Randy Forbes: Sandcastles
Years ago, I was with my family at the beach sitting several yards back from the water. Ahead of us near the shoreline, two children knelt down playing in the sand just inches from where the foamy cusp of the waves rescinded back into the ocean. The boys used red and yellow buckets, packing sand together and flipping them over into small mounds. They were “building” sandcastles…but mostly they were just fighting over the buckets and hitting each other with their plastic shovels.
In fact, they spent more time snatching the buckets from each other than they did perfecting their castle.
As I watched these boys argue over how high to stack the sand and who was going to use the blue shovel, I could see a wave– much bigger than all the other waves previously — come racing towards the shore. I realized at that moment that the two boys had no idea what was about to happen and, sure enough, the wave came crashing up over their shoulders and washing away every grain of their sandcastle. As the wave rescinded back to the sea, the boys sat staring at each other and the small lumps of sand that remained, and they didn’t say a word. I can imagine what they were thinking. What happened? Why did we spend so much time fighting over the buckets and shovels that we didn’t even see the wave coming?
I’ve always thought Washington operates a bit like these two boys – arguing over who gets the shovel without paying attention to the massive waves roaring towards the shoreline.
With swelling frustration, Americans have watched as arguments, spin, sleight of hand tactics, scandals, and empty sound bites have become the modus operandi for Washington. Government dysfunction keeps getting worse (and along with it, public sentiment towards Washington).
But as Washington fights over buckets and shovels, major waves roar in on the horizon. Every moment spent bickering over castles in the sand threatens to wash away our very core beliefs, as well as the things we have stood for and worked towards for hundreds of years.
As the Administration dismantles the greatest military the world has ever known, waves threaten to wash away a core constitutional tenet to provide for the common defense. While Washington focuses on short-term budget fixes and fails to address our ever-growing national debt, more waves roll in, threatening America’s fiscal prosperity and our children’s future. While Americans are pressured to be politically correct and chastised for standing publicly for their faith convictions, waves threaten to erode our religious freedom. While the Administration uses unilateral executive action to allow the legalization of illegal immigrants, waves tear away at the rule of law and our constitutional approach to government.
Washington needs to change, and not merely because it’s exhausting to listen to politicians bicker over buckets and shovels and watch them throw sand. It needs to change in order to “save the sandcastle” and ensure the best possible future for our nation.
That’s why, as a Subcommittee Chairman on the House Armed Services Committee, my top priorities are rebuilding our military, defeating ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, protecting national security, and defending our defenders. It’s why, as a senior Member on the Judiciary Committee, I’m fighting to stop the Syrian refugee program, rein in the Administration’s executive overreach, and secure our borders. Sometimes it may seem like an uphill battle, but it’s worth the fight. Because our country is worth the fight.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t work to create our democracy because it would bring them self satisfaction or bring them personal fame. They did it because they knew they were creating something powerful and unique – a constitutional Republic carefully crafted to withstand the waves. They did it because they believed it was crucial to fight for a concept called freedom and to build a nation that was, as Thomas Jefferson said, the greatest hope of the world.
Now more than ever, with the waves we face today, we need those who are willing to fight for America, rather than themselves. We need to stand on principle, stop throwing sand, and train our eyes to be focused on the biggest challenges our nation faces. We need government to grow smaller so the interests of the people can be made greater. We need leaders who realize the purpose and power of our Constitution and why it is so important to fight for it and let it be our guiding light.
Because if we don’t, we know that we will be left, like those two children on the beach, staring at the sand where our castle once stood wondering what happened to the America that was.
Randy Forbes represents the Fourth District of Virginia in Congress.