Are We in Danger of Losing our Fourth of July?

The Declaration of Independence has served as the bedrock for this nation for over two centuries. When they adopted the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers believed that the significance of this historic event should be celebrated down through history. On July 3, 1776, John Adams, in a letter to his wife, wrote his thoughts about the importance of celebrating the day we declared our independence as a nation:

The second day of July 1776 [the true date the Declaration of Independence was adopted] will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.

It is this nation’s adherence to the guiding principles found within this inspired work, the Declaration of Independence, that has produced riches, blessings, and bounty that no other nation has known.

Our form of government has been, and still is, envied the world over. Yet some feel the need to apologize for or downplay America’s blessings. While America has thrived from 1776 to the present day under the principles of the Declaration of Independence, France has had 15 different forms of government. Just since1917, Poland has had seven different constitutions and Russia has had four. According to historian David Barton, “America is the only nation in the world that does not average a revolution every 30 to 40 years.” As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “America is a shining city on a hill,”—a truly exceptional country, thanks to Americans who uphold the values declared in our country’s founding documents.

Americans must remember that the achievements of this nation and the longevity of our form of government are to be credited to “the Divine Hand of Providence,” to quote George Washington. A closer look at our forefathers’ correspondences and writings reveal that the men who authored our founding documents and lead the Revolution looked to, and credited, the Creator in birthing this nation. Our Founding Fathers’ adherence to Biblical truths and their intentional decision to weave those truths into our founding documents have placed this nation in good stead. What a calamity it would be to abandon our founding principles and allow generations to govern solely on the passions of the time.

Are we in danger of losing our Fourth of July? Only if we, the self-governing citizens of the United States, slip away from the bedrock upon which our nation was built. We must not allow this to happen. It is time that we the people understand completely what our founding fathers are saying to us. We must read the Declaration of Independence and make it personal. We must be as dedicated today to preserving the intent of our founding fathers’ vision as they were in 1776 when they penned our Declaration of Independence. And July the Fourth reminds us that this is our mandate.

It’s Time for Fiscally Responsible County Government

Most Americans associate the words “careless spending” with government. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, just 11% of all voters think the government spends taxpayers’ money wisely. Naturally we link the unwise spending of taxpayers’ dollars with Washington. But these folks are not the only ones at fault.

While the citizens of Watauga County tighten their belts in reaction to difficult economic times, our County Commissioners are planning an expenditure of $12 million for a new multi-level indoor/outdoor recreation center. The complex will be funded through a Stimulus package, which is not a gift; these funds must be repaid with interest by the citizens of this county. An architectural and engineering firm has already been paid $42,300 to conduct the feasibility study and lay out the project.

The question at hand is not whether Watauga County would benefit from such a facility, but rather, is such a project a wise use of taxpayer dollars at this time? Given the current economic conditions, coupled with mounting national debt and budget shortfalls at state and local levels, the Watauga County Republican Party believes now is not the time for such an undertaking.

According to the Watauga County Financial Statements for the Years Ending 6/30/07 and 6/30/09, respectively, Watauga County’s debt has increased from $24.8 million to $104.3 million—a 421% increase. Moreover, revenue woes on the local level are certain to worsen. The Wall Street Journal reported in a recent article, “State [and local] budgets typically lag the national economy by several years, and the recession has decimated income tax and sales tax revenues.” This means that in all likelihood our county’s budget situation will worsen, not improve, in the coming years. With this in mind, will the year-round residents of Watauga County be able to afford the operating, marketing, staffing, insuring, policing, and upkeep of the proposed facility?

Watauga County should learn from the difficulties facing Mecklenburg County. The Charlotte Observer reports that Mecklenburg County will be forced to lay off 440 employees in the coming year due to budget shortfalls. And where are these cuts being made? More than half of the staffing cuts are in the library and parks and recreation departments. Is it prudent for Watauga County to increase its debt obligations while our neighbors in Mecklenburg County, have to cut existing programs to meet theirs?

In years past the YMCA has shown interest in opening a facility here in our county. Pursuing a mutually beneficial partnership with YMCA is a fiscally responsible alternative to building, operating, and managing our own recreation center. This organization has had tremendous success and is an expert in its field.  Currently YMCA serves thousands of U.S. communities, uniting 21 million children and adults of all ages, races, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. The commissioners should thoroughly research this opportunity and all other alternatives in their aim to bring increased recreation to our community.

The Watauga County Republican Party encourages Commissioners and readers alike to consider what our community really needs in these economically challenging times. In reality, if this project is approved, our sales tax, property taxes, or both will increase. The last thing our citizens need is an additional financial burden in the form of taxes. Wal-Mart’s CFO, Tom Schoewe addressed this issue saying, “More than ever, our customers are living pay check to paycheck.” Even a minimal increase in taxes would be felt by many cash-strapped families who are clipping coupons to make ends meet.

We can start here—at the local level—to put Watauga County back on sound footing by electing a local government that will weigh the options, prioritize the needs, and be responsible with the tax dollars we have worked so hard to earn. We are asking for your support for three fiscally responsible candidates for County Commissioner: David Blust, Vince Gable, and Nathan Miller.

The Watauga County Republican Party’s Media Committee


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