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!
The interminable Presidential campaign continues, with some anointing Romney as the only one able to beat Obama (sounds like the brief flurry of Pro-McCain media until after his nomination in 2008)and Democrats knowing they have nowhere else to go. Our President refuses to set direction, craft workable solutions and negotiate with Congress, preferring a totalitarian populism and endless campaigning for office. Obama’s pseudo-outrage and class/racial warfare are transparent to all, unless one’s Republican antibodies make objectivity impossible.
My preferred candidates are not in the race, either from personal conviction to retain their integrity and sanity or media cabals (Left and Right differ little here) that declare them second- or third-tier and therefore unelectable. The flame out of Herman Cain, regardless of any indiscretions (notice how they are no longer news?)is proof that anyone ready to initiate change will be excoriated and marginalized. Currently, I think Senator Santorum represents the best combination of character, competency and clear thinking. He must decide to stay the course and not let media momentum anoint a winner before the votes are counted.
The Obama nightmare is a potential challenge from Hillary Clinton. This will not happen unless Obama’s poll numbers tank further and the Republicans unite around a candidate able to articulate views that reveal the paucity of Obama’s ideas and policies. The real threat for Republicans is a Clinton run that will galvanize independents and those who pine for the 1990s, scandals and all. After all, the budget was closer to balanced and the economy was roaring and people even left the welfare roles (thanks to a Republican Congress). Of course, Hillary’s radical nationalized health care initiative has been forgotten, along with her socialist background and even her current ambivalence in foreign policy. Watch for the Obama team to offer her the Vice-Presidency (keep your friends close…and enemies closer).
There is one fundamental question the candidates must answer in order to give voters a real choice. This question is not about any specific issue. This query gets to the soul of our decision in 2012. It even transcends some of the traditional differences between Democrats and Republicans. Here is the one question that matters:
“What is your vision of a healthy United States of America in the 21st century?”
The ancient proverb states, “Without a vision, the people perish [cast off restraint; waste away, go adrift…].”
Right now, there is no dream or vision that infuses most Americans with hope. The Balkanization of the last 40 years and current Democratic tactics of race and victimhood, as well as transparent attempts to swell voter rolls will illegal residents (refusing to ask for identification and delaying extradition for thousands) are yielding a factious environment that keeps our nation from grasping core values and concrete direction.
“What is your vision of a healthy United States of America in the 21st Century?”
The answer to this will determine whether or not our experiment in liberty and opportunity continues or we become one more civilizational tragedy in the historical record, beset by internal strife, economic overthrow and the imperial designs of global rivals.
Does your vision, sir, ma’am, include the rule of law and secure borders? Please just answer the question without endless qualifications!
Do you believe only citizens should vote?
Do you believe in a balance of local, state and federal government and will you begin to reverse the federal usurpation of power over that last 80 years?
Do you believe that marriage is one man and one woman?
Do you believe life is precious and that all people, from children in the womb, to the disabled, poor, and aged, deserve protection and care?
Do you believe we should honor our commitments to protect Israel’s right to exist as the only true democracy in the Middle East?
Do you believe we should have one legal system that holds all citizens accountable, regardless of race or religion?
Does your vision include defending the lives of Americans and our allies from unrighteous persecution for political and religious beliefs?
Does your vision of the future include protection of reasonable property rights, with redress for citizens overwhelmed by government agencies?
Does your vision include a nimble military that can respond to threats while not being an occupying power?
Does your vision include resisting totalitarianism of all kinds and reaffirming the great principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, with proper regard to the Founders’ principles and intents?
Does your vision include a balanced budget, real financial accountability and one legal/moral standard that embraces private and public workers?
Does your vision include sound environmental policy that preserves and renews our parks and resources, while judiciously opening the door to wealth creation?
Does your vision include energy independence?
Mr President, Mr. Governor/Senator/Congressman, does your vision include personal honesty, administrative transparency and a willingness to let your history be known?
There is only one question that matters…but this one question creates all the others that form a cohesive and comprehensive platform of authentic hope and change. We can do so much better that the current haphazard policies and ideological soundbites.
If we do not address the deficit, establish our borders, respond to terrorism and reaffirm moral principles, the American Experiment is over – and this may be the agenda of some who presently pull the marionette stings for the current regime.
There is one more reality: A healthy USA requires a healthy populace that is hopeful, hospitable and responsible. We must have moral and spiritual renewal in each of our hearts, in our families, in our local communities. We must decide to live in reverence for God and respect for others (including our deepest differences) if there is any hope for our nation.
Maybe the one question is not for the candidates…maybe it is for us. Can we see past our personal crises and wants to the good of others and our posterity? Decision time is here – and it starts in each of us.
The global community is awakening from her slumber and discovering that the public troughs are empty. They are not just empty – they cannot be replenished without significant sacrifices. From The USA to Europe, austerity is the rule of the day. How we arrived at this point is well-known. All political parties and public officials, along with a variety of interest groups, from banks to unions, have created pathways and policies that now collide and place us on the edge of chaos. A fundamental lack of self-regulation created the conditions for over-regulation by government. All this manifests in bloated bureaucracies and outdated systems.
When people cease self-regulating, anarchy ensues, creating the conditions for hard or soft totalitarianism. In the USA we are at a tipping point of public dependence on public funds. In the midst of the Occupy Wall Street’s shrill cries for fairness, we can forget that wealth must be created through (ethical) enterprise and that “government money” is actually our money that is poorly administrated.
Our crisis is much more than economic. The fact that so many people even give a thought to the sham marriage of a narcissistic celebrity while millions suffer privation and our public institutions of ethical cohesion implode is a sure sign that we must find a new way forward. We are in a moment of moral turpitude, spiritual vacuousness and social fragmentation. We know more about social network friends than our neighbors and we mistake soundbites for information and Internet rumors for insight.
What is our way forward? Are we doomed to further decline into nihilism followed by religious or secular totalitarianism? How can we push a “reset” button that will bring change that helps the global community as well as our nation? I offer these thoughts as a place to start.
First, let’s decide that it is unacceptable for billions to live in abject poverty. The answer to global poverty is not more UN aid programs. The answer is unleashing the creative powers of entrepreneurship, establishing democratic processes, fostering religious freedom and extending generosity. From fair trade efforts to development initiatives that provide water, health care and education, we can see fundamental change. An Imam from Silicon Valley admitted that there was enough money in the global Muslim community for every member to be cared for, with much left over to show kindness to others! Americans of all faiths or none are a generous lot, but an increase of just five percent in resources for service to developing nations will transform the daily lives of millions. We can unite around a better future for the next generation.
Second, let’s live up to our highest ideals instead of making excuses for immoral and unethical decisions. Personal integrity and caring more about the good of others will nurture our souls far more than private ecstasy or other forms of self-indulgence. This Christmas, let’s make another family happy as well as our own. I am not suggesting we should deprive ourselves of fun; in fact, when we think of others, life is more delightful as we devise ways to work more efficiently, serve more effectively and play more inclusively.
Thirdly, let’s demand that our elected officials privatize their pensions, live within their means, operate more efficiently and demonstrate accountability instead of accommodation to lobbyists. From our President down to City Hall, we can expect better…and we need to wake up and recognize that we voted for these folks! Democrats and Republicans, Greens and Libertarians all need to consider the long-term consequences of their actions.
Finally (at least for this essay), let’s stop deceiving ourselves about the real situations we face. Radical Islam is a real threat to liberty and the enemies of Israel are also aiming for the USA. We cannot be a warfare and welfare state. Teachers cannot teach students who come to school poorly parented and unready to learn. If we are going to have children, we have to care for them. We must also end our current pathologies of abortion on demand and consider adoption if fertility issues arise. We need borders that are real and immigration laws that are fair. We need to end the current IRS and create a truly fair tax system. Even with religious tensions, it is still better to have complete freedom of conscience and faith and argue with civility than to erase public religious influence or impose a theocracy. We do want the highest values of faith to influence how people live. We must also defend the right of others to disagree and declare their opinions without fear.
We can forge a better future as we live out our faith, unleash creativity and local economies, refuse to give in to intolerance and choose hope instead of fear.