Last week, I took issue with rumored 2016 contender and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who seemingly dismissed the importance of balancing the federal budget as “an obsession with government bookkeeping.”
While I promise I am not obsessed with the Governor, six words from his 3,400-word speech kept running through my mind: America is not the federal government.
Those words stand in sharp contrast to President Obama’s vision, explained in his second inaugural address, of “collective action.” Although it is, “fiction that all societies’ ills can be cured through government alone,” Obama said, “we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.”
Put another way, think of the federal government as your partner in life – you and Barack at the dinner table, planning the next big purchase or how to keep the family safe.
This week, the Senate will embark on a legislative effort to “protect its people from life’s worst hazards,” as the President says. Unfortunately, there is little evidence the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been successful at anything other than expanding the reach of the federal government.
Writing about the Senate’s attempt to reauthorize the now-expired law, my Heritage Action colleague Katherine Rosario explains, “that as a woman, I have no interest in seeing myself or any other woman become a victim of violence,” however, VAWA is “completely useless legislation.”
Indeed, since VAWA became law in 1994, there have been no large-scale, scientifically rigorous studies on the effectiveness of the law’s grant programs. Katherine makes a larger point, though:
“In an imperfect world, there will always be work to be done to prevent acts of violence. But the ‘solutions’ put in place by VAWA are based on the idea that violence against women is a result of their ‘weaker social, political, and financial status.’ Thus, the ‘substance of VAWA focused largely on redistributing power and resources to female victims.’ This has served to undermine equal protection and the rule of law.
“Over the past 18 years, VAWA has morphed into a smorgasbord of feel-good intentions about violence. Over that same period of time, VAWA has had no scientifically discernible effect on the level of violence in this country, proving once again Washington is not the solution.”
America is not the federal government. Washington is not the solution.
Yet, far too many believe Washington should be an integral part of our daily lives. More than just having the feds regulate every single project you touch, they believe in collective action.
For these people, empowering individuals through the absence of government is heresy. It directly contradicts President Obama’s declaration that “we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.”
To understand the left’s reaction, one need look no further than last week’s Senate hearing on gun control. Queried by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on why someone would want a high-capacity magazine for self-defense, Gayle Trotter responded:
“You are not a woman stuck in her house having to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to go seek safety, on the phone with 9-1-1, and she cannot get the police there fast enough to protect her child.”
It did not take long for the left-wing attack machine to spin into action. One hostile-tweeting “journalist” later reported Trotter is an “outspoken opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, a law designed to aid women faced with domestic violence.”
It is a good thing Americans do not expect self-awareness from those steeped in Washington’s corrosive culture.
Outside of Washington, though, people understand the limits of government. A Milwaukee County Sheriff cut a radio ad explaining “simply calling 911 and waiting” is not exactly your best option. Rather than “beg for mercy from a violent criminal” he said, “you can fight back.”
This sheriff’s call was not unique. In 2011, the Spartan County Sheriff said, “I want you to get a concealed weapons permit. Don’t get Mace. Get a firearm.” The left’s reaction is not unique either: indignation and derision.
CNN’s Piers Morgan berated the Milwaukee County Sheriff, declaring the sheriff “want[ed] to arm everybody in Milwaukee” and was “creating is a return to the Wild West in Milwaukee.”
Even though it is an imperfect world, the left cannot bring itself to embrace solutions that occur outside of the government power structure. Unless you make the decision with Barack (who has veto power) at the dinner table, it’s simply not an acceptable solution for the left.