Today is the one year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law. You can’t escape it. The Mainstream Media’s celebrations are more ecstatic than those provoked by a March Madness last second game-winning shot. More significantly, and what really should be celebrated, is today’s anniversary of Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech in 1775, which lit the torch for freedom from Great Britain in the colonies.
It was a speech that resonated thousands of miles to inspire liberty in an era when paper tacked on a tree was considered mass communication; it similarly has transcended throughout time to freedom loving people on guard against the advance of the Leviathan. The spirit today remains willing. But is the body politic?
When he filed his lawsuit against ObamaCare last year, also on this very date, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli noted the appropriateness of defending liberty on the same day when — at a courthouse about a mile from St. John’s Church where — Mr. Henry inspired Virginia and a fledgling country. He made that point again today in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. But it is eerily ironic that a seminal event for the defense of freedom shares the anniversary day of the largest government grab of liberty in the history of the Republic.
This mammoth bipartisan vote surpasses even the 60-something vote the eminent domain reform statute received in 2007. Now, this coming Tuesday morning, the same Senate subcommittee that earlier in session listened to local governments and unelected housing and redevelopment authorities instead of their constituents, will get another chance to listen to the will of the people and protect your property rights.
Defending our property rights is a longstanding principle of The Family Foundation, and we’ve supported efforts for several years to pass a constitutional amendment that answers the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous and deplorable Kelo decision. Property rights affect all people, across all socio-economic and geographic lines. Perhaps the most affected are urban families, whose homes and businesses are considered an inconvenience to urban planners’ redevelopment schemes, most of which always fail (think Richmond’s 6th Street Marketplace).
While Virginia passed a law in 2007 in response to Kelo, developers, utilities, and local governments and housing and redevelopment authorities (who use your tax dollars to lobby against your rights) have tried each subsequent year to chip away at that statute. In short, as good as the statute is, it needs the protection only a constitutional amendment can provide.
People from all over the Commonwealth of Virginia are – some already have – descending on Richmond for the inaugural activities for the Old Dominion’s 71st governor, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell, re-elected Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, and Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli. Many of you may be on your way here for the swearing-in and the many parties and events, such as our Patrick Henry “Liberty or Death Speech” program.
We want your impressions of all the celebratory activities. Let us know! There are so many events and stories to tell: Whom did you meet? What did you think of the inaugural address? Did you like the parade? Any great photos? Maybe you were at one of the events during the week you can tell us about. What do you think of the food and clothing donation program? Even if you can’t be in Richmond, feel free to comment on the television coverage and your impressions from afar.
Check it out and compare notes with friend and others. Post as much as you like. We look forward to reading about all the great times. As an advance notice, we’ll do the same thing for our Lobby Day Monday, when several hundred more of you will be in town to lobby your legislators on behalf of traditional family values. Until then, have a safe and celebratory weekend, and we’ll see you in Richmond and online!
Those coming to Richmond for the inaugural festivities, or those who may already be here, are in for a treat. The weather, after weeks of uncomfortably, and unlikely, cold temperatures, has returned to normal on cue, as if to say, “nice job Richmond, you handled it well, here’s your just reward.” Who said patience isn’t a virtue? The reward has been many times the labor.
It feels more like mid-October than mid-January (wasn’t it just Christmas?) and Capitol Square is green and lush like a park in the spring. Lawmakers, lobbyists, bureaucrats, media and anyone and everyone is enjoying walks through Capitol Square today. It makes walking up the hill and the prospect of beating your head against the wall with delegates and senators more tolerable. The weather is only expected to be better Saturday for the swearing-in ceremony.
Not all the green in Capitol Square is nature made. There are seven large howitzers cocked and ready to blast their salute for Virginia’s 71st governor shortly after noon tomorrow. There are some inartistic, but inevitable mismatches, as well. Beautiful walkways, such as Darden Mall, which connects the General Assembly Building to Capitol Square, are marred with huge satellite trucks and their attendant dishes poking into the sky. So are tents. Lots of them. Most likely security check points. It’s supposed to be tight tomorrow, with several blocks and parking decks blocked off, reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth’s 2007 visit.
Generally, people are in a good mood. Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) came bounding down a hallway this morning and without missing a beat slapped me a high-five. It’s always this way before session gets too deep and egos bruised, but more so in an inauguration year. The freshmen delegates I’ve met are eager to learn and excited to make an impact. The cynic would say, “wide-eyed rookies.”
With larger numbers of members of the same party around now — lots of GOP’ers in the House, with their staffs, and the political appointees of the top three statewide officials — the weather isn’t the only thing putting smiles on faces. Winners always smile and there are lots of new ones this time around, especially from the Republican side. A bit of homogeneity, so to speak. There’s been, and will continue to be, many festivities throughout the weekend by the pols and special interest groups as well, from galas to prayer breakfasts. Parties and prayers. A combination that works every time. Especially in the celebration of high ideals.
In 2009, we achieved some of the biggest accomplishments since our inception. Winning Matters was a very successful voter education campaign, and we enjoyed the largest Gala attendance in Family Foundation history with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as our keynote speaker. But with a new year, a new administration and a new General Assembly — it starts tomorrow! — making 2009 a halcyon memory in the always fast paced world of politics, conservatives across the Old Dominion are focused on the now, motivated and active with the optimism new opportunities afford.
We certainly are at The Family Foundation. That it is to say, previous success should never slow future achievement. Instead, we want to build off of 2009′s momentum rather than reminisce, and make a bigger difference this year than ever before.
To do that, you have to strike fast and hard by capitalizing on your newfound gains and hold lawmakers’ feet to the fire. So, we are hosting our annual Family Foundation Day at the Capitol, Monday, January 18 — commonly known as “lobby day.” This is the way civic advocates and grassroots activists, like you, learn about what legislation, good and bad, will impact the lives of Virginia families in the 2010 General Assembly. Not only will you be educated on the issues by hearing great speakers, but you also will have the opportunity to speak directly to those delegates and senators that represent you in Richmond, and let them know of your desire to keep Virginia a great place to raise a family.
On that site, please be sure to register each individual attending with you. We will then make appointments for you with your legislators. We have made room for greater attendance than we have ever experienced in past lobby days and we are already ahead of where we were with registrations last year at this time. So, don’t miss out — or get squeezed out. Reserve places for yourself, your family and your friends at this important event. You may also register by e-mailing John Smith at email@example.com or by calling (804) 343-0010.
Family Foundation Day at the Capitol is Monday, January 18, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (registration begins at 9 :00) at the newly restored Hilton Garden Inn, 501 East Broad Street, a few blocks from Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol and General Assembly Building. The whole family is invited. In fact, one of the reasons we schedule Family Foundation Day at the Capitol on the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday is to give parents the opportunity to conduct their own field trip by bringing their children to Richmond to experience their commonwealth’s government at work. Now, there’s an education!
Session hasn’t started yet and already we have a Quote of the Day. However, it comes as no surprise as today is the second Tuesday of the month which means it’s Tuesday Morning Group Coalition meeting day. TMG President and dear friend John Taylor supplies it, and it wins not only for its self-deprecating humor, but because it mentions . . . us!
Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
No, we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t lay down with the expectation that vague and demagogic cries of “hope” will lead us to prosperity and liberty, while those espousing the hope, in fact, deviously take us down a path of oppressive limits on our freedom, rather than the freedom afforded by limited government, for which Henry fought.
Nor should we lay down in expectation that this fad, too, will run its course. It can be fought and won, despite the current wisdom, because as Henry also foretold:
Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power . . . millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations. …
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
From all of us at The Family Foundation of Virginia to all of you: Our best wishes for a happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year, one in which we all will need to be vigilant and redouble our efforts in the political battles ahead.
If only we could. … Bringing in the New Year with Patrick Henry would be a blast!
It’s only a few days until Christmas and the last thing that you want to do is put one more thing on your calendar right now. But this is for your 2010 calendar. It’s our annual Family Foundation Day at the Capitol. Just keep this in mind:
It recently cost $19,600,000 to win the Governor’s mansion.
Our current state budget has a $3,500,000,000 deficit.
But attendance at Family Foundation Day at the Capitol is priceless.
It’s also free, and with all the money we spend on friends and family during this holiday season, free opportunities come January are very enticing. Especially, since they can make such a dramatic difference in ensuring Virginia continues to be a great place to raise our families.
With that in mind, please make plans now to join us in Richmond for Family Foundation Day at the Capitol on Monday, January 18, 2010. It will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (registration begins at 9 am) at the new Hilton Garden Inn, 501 East Broad Street, just down the street from the Capitol and General Assembly Building. (The hotel is in the historic Miller & Rhodes building.)
This will be a fantastic day for you, or even the whole family, to learn what’s happening in the 2010 General Assembly, and actively engage your legislators on the family issues that are most important to you, as well as see the Commonwealth’s government in action. As always, we will meet in the morning where you will hear from key elected officials and then we will prearrange a meeting with your own delegates and senators for the afternoon.
To make a reservation, please contact John Smith by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (804) 343-0010. Space is limited so don’t delay and we look forward to seeing you on January 18.
We have lots of material built up from the last two days, plus Governor Tim Kaine’s shocking income tax increase and budget proposals earlier today that, as one radio reporter said, caused an audible gasp from each member on the committee. Since the entire state is going to get blanketed by 24.36 feet of snow starting tonight, you might as well site back and read it all.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) has cut some staff and perks from the House of Delegates — no more free coffee, boys and girls. He said he’s saved the Commonwealth $4.8 million since 2003 with a series of reductions, including new scheduling which allows members to travel to Richmond one day during for multiple out-of-session committee meetings rather than two or three separate occasions.
At the federal level, Senator Jim Webb (contact) penned a column in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record saying that he hasn’t made up his mind on the health care bill. Perhaps Virginians can help him conclude in the negative? The Wall Street Journal examines the Democrats’ pending electoral implosion due to Americans’ desire for the government not to own every industry and create new ones out of whole cloth. (“Climate change” and “green jobs”?)
But getting back to Governor Kaine’s desire to eliminate the car tax cut and/or raise the state income tax by one percent: As mentioned here several times in recent weeks, he has a peculiar idea of a legacy, doesn’t he? I know he’s been out of state a lot in recent months, but didn’t he see the election results? The people are demanding reductions in government, not more taxes. There’s never been a governor more determined to inflict economic pain on Virginians than he — every year seeking a giant tax increase, despite a campaign pledge not to — and now, this monstrosity. The winner in all this is Governor-to-be Bob McDonnell. If he keeps his pledge not to raise taxes, and balances the budget, after Kaine has basically said that it can’t be done that way, the new guy will pretty much own the state.
The Internet is an expanse of exploration and offers a joy of discovery and learning, but it also has a dark side populated by hardcore pornography and sexual predators. Keeping children safe while they explore the Web is a full time job. To help parents, Enough is Enough produced “Internet Safety 101,” a DVD program that helps parents understand the dangers of the Internet and how to protect their children.
As technology advances, the threats to children have moved far beyond chat rooms and My Space, to cel phones and even game systems like PS2 and Xbox. Unfortunately, too few parents are equipped to monitor everything that their children see online, or on their cel phone. “Internet Safety 101″ provides the tools necessary for child protection.
At the news conference (see WHSV.com), we announced a joint effort between ourselves, the Attorney General’s office, Pastors For Family Values (our pastors outreach ministry), and the Interfaith Center for Public Policy, where we will distribute 1,000 Internet Safety kits, upon request, to churches across Virginia. Churches can then use the material to train their congregations to better understand the threats that exist and how to combat them. We also will conduct a joint training for pastors and other church leaders on Thursday, March 4, 2010, in Richmond.
Over the years, The Family Foundation has urged the General Assembly to pass stronger penalties for child pornography and to do as much as possible to protect our children and our families on the Internet, but with the freedom that exists on the World Wide Web, we know that this goes far beyond anything government can really do. We as parents must take the necessary steps to protect our families. With the assistance of churches, we can educate and inform thousands more families, protect thousands more children, and hopefully, even save some lives. The materials produced by Enough is Enough are timely, they are effective, they are powerful, and they will absolutely help families in Virginia deal with the dangers that lurk on the Internet.
Clearly, these issues go beyond simply passing new laws (see WWBT/NBC12.com). We as parents, families and churches must do more to ensure that the experiences our children have on the Internet are safe. Our hope is that churches in our network will take advantage of these free resources and help their congregations learn the ins and outs of Internet safety.
If you’d like more information about this material for your church please call John Smith in our office at 804-343-0010 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
(Photo courtesy of the Office of Attorney General.)