Category Archives: civility

The Morning After: November 7 and January 21

“There’s got to be a morning after; if we can hold on through the night. We have a chance to find the sunlight; let’s keep on looking for the light…”

These words from the theme song to the “Poseidon Adventure” speak to the hearts of millions of Americans as we prepare to vote and live with the consequences. (The song was the best part of an otherwise campy disaster movie!)

We will once again be part of a peaceful continuation and transfer of power, with some officials looking for work and others placed in offices that will require creativity, discipline and integrity if we are going to move forward.

I do hope we see a complete change of direction and focus in Washington, D.C. We need balanced budgets, intelligent projection of power against Islamic terrorism, sound social policies that care for the needy without bankrupting our nation and business and energy policies that recognize reward for risk and careful stewardship of the beautiful world God has bequeathed humankind. We can be energy independent and have a cleaner environment.

We also need a rebirth of civil debate that focuses on solving real problems and assessing fundamental issues without descending into the quagmire of name-calling, personal attack and hoary generalizations rooted in ideological myths instead of first principles and empirical realities.

We can affirm traditional marriage and offer legal status for other arrangements, without altering the universal understanding of marriage and family that has guided every civilization.

We can stop the holocaust of abortion and infanticide and help vulnerable parents raise their children, find adoptive homes and discover a better future.

We can balance a budget if we will stop trying to maintain a federal warfare and welfare state. We do have local and state governments that work…we can learn from these examples and re-empower local and state political and social progress.

We can create a just system of federal taxation. All it takes is courage, honesty and a willingness to be a one-term official.

We can support Israel and pave the wave for a new Palestinian state committed to non-violence and reciprocal prosperity. All it takes is moral courage, calling the bluffs of radicals and demonstrating that representative democracy is the best form of government. There is no place for Temple and Holocaust denial in a peaceful Middle East.

We can care for the medical needs of all our citizens with innovative private-public partnerships that are humane, local and subject to effective ethical oversight, not a bloated bureaucracy.

All of these ideas will only work with a nation of self-regulating, virtuous citizens. Failure to regulate our own moral, economic and social behavior brings anarchy and paves the way for totalitarian control.

We need to secure our borders and create hospitality centers that welcome hard-working people from around the world. There is a place for seasonal work and permanent residency. There is a way to create a pathway to citizenship for all that come legally. We do not need to atone any longer for real and false guilt from 1848 or any other moment. We need to empty our prisons of violent illegal convicts and deport them. At the same time, we can foster new channels to welcome and integrate new friends.

Thomas More’s famous work Utopia literally means “no-where.” (“U” = no; topos = “land” or “place”). I do not believe we can achieve perfection in this age. I do believe we can make progress.

What about race? In 2008 we proved to ourselves that skin color did not matter. We need to do the same in 2012. Character, competence, ideals and policies, along with leadership, relational ability and a love for our founders’ principles should guide our decisions. I would happily vote for J.C. Watts. Condi Rice is admirable. I wish Thomas Sowell was the chief economist – we would have greater prosperity! We need the voices of John Perkins and Shelby Steele. Race is more than a black/white issue. There are people from every culture that will contribute to an American future. Let’s celebrate our diversity-in-unity instead of balkanizing.

Please pray, get informed and vote. After the parties, the lamenting and rejoicing, the real work begins.

Questions for Our Nation

The Presidential campaign season is here. Even before the conventions, we are subject to hourly pronouncements and trivia created to distract us from the compelling issues that demand a referendum in November. I do not care about high school pot-smoking or pranks; I am deeply concerned about the constitutional, economic, moral and social issues that demand attention from all our leaders in all branches of government. Rather than regale my readers with polemical profundities (smile), here is a series of questions for all the candidates as thoughtful people consider their choices. These queries are addressed to the women and men that aspire to “public service” – a notion that I hope can be revitalized from its current permanent ruling class. “Ms. or Mr. [insert title and name here], what are your plans for… …creating a hospitable environment for all people desiring to come here legally, while ensuring that only citizens vote? …reducing government waste (including over-bloated Pentagon budgets) while making sure the poor and vulnerable are served? …delivering health care in a just, decentralized fashion where doctor and patient are the focus, not a massive redistribution of wealth? …facilitating private-sector economic growth without unnecessay regulation and totalitarian legal tactics, while refining a 21st century understanding of environmental stewardship? …respecting the rights of those with deeply-held moral and religious convictions as well as those who differ greatly? …supporting the fundamental institution of heterosexual, monogamous marriage while creating ways for adults in other living situations to care for each other and enjoy legal rights? …confronting radical Islam and the insidious dhimmitude perpetrated by those who insist of separate rights and promote violence against their critics, while respecting our moderate Muslim neighbors? …supporting Israel’s right to live in peace and security while creating a democratic Palestinian state that renounces violence and unequivocally acknowledges Israel as a legitimate state? …restoring power and responsibility for more governmental functions to the cities and states and reducing the size of the federal governnment, thus reversing an 80-year trend that saps our resources and effectivness? …reigning in the power of public employee unions and privatizing pensions so we can actually afford to care for the elderly? …insisting on a full audit of the United Nations’ budgets and programs? …balancing our federal budget and stimulating equitable global trade? …confronting China, India, Russia and the 57 Islamic states concerning their human rights abuses? …creating a hopeful view of the future?” Thoughtful women and men are not looking for bumper stickers and cliches. We have proven to ourselves that minorities and women are equal partners; therefore, let’s make November about ideals and issues, principles and practical work, values and vision. Our wonderful nation deserves our best, Ms/Mr. Candidate!