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The American Thermopylae

By Larry Leonard

The Persian Empire was often in conflict with the ancient Greeks. Comparing it to the Democrats and Republicans of America, today, is an interesting exercise because the perspectives that arise graphically illustrate the principle problems we face. In one of their most famous clashes, legions of Persians (now known as Iranians) sailed a fleet to a place near a “pass” known as Thermopylae. It is often called the pass of Thermopylae, but it was actually a beach — a narrow stretch of sand on the ocean. They thought of it as a pass because it was the only route through the mountainous area that separated two important and more civilized regions. To get from one lush and prosperous area to the other with your legions, this “pass,” this beach road, was the only way.

Photo is a hotlink to a description of the ancient battle

It is here that the Greeks stationed their version of today’s special forces. The Athenians, or citizens of the city-state of Athens, were the intellectuals of Greece — artists, dramatists, philosophers, mathematical geniuses, the creators of democracy and so forth. In the southern city-state of Sparta, you found the warriors. Achilles was one of these. Their tradition was war and their sons were trained as warriors.

Three hundred of these were placed at Thermopylae, and for a time blocked the passage of the Persian legions. Take ten of our special forces soldiers and put them against ten thousand of Hitler’s best, and you have the picture. It was one of the most famous battles in the history of the world — and though all the Spartans were killed, their stand made the Persian victory so costly that it can be credited as the place where the Greeks took their will to fight from them. .

The New Pass at Thermopylae

In 2010, 28 Tea Party Republicans were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Since then, they have stood against the legions of the Progressives. That is the heart of the matter. It is a war. On one side, you have the armies of the Left, increasing the size of government, doubling the size of the national debt, expanding regulatory control of American commerce, and creating ever more limitations and controls over your personal existence. On the other side, you have 28 members of the House saying, “You shall not take any more freedom, any more of our money. You shall not pass.”

Now, I’ll use another analogy to complete the picture for you. This will illustrate the heart of the current situation.

A car is heading for a cliff edge at 60 miles per hour. The Tea Party Republicans will not accept a compromise which will double the time before the vehicle goes over the cliff. They will not compromise. They will not accept a reduction in the speed from sixty down to one single mile per hour. Their answer to the Left is, “We will say no, even if your offer is a compromise down to one inch a month.”

It is ridiculous to debate about the speed of the shark coming to eat you. The minimum acceptable velocity is zero. Whether you are spending ten dollars a month more than you make, or a thousand dollars a month more than you make, the end result will be exactly the same. In both cases, you will go bankrupt. There is no compromise available. You must reduce your outgo to a level that at a minimum at least matches your income. To actually return to economic health, you must cut expenditures well below a match. Then, you will be making headway against the interest on the debt, and heading for fiscal sanity — a balanced budget.

“Balance,” in this case means what you spend is less than what you earn.

I hear liberals from Obama to local TV news flacks bemoaning the insane inflexibility of these 28 Tea Party Republicans, and I hear these liberals say that this will cost these Tea Party Republicans their seats in 2012. Well, the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae were killed to a man, so these predictions may be accurate. I don’t believe it, but if this should come to pass, I believe that their sacrifice will end up with the credit for winning the war.

Teepee logo is a hotlink to an OrMag page.

If these 28 Tea Party Spartans hold fast to the last warrior, America’s car will not go over the cliff. The invading Socialist legions will have to get a job or return to North Korea, where they belong.


© 2012 Oregon Magazine

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