Kopp Column: What Are You Doing To Prevent The Fiscal Cliff?


I recently read something from many years ago. It was appropriate then but more so now:

“We cannot merely stand against an overweening national state, we must also work hard to revive state and local governments, as well as the private sector of family, church, and voluntary associations.”

Chuck Colson wrote that, and while I don’t always agree with him, or even like him, he often said things that make me think.

So, after reading his statement discouraging big government and encouraging stronger local governments and institutions such as family, I had to evaluate my personal activity.

Like most USA-loving people, I see big government as a mentally ill tyrant. I see the national debt as a loaded pistol of suicide aimed at America.

So, what am I willing to do to strengthen the local community? What am I doing to take the bullets out of that national suicide pistol?

Here’s what I came up with as ways I volunteered in the past or do so now at the local level; it’s probably some of what you come up with if you were to make the same inventory:

– Volunteer (local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, ambulance, fire department).

– Neighborhood cleanup (patrolling the sidewalks, ditches outside of town, my own yard).

– Support organized local emergency and medical relief efforts (donations, items for silent auctions, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti suppers).

– Support local school fundraising (the kid selling candy bars or subscriptions door to door).

– Support returning and departing troops (Patriot Guard Riders, Wounded Warriors)

Pretty short list, huh. Guess I need to get busy putting shoe leather to my tongue wagging. Perhaps I need to look at volunteering for more community support efforts. The risk is over-extending myself to the neglect of my home turf and efforts. The responsibility is mine. The reward? Maybe one less tax dollar to be taken from someone to do the work I can do myself.

What about you? Are you screaming at the television when you see a president who is adding to the 16-trillion dollars of red ink? Or are you doing more in your world to meet local needs so Washington will not? If every adult who blasts burgeoning government spending and waste picked up a little support effort on their own in just the one-mile radius of their home (litter, water or soil conservation, neighborly support, etc.) there would be less “need” for government to address.

What if every parent taught their children to do the same?

Somewhere in a conservative’s philosophy are the parallel beliefs of personal responsibility and personal freedom. Here’s where it starts.

Mike Kopp has exercised hi political muscle as a media director to two statewide campaigns, a television political reporter, a lobbyist, and staff assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently a communications director working from his home in Wilton, ND.

Mike Kopp has exercised his political muscle as a media director to two statewide campaigns, a television political reporter, a lobbyist, and staff assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently a communications contractor working from his home in Wilton, ND.

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  • Tim Heise

    Excellent column

  • Harold

    I voted against Obama’s 2nd term that was about all I and others could do to prevent total economic collapse and there was no guarantee that Romney would be much better preventing this coming collapse. America is doomed in my view and when the next big terrorist attack, sorry used the wrong word to describe this group, there not terrorist just disgruntled foreign nationals. Anyway with open borders crowd preaching not to have any security on our borders and Obama subscribing to these views, I think next disgruntled foreign national attack will be devastating beyond our imaginations. But other then voting Obama out not much ordinary americans can do but sit and watch the collapse of a nation occur.

    • Thresherman

      If only the Democrats held this view, our chore would much lighter. As pointed out in the column, there are things one can do, but it need not be limited to those items. Writing letters to the editor offering reasoned opinions backed by facts have more impact with average people than letters packed with vitirol and name calling. I also think that there will be a resurgance of political activism on the local level that will exceed that of 2010. This time backed by the facts of Democratic obstructionism and their utter disregard for finacial responsibility will make it much harder to marginalize them and as I said, we can counterpunch with facts about what they have actually cone and the results of those acts. Here too, letters to the editor noting these facts will be invaluable.
      One of the reasons Obama won was that he kept his ground game in action between elections. While we have no designated leader like the Democrats did to orchestrate this, there are various local orginizations that one can join which can serve the same purpose.
      But in the end, what is hardest is to decide that one is actually going get off one’s duff and do something. This is not hard to understand as after doing their usual vocations and then dealing with personal matters, most people do not want to add more to their plate. But if you ask any volunteer, they will tell you that the time they spent doing that is far more rewarding and fulfilling than vegging out in front of the TV or spending hour after hour on the internet.
      So it is up to the individual to decide what they are willing to do and how important it is to them.

    • The Fighting Czech

      while I agree that there is nothing we can do too save this country from what is coming… we can prepare to survive those days ourselves. perhaps you can stock up on some food. You dont need to buy expensive “survival” meals. by a few cases of soup, vegetables items like that…buy some bags of rice, potato flakes, and powdered milk. The time may come you may need it. whats more there will be times where you may not need it, but a neighbor may. especially the elderly, Instead of writing a check to some local food bank, Rotate you emergency food by donating it on a annual basis. You have a good supply of food for your family if needed, and you help those who need it when you dont. If you think about it awhile, there is a lot you can do for your self, and you neighbors. Ever though about heating your home with wood? (The thought doesnt appeal to me either,) But I do have an old wood stove in the shop, That could be installed in the house if it absolutely needed to be. IF the cost of heating ones home became unbearable, I could keep the family warm. and again, I have extra rooms. IF needed, I could open my doors to those who are unable to stay warm… Charity comes in different forms, and in different ways. there are a lot of things that you can do to help your neighbors if you think about. and you dont have to be associated with some big organized charity if you dont want. There is a lot you can do on your own…..

      • borborygmi

        Just think if you had your own personal wind turbine or solar panels you would be even more self sufficient.

        • the Fighting Czech

          thought about it, But wind turbines dont work worth a crap. wind is terribly un reliable, and the maintenance will tank any savings you do get. when I need to get a 100 ft crane here to bring it down the ground for work. Solar is definitely out, not in this state. Actually im leaning towards an outdoor boiler that burns wood or coal… Ill burn coal when ever I can, and if the government shuts down coal, I have a real good supply of wood!! cheap heat, in -25 temps….. You cant beat it!!!!

  • kevindf

    The Republicans in the house of Representatives control this country’s “purse strings.” Hold their feet to the fire.

  • Mel

    While I applaud your effort to make things a little easier on your neighbors, it does nothing to keep us from going over the fiscal cliff. As our federal AND state government have proven, if they have mroe to spend they will spend more.

    • Mike

      It is perhaps too late.

  • Curtis Olafson

    In response to the question, here is what I am doing: http://www.restoringfreedom.org

  • Geoff

    Sorry mike. I have zero confidence that if there was less need for government would equal less government spending. This admin will continue to spend until the well is dry.

    That being said, your theory would have been solid thirty years ago. Good column

    • Mike

      You may be right. A perpetual motion machine may have already been created. Still, every dollar I save my local gov’t is one dollar saved. Period.

  • camsaure

    Ok. While I agree with you premise, it is not founded in reality. All we are left to choose from is: go over the cliff with a parachute full of holes or surrender. When is the last time you even heard a politician mention the term, local or national, mention the word socialisim and what it really means. Remember,we even had people AND delegates at the last Republican convention wearing buttons stating that they were RINO,s and proud of it. HMMM, wonder why Berg lost.

    • Mike

      So therefore do you advocate just sitting back and doing nothing to support your local community? Do you merely give in to the “let the government do it” philosopy?

      • camsaure

        Of course not, I support the tea party as well as people running for congress that hold views that are closer to mine. I did quit sending money to the RNC and some other orgs controled by old guard RINOs. Michelle Bachman got the money thaty I would have normaly sent to home candidates such as Rick Berg when he voted to help orchestrate obuma’s “fiscal cliff” through the continuing budget resolution. I do and did support Cramer. And anyuone who knows me knows that I discus politics like some people discus football

        • Mike

          It’s good to put your money where you political discussions are. How about something a bit less impersonal, like flesh and blood investment in a cause, a campaign or a community? (Not real flesh and blood, that could be messy!)

          • camsaure

            What do you have in mind? I could be a delegate, but I am certain that I am too conservative for the ND Republican establishment.

          • Mike

            Ha! You make me laugh. That is precisely why I quit working for the established GOP.

  • borborygmi

    Excellent advice Mr. Kopp