- - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today, the freedom of Americans to control their own health care needs is being threatened by massive governmental interference. Those attempting to fundamentally change America are attempting to take control of the most important thing any of us possesses: our health.

It often comes at a heavy cost, but freedom is worth fighting for. In 1836, the brave defenders of the Alamo went down to defeat by Mexican Gen. Santa Anna and his army, which was 10 times greater in number than the defenders under the command of Lt. Col. William Barret Travis. Not all of the 200 defenders were Texans. Many of the civilian defenders, including some Mexicans, were more loyal to Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, who fell ill prior to the battle.

The defenders who had captured San Antonio just months earlier had retreated to the well-fortified Alamo and had sent for reinforcements, fully expecting to be able to hold on until help arrived. There was tension between the troops of Travis and the followers of Bowie, but once they realized that they faced a greater enemy, they presented a united front of legendary fortitude.

However, Col. James Fannin, who was just 90 miles away in Goliad, concluded that the cause was hopeless and refused the request for help. The brave men who died fighting for freedom at the Alamo thought that help was on the way, just like the brave men who died defending the U.S. compound in Benghazi. The Alamo was lost on March 6, 1836, but its defenders killed 600 of Santa Anna’s men before they died. The stand taken by those patriots inspired many others to join the war. Victory was eventually won, in no small part a result of the spirit and courage of those who refused to surrender in the face of overwhelming odds.


Leaders of the Obama administration and the United States Senate have tried to convince the defenders of individual freedom in America that their fight is futile and that it is impossible for them to win. Those opposing the government takeover of the health care system have varying opinions about whether it is better to fight now or to wait for a more opportune time.

Members of Congress who largely oppose Obamacare but are unwilling to join their compatriots in the battle to defund this ill-conceived and economically detrimental law must remember the lesson from the Alamo: Defeat can unleash the power of righteous indignation. Even if the battle is lost, the courageous act of presenting a united front in defense of the U.S. Constitution and individual rights will inspire tens of millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised to join the cause. Today’s struggle will lead to ultimate victory starting in 2014 and ending in 2016 with the restoration of a nation that is for, of and by the people and not for, of and by the government.

Those representatives and senators who insist on pushing through Obamacare against the will of the people should be clearly identified so they can be appropriately dealt with by their constituents. The authority of officeholders, after all, is dependent upon the ballot box. By replacing those who do not represent the interest of the people with individuals who cherish our Constitution and our traditional values, we can initiate logical measures that can provide truly affordable health care for every American. Those measures would include a return of decision-making to patients and their health care providers, tort reform and the placement of electronic medical records under the control of the patient and not the Internal Revenue Service.

Genuine representative government would also allow us to enact logical tax reform, policies that foster energy independence, a rejuvenated space program and other programs that have led to amazing innovations that have improved our lives. Responsive governance would rid Americans of unwarranted regulations that stifle economic growth, provide parents with choice in education, establish an understandable foreign policy that recognizes the role of true leadership in a troubled world, return fiscal responsibility to its rightful position, and establish social policies that help people move up the economic ladder, rather than just survive.

We have an opportunity to re-establish a government in which freedom of speech is cherished. As Thomas Jefferson once famously said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” We must remember that our representatives work for us; we don’t work for them. Whenever they forget that, we must act to re-establish proper order.

Those who wish to fundamentally change America are happy with the trends we see. However, those of us who love the Judeo-Christian values upon which our country was founded and under which it flourished in the past, must not dwell on past mistakes, but learn from them. We must not capitulate to secular progressives, and unlike them, we should be loving and kind. But most importantly, we must never give up.

Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.