by Susan Stamper Brown
At the stroke of midnight December 31, old and new acquaintances will once again join hands to sing the words to Robert Burns’ old folk song “Auld Lang Syne.” “Should auld (old) acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne (for the sake of old times).”
How many times have we sung that most catchy Scottish tune having no clue what the lyrics actually mean? Burns’ seemingly harmless melody asks the sobering question – is it wrong to simply forget the past and disassociate ourselves from old ideas and acquaintances who, for better or worse, make up our past.
Sigmund Freud’s research suggests that humans repress memories to lessen anxiety and protect self-image – but sooner or later reality surfaces and past experiences must be addressed for what they are. And at that point we must choose – as the saying goes – to learn from our past mistakes or we will be doomed to repeat them.
The same is true of cherished American history that some would like to erase and replace with their own contrived version of reality that finds Conservatism irrelevant and outdated. The recent political battle during the midterm elections was in many ways a fight to reassert the significance and relevance of American Conservatism. But this fight is not new nor is it over.
Writing about the need for a resurgence of America’s founding conservative principles, five-term Arizona senator Barry Goldwater wrote, “Conservatism, we are told, is out of date. The charge is preposterous, and we ought boldly to say no. The laws of God, and of nature, have no deadline. The principles on which the conservative political position is based…are derived from the nature of man, and from the truths that God has revealed about His creation.”
Over the past year, our freedom-based American values were chipped away – policy by regressive policy- in an attempt to resurrect a new version of an old and very outdated idea – a new New Deal of sorts.
With a new year dawning, Americans must not misconstrue last week’s bipartisan events to think the Obama Administration has moved to the center making the incoming 112th Congress out to be a repeat of the Clinton era. A new day of bipartisanship has not dawned.
Just last week, and without Congressional approval, Obama’s shadowy government Czars in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) each took prodigious measures to expand the size and scope of government. HHS enacted insurance price controls that will do nothing to solve rising health costs while ignoring congressional opposition and a court ruling. The FCC proceeded with net neutrality rules, and the EPA announced new regulations that will drive up the cost of electricity.
The Obama administration and Democratic Party progressives have done everything in their power to bid a definitive farewell to “old” ideas. As a result, we are engaged in a fight for the survival of America as we know her to be. Those who join this fight should remember the words of John Chamberlain, “…conservatism is not isolationism…It is the creed of a fighter who has both a warm heart and a clear mind.”
Just as we should unapologetically embrace our past, we should also welcome this New Year understanding that old acquaintances and past experiences should never be forgotten but rather, remembered and drawn upon when the need arises.