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Bullets to Save Ballots First Prize Winner
A Quantum Leap
By Diane Weatherford

Diane Weatherford is a mother of five and has been washing her own brain for 15 years. When she's not busy keeping house, gardening, or attending births with a midwife, she loves to draw, write, and create with her hands. She lives in the piney woods of east Texas where she dreams of travelling and someday learning to speak Irish Gaelic.

How would today's America be different if politicians feared citizens,rather than citizens fearing their government? What an incrediblechange that would be! It might make a good setting for a freedomlover's science fiction movie. Two parallel American universes: theone in which we live today, and another that has maintained its libertyand a limited government. An anomaly in the space/time continuumallows a young Republican to slip through to that alternate America andland at the foot of Capitol Hill. Wouldn't he be in for a surprise!?

The most obvious difference would have to be in the government itself. It would not be the ridiculously overgrown bureaucracy that we havetoday. The powers and authority of the government were intentionallylimited at the beginning of the republic when the constitution wassigned and ratified. Nowhere in that constitution is there any mentionof the government providing an education, retirement security, orhealth care. Nor is there any mention of the federal governmentregulating what people can or cannot eat, drink, smoke or otherwiseconsume. If federal authority was limited to what was outlined in theconstitution, how many departments and buildings would it require? Howbig would the budget be? How many federal employees would there be?

In our alternate universe, the main federal concerns would beprotecting the borders, maintaining a naval force, coordinating militiaefforts, and making sure that the constitution is upheld as the law ofthe land and by the law of the land. All other powers not specificallydelegated to the United States belong to the individual states or tothe people. The authority in matters that affect people's everydaylives belongs to the people themselves and the individual states theylive in. The wisdom of this distribution of power is obvious. Thefurther away I am from where the laws are made, the less say I have inthe making of them. If a law is going to affect my pocketbook, or mylife, I want to be able to have a word in the matter and I can't dothat at the federal level except when I help elect my representativesto the United States Congress every few years. I have much easieraccess to my state legislators. I and my fellow citizens would have aneasier time drumming up support or resistance to state or locallegislation, and would be more likely to make an impact in suchmatters. When the people have the power to rule themselves at a locallevel and the federal government is restricted in its power to rule theindividual, you have the proper constitutional perspective. Our youngRepublican hero would soon notice the lack of federal offices and if hethought he might be able to see the Congress in session -- well, theyonly meet four months of each year!

To fulfill its limited duties and to provide a reasonable salary tothe parallel President, Congressmen and federal judges, there are a fewtaxes. However, there are no taxes on income because that is a directtax that is not in proportion to the census, and that is forbidden bythe constitution. Enough funds are earned from placing light duties oninternational trade to maintain their limited government. When youlimit the government's power you naturally limit the bureaucracy thatgoes with it, and the federal budget is considerably smaller whenpeople aren't lying sideways in the public trough.

However, even such a limited government wouldn't stay that way forlong unless the people themselves were different, and here is where weget to the crust of the biscuit. No government would fear itscitizenry if they were ignorant and unarmed.

Ignorance comes in many shades, but perhaps the most dangerous is thatof being unaware of the vulnerability of one's position. There isabsolutely no room for ignorance of the dangers of unrestricted poweror for indifference on the part of the people in maintaining theirfreedom. The citizens in the Alternate America are well educated inthe constitutional basis of their government and are fully cognizant oftheir natural rights. They wouldn't even think about petitioningofficials for the privilege to do something that is their naturalright, such as driving or owning a gun, and they do not pay excisetaxes for such "privileges." They keep an eagle eye on legislators and make sure that the politicians know they are being watched. They areever vigilant to avoid the slippery slope of complacency and wouldnever confuse patriotism with blindly following a leader.

In addition to staying informed and avoiding apathy, the people arewell armed. This is not to say that every household is armed to theteeth with the latest and greatest technological weapons. Just thatalmost each and every home has at least one working gun in it, and atthe very least, one person in that home that knows how to use it well.Every state has at least one militia group; the larger states haveseveral. There are no lack of volunteers because each one knows thatif the militia is called up to serve, it will be in the interest offreedom not the interest of international bankers or a supranationalgovernment.

Because the structure of the government is limited in size, strengthand authority, it is kept subject to the people it is meant to servethrough their watchfulness and preparedness. If it should ever try tooverstep the boundaries of the constitution, the people could easilymake petition for redress of their grievances and failing that, thewell-armed populace and their militias could quickly overwhelm and reinin any would-be tyrants. Consequently, there is an attitude on thepart of those in political positions of humble stewardship and publicservice. The government serves the will of the people not the otherway around. Overall, the country is happier, more productive and moreprosperous. There is a sense of honor and of personal responsibilityand self-determination in life.

And what would our Junior Republican Ambassador to this paralleluniverse think? Would he feel like a flaming liberal in the midst ofall this constitutional correctness? Or perhaps he would wonder, as Ido: What was the first piece of legislation that overstepped thebounds of the constitution and went unchallenged by the people ofAmerica and set us on the path to serfdom? That's exactly where we aretoday in the real America. We're a nation of serfs, bearing on ourbacks a morbidly obese government master, and watching dully as everylast vestige of what was once rightfully and constitutionally ours isgreedily devoured under the guise of "freedom" and "democraticgovernment."

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