Over the next several months, I will address a number of important topics affecting America “from the middle of the road.”
Our country has become severely polarized during the past six years, and it’s time that cooler will heads prevail before our politicians permanently damage our government and society. The decisions that voters make in the 2016 national elections could be a seminal moment for America.
Most people who know me will expect to hear a conservative bias in my editorials. This will not be the case. I will address problems in a balanced fashion and attempt to encourage debate about the current state of affairs. This ensuing debate will hopefully counteract the ranting and misdirection of the far left and the far right.
Radical perspectives have caused great distress in America in recent years. Overly progressive politicians in power haven’t created an atmosphere conducive to cooperation between themselves and the opposition, and have, ironically, paved the way for the evolution of the Tea Party, an organization hell-bent on obstructing the actions of the current administration.
Unfortunately, these diametrically opposing points of view don’t offset each other. The 5% on either end of the ideological spectrum always seems to receive the most media exposure because they scream the loudest. Those of us in the other 90% should be voting out misguided representatives of extreme ideas, and anyone who won’t listen or compromise.
America is at a crossroads. Will voters continue to be buffaloed by fast talking radicals? Will voters swing back and forth between orthodox conservative and liberal leadership? Or will voters finally recognize that neither extreme is capable of governing our country effectively?
Over the years, the U.S. has navigated through very stormy waters with great success. I’m proud that opposing sides were able to compromise in one crisis after another since the birth of our nation. In the most contentious battle, our elected leaders weren’t able to resolve their differences, and the South seceded from the Union. We fought a civil war, during which brother killed brother. Civil war is the logical endgame for any democratic government, which has factions that are obstructionist, intransigent and violent. It is for this reason that we must carefully select new elected leaders prospectively.
Recently, America elected a president whose ideology (and legacy) is more important to him than compromise. The response from the other side has led to a complete breakdown of our government. Less has been accomplished during the past six years than during any other time in American history legislatively, and the popularity of our elected leaders has never been lower. The opposition has contributed mightily to the paralysis in Washington, as they created great crises in the financial markets and in society in general. Very important issues impacting immigration, education, health care and so much more have been left unresolved because new legislation is impossible to enact.
A different strategy needs to be adopted for our country. American spirit has been dampened, as more people feel left out of the mainstream. Their optimism has waned, and many believe they will never share in the opportunities that millions have enjoyed throughout America’s history. Assistance to people in need has increased dramatically, as thousands are not able to find work or are uninterested in doing so out of frustration. Our current welfare system is outdated. A better plan would be to create jobs and insist that able-bodied people work every day to collect assistance. I would be supportive of this type of welfare program even if it resulted in higher taxes.
The role that America should play around the globe is also in flux. The current administration has not articulated a strategy that our allies and enemies can depend upon. Indecision and a lack of leadership have caused our country to lose credibility. This manifests itself in many ways. Two of the most important are that our allies are not confident that the U.S. will live up to existing security agreements and treaties, and, our enemies are emboldened by empty threats from the administration. Drawing a line in the sand is an effective tactic only if our enemies believe we are prepared to react militarily.
Generally speaking, it is unclear to me whether the U.S. wishes to remain the principal peacemaker throughout the world, or whether it prefers to isolate itself from crises that pop up every day, especially in the Middle East involving radical Muslim elements.
Recently, the number of Americans complaining about hard times has hit a peak. I can remember similar moments when the Vietnam War was tearing our nation apart. The civil rights movement that was the beginning of a new era for African Americans exacerbated these emotional times. The nation recovered from these trying years, but not before thousands effectively protested and defied authority.
A similar behavior pattern has developed in America, but new demands are not as critical from my vantage point. The wars of the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan are finally coming to an end. The cessation of conflict that cost so many American lives and treasure is at hand, even though the long-term benefits of these conflicts are negligible.
African Americans and minorities, including the gay community and other people of color, are making great strides. Progress is never as quick as one would like, but it’s shortsighted to discount successes to date. Even worse is the never ending nagging of those who demand political correctness in every nook and cranny of American life.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, millions of immigrants from Europe flocked to the U.S. to make a new life for their families. Most were dirt poor and had to live hand to mouth. But, they were from hearty stocks, and through perseverance and grit, most were able to prosper. America lived up to its promise as being the greatest and most diverse nation in the world. Very few whined because they were too busy working to feed their families. Immigrants did not receive welfare on any large scale, although our government was wise to create jobs and use these workers to build a great national infrastructure.
Today’s malcontents should consider the accomplishments of these ethnic groups and decrease their reliance on entitlements. Progressive leaders never stop demanding more cash. And when money is provided, it too often doesn’t reach those in need. Corrupt and inefficient elements steal from the poor and line their own pockets.
America must be a safe place even if we must curtail immigration for a time. Diversity is a great strength of this country, but what’s the cost? Too many troublemakers are entering America. The resources needed to monitor these people to ensure our national security is tremendous. Perhaps, America needs a respite to its open door policy. So many other countries throughout the world have adopted this strategy. Then, some of the money being spent to fight terror could be redeployed for legitimate social needs.
Finally, there is exceptionalism. All Americans do not have the same potential, no matter what the politicians say; we are all different. There are some very bright people who will become doctors and attorneys. And there are others who will operate our factories. The range of compensation for these jobs will differ guaranteeing a certain amount of income inequality. Yet, all Americans should strive to achieve reach a high level of success. Becoming rich requires a perfect storm of luck, brilliance, ambition and hard work. Not every American has all of these traits or good fortune.
I want to thank you for your readership. You should look for more editorials soon on specific topics alluded to in this presentation.