The Joy of Common Purpose

I planned to get new brakes on my car and to rearrange the storage room in the basement with my week off between Christmas and New Year's. Solitary tasks. Yesterday, though, like many of you, I read about the Blog Burst for Fred Thompson. I linked to Captain's Quarter's (where I first read the story), then to Rick Moran and John Hawkins, who seem to have launched the effort. For the rest of the day, I found myself e-mailing friends and posting updates about the effort to raise enough money for Fred to run a commercial in Iowa lead up to the caucuses.

My solitary plans fell asunder, as I took part in something larger than myself and my little goals.

With three and a half hours to go, it looks like Fred will get the quarter of a million dollars he needs. The money is only one part of his ambition; the other part is to close the 15-point gap between him and the Huckster. By comparison, the money raising has been a walk in the park. {continued below}

Helping, in a very tiny way, the noble aims of a larger group gives a satisfaction nothing else matches. Being a team sport athlete (hockey, baseball, basketball, football) and an actor, I am familiar with the feeling. Still, everytime it returns, whether it's during the opening night performance of a musical or on the internet advancing a cause, I'm surprised. Surprised by joy, to steal a line from C. S. Lewis.

This is all a very long approach to thanking Sean, Rick, Fred, Captain Ed, and the others who've put this effort together. It cost me some time and a few dollars, but I've already earned interest in satisfaction. I'm sure others have, too. With all the complaining we do about politics, it offers an opportunity for ordinary folks to work on an extraordinary experiment in self-governance--the same experiment Lincoln spoke of "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

Well, 140 years later, that nation breathes on. A little worse for wear in places. Few of us remember why Jefferson, Washington, Jay, Hamilton, Adams, and others launched this experiment. The notion of small government, educated self-interest, and federalism have become concepts that some can define but few can feel.

Fred Thompson feels these tenets of freedom as vigorously as Hamilton and Madison ever did. The concepts that founded our experiment and to which we are so conceived and so dedicated endure in his heart and mind. They permeate his words.

By taking a few hours and a few dollars to fuel such a noble campaign is tiny sacrifice. With the world ready shovel into America's grave, Fred--and, if I may be so bold, you and I--stand between the grave diggers and our beloved experiment, yelling "Stop!"

Thank you all.

***UPDATE***

Gribbit offers much deserved praise for John Hawkins efforts on behalf of Fred.

Also, Fred08 leads off with a video thanking you for your support and a request, from Fred himself, for the final few dollars to put the ad buy blog burst over the top.

Federalism Primer

imwithfred.JPG Imagine you live on a busy street, and you have small children. You want to get a stop sign put up on one of the cross streets near your house to slow people down. You just need to know whom to talk to.

In a country like the United States where federalism has been replaced by Big Government, you probably need to get hold of your U. S. Congressman. If he's so inclined, he'll attach an amendment that authorizes the placement of the stop sign to some bill. Several years later, if the bill makes it through Congress and the amendment isn't stricken by procedure before the final vote, the bill passes and the president signs it. Chances are, you'll get your sign two years later. Your little kids, 4 and 6 at the time you started the effort, are closing in on high school--or they've been hit by a car.

Under federalism, the most important decisions to a family like yours are made by your family or by your local, municipal government. In a federalist system, you'd need to contact your city council member. If your neighbors don't object, you can get your stop sign in a month or two, while your kids are still young enough and alive enough to benefit from it.

Here's the difference: in modern America, your opinion is in competition with 300 million other Americans. In federalism, your idea competes with the people who live in your town or state. If you can't handle your town's politics, move to the next town; if you can't live with your country's politics, move the next country?

I prefer federalism. Don't you?

Why a piece on Federalism? It's all over the blogs:

Kicking Over My Traces

Keith D. Milby

Politics Lobby 4

Bill Hennessy 1 and Bill Hennessy 2