If you're like Laura Ingraham and the conservative radio talk-show host's faithful listeners, you're fed up with politicians who won't defend our borders; a Hollywood that peddles profanity, pornography and liberal talking heads as "entertainment"; schools that teach our kids more about sex than about the Constitution; and judges who think it's their job to legislate. In “Power to the People,” Ingraham shows readers how to take back America. Here's an excerpt:
It’s nighttime in America.
Or at least it feels that way.
Frustration. Anger. Confusion. These emotions ambush us whenever we stop to consider how estranged we have become from politics and the culture. We are like strangers in a foreign land. We feel there is nowhere to turn for help, no safe harbor where our values are protected. We have few leaders willing to represent and fight for those values. We see our country veering so off course in so many areas that we feel powerless to turn it around. It can all seem overwhelming and demoralizing. Kind of like a Nancy Pelosi speech.
Whether you know it or not, many of the most important decisions in your life are being made for you. They are being made by out-of-touch politicians, agenda-driven educrats, haughty life-tenured judges and executives in a polluted entertainment industry — all of whom believe they know better than you. Responsibility and accountability are principles that they preach but do not practice. They have their agendas — and when little people get in the way, watch out. They are perpetrating a massive power grab. Watch your wallet. Hide your children. Lock up the livestock. They’re coming for you.
How do we reclaim the power that is rightfully ours?
If you’ve ever listened to my radio show, you’ll remember that at the end of the introductory sound-bite montage, a scratchy, shrill-sounding woman screeches: “Power to the Peeeople!” Those mellifluous tones belong to a self-styled urban “human rights activist” (translation: leftist with a bullhorn) named Efia Nwangaza. For her, “Power to the People” really means power to the Marxists, socialists, anti-war activists, international bureaucracies, nongovernmental organizations and illegal alien umbrella groups. Power over the people who are too busy working and taking care of their families to join the protest culture.
Real power to the peopleDuring the 1960s, Vietnam protestors and John “Imagine No Religion” Lennon used the phrase as a battle cry of rebellion against their elders, “The Establishment.” Forty years later, they have become “The Establishment” — and just look at what their rebellion hath wrought. Years
ago, I made an executive decision to take the phrase “Power to the People” away from those who never really meant it. For decades, the American Left tried to convince us that their agenda was all about empowerment. There was “Women Power!” and “Black Power!” and “Gray Power!” and “Rainbow Power!” and now there’s even “Green Power!” We were encouraged to revel in “free love” and to take a free ride courtesy of all the fools who did the 9-to-5 thing.
For all their empowerment and anti-establishment blather, what they really meant was they were more than happy to help themselves to positions of power and influence. In the meantime, they made the nation a slave to fringe groups, political correctness, expanding bureaucracies and our own consumerism. They worked feverishly to move more decision-making to Washington — taking power from the people and giving it to bureaucrats and politicians who want to spend our money, make our decisions and tie us up with red tape. So much for “empowerment.”
They have us right where they want us.
Now someone out there will inevitably say, “Wait a minute, Laura. Liberalism has been in decline for most of our recent political history! Isn’t there some Republican blame to go around?” To some extent, yes. We are all to blame. Yet it is undeniable that the American Left has been at the controls of our culture for most of our lives — dominating academia, the courts, the media and Hollywood.
Most Americans were too busy earning an honest living, raising their children and going to church to notice what was slowly happening around them. Or they thought there was nothing they could do to stop it. With liberalism rejected at the ballot box, they assumed that elected representatives would live up to their pledges to protect and defend the country and our way of life. But too often, the same politicians who claimed to be “for the people” turned against us, our principles and our dreams.
Their “Power to the People” movement was a scam.
It’s time to take our power back.
Rights? What rights?
Our Declaration of Independence reminds us of the “unalienable rights” that are ours to enjoy: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights are dependent upon one another for survival. We often forget that we have been “endowed” with these rights by our “Creator.” How seldom we think of Him and our duty to Him as we exercise these precious rights.
In this age of widespread human embryo destruction, abortion, euthanasia and cloning, how can we credibly protect the right to life? What is liberty? How do we exercise it without encroaching on the rights of others? And what does it mean to pursue happiness? Is that just a permission slip to indulge our every appetite? Is it a free pass to super-size our meals, wallow in porn and swell our coffers, regardless of the impact on others?
Too often we have believed that “freedom” means that we have no duties or responsibilities to others. That “anything goes” mentality may appear to be empowering, but it is not. Instead, it creates a sense of anarchy that makes most Americans very unhappy.
The Founding Fathers did not risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so we could become spoiled, pampered, narcissistic and focused solely on our own pleasure. An ordered society was the Founders’ goal — a place where we could live our lives in limitless possibility — but only if we fulfilled our obligations. They wanted us to have the liberty to tap into our creative powers, for our own good and for the good of our countrymen. This is the pathway to true happiness. But that society is only possible if we, the people, have a shared set of values, a common set of beliefs that bind us together. The Founders did not view liberty as a license, but as a sacred responsibility to be used for the good. They understood that liberty cannot be separated from virtue.
When we act irresponsibly, when we act selfishly, when we are lazy, or weak — that’s when we are most likely to give away our power. And “experts” are ever-ready to impose their own brand of order, set their own course for the future, and make sure you march in lockstep. The more power we give to the elites, the more they become the rulers and we become the ruled. The good news is it’s never too late. Although we have been pushed to the edge of the ravine, we can still save ourselves. But only if we face reality and acknowledge that our cultural and political leaders have failed us — and that we allowed this to happen. Here’s where things stand:
Family mattersThe American family is besieged by a hostile culture, destructive government policies, and by our own selfishness. Under attack from all sides, the traditional family is now regarded as just another social arrangement, no better than any other. Despite every statistic showing that traditional family life is the healthiest for us and for the future of the society, the dominant culture continues to degrade its significance. Individualism is wonderful, but individuals without families are lost. Families are a true source of power.
“Where’s the fence?”
Facilitated by a well-funded alliance of Latino and business lobbies, and by elites in both parties, illegals have crashed our borders in unprecedented numbers. Six years after September 11, this is a national disgrace. By now illegal aliens have received the message loud and clear: Crime does pay — especially when it involves our immigration laws. Americans and legal residents are fed up with politicians who want to write new laws to “fix” the problem when the government doesn’t enforce the immigration laws already on the books. Our national power and identity come in part from our shared American culture and language. This power will continue to be eaten away if we don’t stop the double-talk and defend our borders.
Falling off the learning curve
It has been said many times that learning is power. Shaping the minds of future generations is one of the most important responsibilities that parents and teachers have. Unfortunately we have been bullied into relinquishing our children to bloated bureaucracies, second-rate Marxist intellectuals and legions of “education experts.” The old emphasis on excellence and merit has been swallowed up by ideologically biased curricula and politically correct teaching methods that are shortchanging our students — and our country. In many of our universities things are even bleaker. There is a total lack of ideological diversity on most college faculties — or, at best, the diversity ranges from Howard Dean liberals to spittleflecked Marxists. If a professor is criticized for abusing his taxpayer-funded classroom by propagandizing against America (rather than teaching his presumed subject), he hides behind the tattered old veil of academic freedom. Why don’t these faculties just get it over with, and start offering majors in Anti-Americanism? What a great way to spend $45,000 a year.
America must be defended, and vigorously. While it may be impossible to prevent every future attack, Americans must have confidence that our government is doing all it can to protect the homeland. That means that we should not squander our military power on what are largely humanitarian (a.k.a. nation-building) missions. The interests of America and our own security must always come first and guide our foreign policy. Our military is overstretched, underfunded, and approaching the breaking point. And not to ruin your day, but China is well on its way to being the next global superpower.
Take back that gavel
Any time the elites can take decisions away from the people and entrust them to unelected judges, they will. When judges wade into controversial social issues that are best left to the voters, we all lose. On issues from abortion to profanity on television, we are being disenfranchised from our own political system. It’s reasonable to ask why we should even bother writing to our congressman or voting for elected representatives when, on any critical issue, all it takes is five life-tenured justices on the Supreme Court to overturn the will of the people. In just the last few years the justices have eroded our property rights, banished the Ten Commandments from courthouses, and begun micromanaging the War on Terror. But what do they care? They answer to no one. They have lifetime job security, summers off, and a never-ending supply of boondoggle speaking gigs. Who would want to retire with those perks? As we go about our busy lives, the courts are busy siphoning power away from us and our elected representatives. The Supremes often seem more worried about offending the feelings of the “New York Times” editorial board than they are about offending the intent of the Framers or the will of the people.
Your new-media lifeline
The Internet, talk radio and cable television busted the monopoly of the left-wing elites who had been our self-appointed information gatekeepers for decades. They knew the stories they reported, or chose not to report, could profoundly affect the views of Americans. “All the news that’s fit to print.” “That’s the way it is.” They were telling us, the “little people,” what they thought we should know. Conservatives, meanwhile, had only “National Review” and a few other journals to turn to for intellectual nourishment. So it was a relief when the media elite’s stranglehold was broken by one man. Twenty years ago, radio host Rush Limbaugh hit the airwaves and connected with Americans who were sick of Dan Rather, fed up with the “New York Times,” and bored to death by Bill Moyers. The first time I heard “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” I thought, “Finally!” His informative and entertaining approach to the news and political fights of the day spawned an entire industry (including “The Laura Ingraham Show”) that now reaches tens of millions of Americans every day. But don’t take any of our shows for granted. At this very moment, ambitious and embittered Democrats — frustrated by the flame-out of Air America — are plotting ways to silence conservative talk radio. And you know if they could figure out a way to shut down conservative blogs, they’d do that too. Stay tuned for more details.
Keeping it local
Our ability to influence is greatest when decisions are made closest to home. Think about it: Your assemblyman votes to increase the state sales tax. In protest, you can picket outside his office, heck, you can walk into his office and give him a piece of your mind. But when Congress passes a tax hike, your complaints are handled by 23-year-old Hill staffers who would rather be hitting the bars and surfing YouTube. And letters to the editor only go so far. Trying to reach Washington from Duluth is like trying to reach around Rosie O’Donnell at an all-you-can-eat buffet. It is no wonder, then, that so many local and state decisions have been hijacked by the feds. And it’s only getting worse.
Blinding us with science
Scientists and medical researchers have added immeasurably to the length and quality of our lives. The vast majority have dedicated themselves to the development of innovative treatments and technologies to eradicate deadly diseases and generally advance the cause of human life. These are noble goals. Nevertheless, it is up to us to establish moral and ethical boundaries to ensure that we are not throwing our humanity out with the petri dish. Are we really so fearful of being branded “anti-progress” and “heartless” that we won’t speak up against runaway science when we know we should?
Let’s be honest, a lot of what our culture is doing in the name of science is really being done out of vanity. We don’t want to die. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. And even if we do live to a ripe old age, we don’t want to look like it. Whatever happened to the entire concept of aging gracefully? Meg Ryan went from cute to scary. Some pols’ faces have been pulled so tight it’s a wonder they can close their eyes at night. Exactly what is empowering about giving ourselves butt lifts and pec implants, and our 16-year-old daughters boob jobs? And let’s not forget about the “designer baby” craze sweeping Europe and growing ever more popular here, which promises families the “perfect child.” Aldous Huxley, call your office.
The culture clash
You know it, and I know it. Boys and girls have gone wild. It’s both the fault of the sex-saturated media circus and permissive parenting. Even hands-on parents are having trouble stemming the tide of cultural sewage seeping into their homes on a daily basis. They feel as though they can no longer shape their children’s values. Parents find the messages pushed on television, in films, in music, and even in school antagonistic to traditional notions of right and wrong. Pornography is a multi-billion-dollar industry in America and is making multimillionaires of sicko producers, twisted directors and pathetic “actors” — who have now made inroads into the mainstream culture. Their influence can now be seen in the streetwalker antics of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and all their various imitators. (What is Nicole Richie’s talent?!) Even television “news” shows dip into the porn pond in their coverage of such pressing questions as whether Anna Nicole Smith’s artificial breasts would decompose at the same rate as the rest of her natural body. This is absolute madness. So why are we watching this trash? And how is it reshaping America?
Reaching higher ground
In the end, we need to face the most important truth: There is no chance that we will prevail in any of these battles if we don’t retain our belief in God. God is the engine that drives all we do. And faith in God is the foundation of the Republic — and any healthy society. Every decision, from how we treat the grocery store clerk to how we treat the government of Iran will be greatly influenced by our beliefs. What good is returning “power” to the people if it is not the power to do good? And what better way is there to foster this spirit than through faith? It is faith, which calls us to be self-sacrificial and to love others, that has made us a great nation. Every now and again we have to ask ourselves, what’s the point of this thing called America, anyway? Is the point to make as much money as possible in our lifetimes? Is this nation called to some higher purpose? Are we living the way God wants us to live? And if not, why not? What is life about? There are plenty of people in our country who think these questions absurd. These are usually the same people who cheer every time the ACLU files a lawsuit to remove a cross on public land. Whether it is evicting Baby Jesus statues from manger scenes at Christmas, or forbidding the Menorah from being lit at a public park during Hanukkah, there exists a pronounced anti-religious fervor in the left-liberal culture that has been imposed upon a predominantly religious America. The media elites savor and stoke this animosity. Every other week, a magazine, a book or a television documentary asserts some “new discovery” that attempts to prove that Jesus Christ and His followers either didn’t exist or were actually quite happy with sexual promiscuity and summered at Lake Como. On television and in film, faithful people, traditional Christians, are portrayed as wild-eyed zealots or members of dangerous secret cults. When was the last time you saw a member of NOW or PETA depicted that way? The goal of the elites is to drive religious voices from the public square. They want to erode traditional religious faith, and make you feel goofy, or backward, or out of line when you offer a religious perspective on public policy or cultural issues. They want you to shut up about God so the secularists can monopolize the public discourse and public policy. We can’t let that happen. Our Judeo-Christian tradition has done more good for America and the rest of the world than left-wing secularism ever will.
* * * * *
We have a lot of work to do. We must shake off our lethargy and reconnect with our American heritage. What follows is a call to arms. We need to fight for our culture, for our country. We need to revive our understanding of traditional, conservative principles — the true empowerment agenda. As we focus much of our attention on the Islamic terrorists and enemy states, we cannot lose sight of what is happening here at home. I will expose the threats we face from an emboldened cultural Left, from the global liberal elite, from science worshippers, and from politicians who spend more time on their hair than serving their constituents. I will offer solutions for how we can use our power — individually and together — to pursue life, liberty, and true happiness. The purpose of this book is not just to rile you up (I do that every day on the radio). The goal is to incite you to do your part to protect the country that we love. It is ours to lose. And there are many here and abroad who are more than willing to take it from us. Let’s get to work. Time is of the essence. We are up to the task, and we will be stronger for having fought the good fight. And if we remember what our Founding Fathers knew — that God is with us, and that with Him, everything is possible — we will never lose heart. We will prevail.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!
Excerpted from “Power to the People” by Laura Ingraham. Copyright © 2007 by Laura Ingraham. Excerpted by permission of Regnery Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.