Marathon, Not a Sprint

So here we are, at the eve of the “most momentous vote in the history of Congress” or some such thing.  News networks and blogs and the twitterati are breathlessly counting down every single vote, every arm twisted over at Pelosiville, all the maneuvering, all the posturing, all the tactics.  The phrase “whip count” is now a prominent part of our vocabulary.  Dan Perrin calls out Fox News on the frontpage for hyping the Dem whip count. And eburke’s wonderful, awesome diary gives us all courage in these final moments.

But… I have a slightly different view of these events.

In sports parlance, this is a must-win game for us.  There’s no doubt about that.  As eburke said:

Am I underestimating the lengths and depths that these enemies of freedom will go to enact the Holy Grail of socialism for which they have schemed and plotted for 70 years? Absolutely not. Do I understand that the stakes have never been higher; that the carrot of pork and the stick of broken body parts will be tough to overcome. You bet Nancy Pelosi’s botox-injected bottom I do.

I’m just saying “Screw ‘em!” If we lose this, then let’s lose kicking and screaming and punching and gouging right up until they close the vote on Sunday. Let us not get so caught up in their lies, deceit and utter lack of scruples that we become discouraged and give up the fight before the final blow has been struck.

At the same time, I would like to remind all of us that this is but one battle in the larger war against statism, socialism, and collectivism.  This is a war that has been going on at least since the Progressive era in the early 20th century (see, e.g., Liberal Fascism), and if we think of it in terms of Liberty vs. the would-be Kings, then from the dawn of human history.

Two implications arise from this thought.

If We Lose

First, should we lose this battle against socialized medicine, we cannot give up even then.  As I see it, the LibProgs would love nothing more than to make this monstrosity the killing blow against the forces of individual liberty.  The doomsayers even on our side would explain that once we have socialized medicine, the country is permanently on the path to socialism until we end up like Greece or the UK.

So if Pelosi, Reid and Obama somehow manage by hook or by crook or by wholly unconstitutional measures to get this bill passed, signed into “law”, and said law survives numerous legal challenges… they’d like us to believe that the game is over.  As Obama said during the Sham-Wow Summit, “The election is over, John.”  That is what they’d like us to believe.  We would get demoralized, withdraw from politics, move to Texas, and start stockpiling food and ammo.

I’d like to say, “NO” to that.  Even if we should lose, and lose kicking and screaming, and Sunday comes and the “historic vote” goes against us… it isn’t over.  Perhaps one chapter is over, and the passage of nationalized healthcare marks the end of the beginning, but I refuse to agree that it means the beginning of the end.

We will fight on, first to nullify, second to repeal.  We will remove every single “Yes” vote on the bill, replace those who may have been squishy in defending individual liberty, and build to win the next one.  And build and build to win the larger war.

If We Win

Second, should we win tomorrow, then like a great sports team, we’ll celebrate for a day or two… but then get back to work.  Even if we win this battle, the war is not over.  Let me say that again: even if we win this battle against socialized medicine, the war against statism is not over.

Our energies are directed against this monstrosity, and for good reason.  But even if we win, we simply cannot relax, cannot let our guard down, or slap each other on the back and go back to the “way things were”.  We now see very clearly what the Left in this country wants to accomplish.  We now see the depths to which they would sink in order to get their agenda imposed on us.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Like the nation’s War Against Islamists, and prior to that like our struggle against international Communism, this is a multi-generational war.  It will not end with a single battle, a clear declaration of victory or surrender, on either side.  The LibProgs will not surrender, acknowledge defeat, and become freedom-loving pro-market libertarians, because they lost one battle or another.  Neither can we.

The Long War

The Tea Parties and the other uprising by the average American are hopeful signs.  We have always known that the American people are mostly conservative-leaning, if almost entirely disconnected from politics.  It’s built in to our national character: the frontier spirit, the independence, the leave-me-alone attitude.  We now know that the Left has taken advantage of that to build a multi-generational capacity to implement their agenda: our schools, our churches, our media, our government institutions — they have all been penetrated and corrupted by the Left in systematic fashion.

The Long War for us then is simple: we win, they lose.  Just as in the War Against Islamists, we must fight against the ideology while we win on the ground.  We must contest and win every election, but start the war against the ideology of the Left: that the state is supreme, and the individual small; that the community trumps the personal; that the United States is a government that takes care of its denizens, rather than a people who have a government.  We must take the fight to their institutions, discredit their ideas, attack their ideology to show it for tyranny that it is, and never ever relax.

We have done this once already as a nation.  Our war against racial inequality began almost from the start of the Republic; it took hundreds of years, and we fought a Civil War partially to reaffirm the idea that the color of a man’s skin is not reason enough to enslave him.  We fought bloody battles in the streets against racist ideology that held blacks are inferior to whites.  And we fought battles in our institutions to reject and discredit the ideology of racism.

We might have gone too far in many cases in our zeal to stamp out the ideology of racial superiority, such that political correctness and the like are now new problems we need to correct.  But in the big picture, that is a war that we as a nation have won.  You cannot find anyone other than a fringe kook who believes that blacks are inferior to whites, that blacks shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and so on.

And disagree as I might with Barack Obama, the fact that the United States of America elected a black man to the highest office in the land is a clear sign that we, as a people, have won the war against racism.

We now need to win the war against statism.  It will take years, generations, perhaps even centuries.  We may have to fight bloody streetfights, as the Civil Rights Movement has had to do.  But that is the war.

The battle over Obamacare is a big one; we will fight like hell to win this one.  But that is a battle.

Win or lose, I submit to you that we are in a marathon, not a sprint.  That we are engaged in the Long War against tyranny and statism.  That we cannot give up if we lose, and we cannot relax if we win.

So gird up.  Prepare for the long haul.  Teach your children well, so that they might teach theirs.