Time will tell, but I reject the somewhat cynical view that the House Republicans' vote to repeal Obamacare is purely symbolic. I think it's quite significant.
We are engaged in a war to save our nation from crippling debt and systematic assaults on our Constitution and our liberties and to preserve our prosperity. No setback has to become a permanent defeat. But neither will any victory remain secure, for the forces working against us are tireless and relentless.
No matter how many times history has proved socialism disastrous, there will always be those promoting it, as if the past never occurred or its lessons are unlearnable.
All of which is to say that the struggle in which we are engaged has long existed and will continue as long as we are a nation. As such, we must have the long view in mind and not expect that we can always make dramatic changes instantaneously.
Our opponents certainly understand the virtue of patience. They have been pressing the welfare state for too many years to count, forever pushing their unwelcome statist envelope on a freedom-loving society, but one vulnerable to seductive appeals for government-provided economic security.
When statist programs are incrementally adopted, the detrimental impact on liberty can barely be felt. But eventually, their cumulative effects will create an imbalance that will be immensely difficult to correct.
Welfare state enthusiasts have grown more emboldened in recent years, and with the election of Barack Obama and his substantial majorities in both houses of Congress, they showed their true colors — the extent of their statism — by abandoning any pretense to incrementalism and pushing socialist prescriptions with reckless abandon.
With the national deficit and debt already at nearly precarious levels, the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress ratcheted up the spending as if they were trying to bankrupt the nation — all in the name of stimulating the economy and the job market, only to succeed in damaging each. Instead of learning from these lessons, they continued, unrepentantly, on the same disastrous course.
The administration took over private industries, governed through unconstitutional executive orders and unaccountable czars, and proceeded to expand the public sector as if bound by no constitutional restraints. Its mischief culminated in the passage of Obamacare, whose substantive provisions are as noxious as the lawless manner by which it was crammed through against the people's will.
The American majority watched incredulously with each new infringement on our liberties, too shellshocked to fully grasp the rapidity with which this was occurring and many still ambivalent about whether these radical changes were being made only because we were in an economic "crisis."
But Obamacare left no doubt. Those who doubted before finally realized there truly was an assault under way against the American ideal, the Constitution, our liberties, our prosperity and our national solvency. They signaled their outrage and their resolve to take their country back with the delivery of a Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat to Republican hands. Then they handed Barack Obama, who defiantly refused to hear their unified message of resistance, a shellacking in the November elections.
Even after the historic Republican victory, feckless voices continued to tickle the ears of the new Republican majority, warning it against "radical" measures to roll back Obama's radical agenda. Tea partyers and other patriots, however, were not to be denied — or silenced — despite recent abominable leftist efforts to exploit murders to that end, and they continued to pressure the new Republican majority to be accountable and responsive to their mandate.
Then Wednesday, by a vote of 245-189, the House voted to repeal Obamacare. This may not lead to an immediate repeal victory in the Senate, much less a bill the president will sign, but it's light-years away from those discouraging rumblings we heard from Republican senators after the passage of Obamacare that they'd never repeal it. Forcing the other side to vote down or veto repeal establishes an inescapable track record that will serve as a foundation to defeat statists in upcoming elections.
The House's bold fulfillment of its promise to repeal is invigorating, signaling that our elected officials finally do get it, that at least for now, we won't be witnessing business as usual in Washington. It is an emphatic statement that we have allies in the government who are in this fight with us, who may even be leading this fight to save America from the insidious encroachments of socialism. This may be a first step, but it is a necessary and giant step encouraging us to fight on until we turn the tide — and then fight some more.
You can be sure that the statists will not be deterred by this vote; they will fight on with renewed intensity and greater demagoguery and class warfare. We must be prepared for the onslaught and to redouble our commitment to press forward.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His new book, "Crimes Against Liberty," was No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction for its first two weeks. To find out more about David Limbaugh, please visit his website at www.DavidLimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com