Government Shutdown, Public Awakening?

By: Matt McBride

In 2013, a plethora of events have provoked public outcry: for example, the attempt to exploit the Sandy Hook shootings to justify new gun control; the NSA’s PRISM program and the right to privacy; and the Syrian Civil War and America’s role in the world. Campaign for Liberty members stopped the attempts to impose new gun control and helped force President Obama to back away from his Syrian War plans. And while Campaign for Liberty members remain engaged on these issues, most people quickly forget about them once they have disappeared from the headlines.

This time, however, with the “government shutdown,” is different. Our federal government is so bloated that just about everyone knows someone who has been furloughed. Or they have been sent the photos of veterans being removed from memorials because of the “shutdown.” Or they have seen their insurance premiums rise or their hours cut as their employer tries to comply with ObamaCare’s mandates. One would think the shutdown and the problems with ObamaCare would cause more citizens to become actively involved in the policy debates. History tells us differently.

Since 2000, general election turnout rates have stayed steady around 60 percent for presidential election years and around 40 percent in off years:

Compared with the rest of the world, voter turnout in the United States is among the lowest, and, even following some of the most turbulent events in American history, a significant rate of increase in presidential elections did not occur. For example, over the course of the Vietnam War, voter turnout hovered around 60 percent and even tailed off 5 percent in 1972.  Other noteworthy events, such as the Watergate Scandal, the Savings and Loan Crisis of the ‘80s, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, failed to result in substantially higher turnout.

In 1867, John Stuart Mill said, "Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing," and the message is certainly as relevant today as it was then. What is uncertain is what it will take to produce a truly active citizenry in America - maybe something as momentous as the next major economic crisis that will occur if government does not stop spending and the Federal Reserve does not stop inflating.

Fortunately, as Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul likes to remind us, we do not need a majority to win. All we need is an “irate and tireless minority.” Campaign for Liberty was established to train and mobilize the “irate minority,” who not only understand the problems and what is wrong but know what must be done to reverse the growth of government - and are willing to get involved in the efforts to limit government and restore our lost liberties.

As we continue to advocate for these principles, we invite you to join us in our fight to Reclaim the Republic and Restore the Constitution. 

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