending.
In short, this government's unprecedented excess is endangering the republic. The orgy of spending could collapse our currency, cripple America's quality of life and immorally saddle future generations with debt that we incurred.
No economist of any repute on either side of the ideological spectrum disagrees on that. And both major political parties are equally at fault.
Enter the Tea Party movement.
The most significant grass-roots mobilization since perhaps the civil rights era, the Tea Party cause has nonetheless been mocked, attacked and ignored by much of the "mainstream" media for the past year. So don't expect to see this statement anywhere else: Its rise from an angry lament by a lone television commentator to a serious political force with a national convention in just one year is one of the astounding political stories of our time.
It all started with an impromptu, live on-air rant by CNBC personality Rick Santelli, who suggested a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party to protest the out-of-control federal government.
That, it turns out, was all the inspiration needed by hundreds of thousands of Americans worried about their freedoms and their country's future. And so, this week, after months of rallies across the country over the past year and a mammoth march on Washington, the Tea Party movement met as one in Nashville, Tenn.
Organizers were said to formulate their first national strategy Friday: to work within the confines of the Republican Party to elect conservative candidates who agree to further the Tea Party agenda of smaller government, less spending, individual freedoms and strong national security.
The way forward for this young movement will be most treacherous. There are so many things that can kill a 1-year-old. It's almost impossible to keep such a movement alive; divergent factions are always present in any large group, and disagreements on the best path to take could prove fatal if cool heads and compromise don't win the day.
Moreover, while working within the Republican Party is probably the best option -- rather than taking the dead-end "third party" route once blazed by Ross Perot's Reform Party -- it will be an exceedingly delicate matter to work within one of the major parties without being co-opted by it.
This is not, and cannot be, a Republican movement. It is a conservative crusade -- and one of the few genuine grass-roots efforts in our lifetimes capable of effecting massive change to American society.
Columnist Charles Krauthammer today (see below), expresses optimism that the peasants who are revolting -- or maybe the "revolting" peasants, in the minds of the liberal elites -- will impose their will on the government that was set up by the Constitution to be servant rather than master.
"No matter how far the ideological pendulum swings in the short term," Krauthammer says, "in the end the bedrock common sense of the American people will prevail."
Pray he's right.
The fledgling Tea Party movement may be the key to that.
The second year of the Tea Party will determine whether it lives or dies -- and perhaps, with it, the hopes of so many who love this country.