Check "Yes" or "No"

Republicans have become the “Party of No” – Heard that one lately?  It certainly seems as if one cannot turn on the television, pick up a newspaper or peruse Al Gore’s internet without running across some flippant liberal/progressive reference to the GOP’s “Just-Say-No” attitude.  Over the past several months, Democrats have consistently (and increasingly) blasted those in the conservative movement for their “unwillingness to act” on a number of initiatives, the most prominent of which has been health care reform.  Republicans – for the most part – have stood firm in the face of these criticisms, citing Ellen Glasgow: “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.”

Put more simply – Just because we can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean we should.  As a parent, I certainly can relate to this concept.  Nearly every weekday morning, I awaken my 9 year-old and get this question: “Can I stay home from school today?”  My answer: “No.”  My 4 year-old daughter would like to eat M&M’s and Ding Dongs for breakfast every day.  My answer: “No.”  And my beloved 7 year-old wants her very own real, live horse (mind you, we live in town and don’t even have a fence for our dog).  Thus, my answer?  You guessed it.

“No” is one of the first words we ever learn to speak and one of the easiest in the English language to pronounce.  Ironically, it seems to be one of the most difficult to use, particularly in Washington.  The use of the word “No” – in my opinion – is highly underrated.  Imagine if Bill Clinton had said “No” when Monica Lewinsky strolled through the Oval Office in her little blue dress and snapped her thong in front of his desk.  What if Richard Nixon had said “No” when presented with the opportunity to break into Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel?  What if Neville Chamberlain and the rest of Europe had said “No” to Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia in 1938?

Consider this – Where would we be today had people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. not stood up and said “No – these circumstances are unacceptable.”  What if Abraham Lincoln (the first Republican President) hadn’t said “No” to the expansion of slavery in the United States?  What if our founders had remained silent in the face of tyranny, taxation and oppression?  “No” – it’s a difficult word to say sometimes, particularly when saying “Yes” will result in immediate praise and adoration from others.  But consequences are a stubborn occurrence.

If my 9 year-old doesn’t go to school, he doesn’t become a productive member of society (and I get a visit from Family Services).  If my 4 year-old eats M&M’s and Ding Dongs for breakfast every morning, she thinks I am the coolest dude alive; but, eventually, she has no teeth left and she looks like one of the residents of Sea World.  I could buy my 7 year-old a horse – and once again, I earn the title of “coolest dad on the planet” – until, that is, I get sued by my homeowner’s association and have the folks from PETA standing in my driveway with protest signs.

“No” is a difficult word to say.  Saying “No” takes courage.  The primary reason our nation is on the verge of complete and total financial ruin is precisely because of the fact that politicians from both political parties have lacked the courage to say “No” to anyone for anything for the better part of the last century.  America has become an entitlement society.  Americans have been conditioned into a belief that we can walk into a doctor’s office, be seen, be treated, be healed, pay our $25.00 “co-pay,” and let someone else pay the rest of the bill (oh yes, there is more than just the co-pay, folks).  We have been taught that we can pay people to not work (and then continue to extend those benefits endlessly, as if this encourages the unemployed to run out and find employment).  We have been led to believe that we have a right to own a home even though we don’t have sufficient income to pay for that home (and that when we default on the loan the “evil” banks can be forced by the government to renegotiate the terms of the loan so that it’s “more in our price-range”).  We’ve been eating M&M’s and Ding Dongs for the entirety of our lives and now it’s time to take a good, long look in the mirror.

President Obama and the Democrats in Congress would have you believe that we can continue to eat what we’ve been eating for the last century and that everything will be just fine – “Yes We Can!”  Republicans have expressed a desire to come to grips with our problems; admit our failures; and put an end to this destructive behavior that is leading our nation down a pathway to disaster – “Just Say No!”

On November 2, 2010, you will have the opportunity to make a choice with respect to which path you believe will lead us back to sustained, long-term prosperity – and right now, that choice could not be any clearer.  It’s as easy as “Yes” or “No.”  Choose wisely.

cross-posted at http://BrentTeichman.wordpress.com