Our next Administration faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Reversing more than half a century of ballooning indebtedness and bloated bureaucracy will be daunting. Transforming health care and retirement plans so they are stable and sustainable will require courage and sacrifice heretofore unknown among politicians. Restoring our global influence and leading the resistance to intolerance and totalitarianism will demand humility, wisdom and moral and military strength. Advocating for life from conception to coronation and affirming compassion for the broken, poor and vulnerable will summon our best character and competencies. Standing with Israel while engaging in honest dialogue with Muslim leaders calls for Solomonic discernment.
Can we chart a fresh direction, revitalizing our founding principles for 21st century realities? Or is it too late and must we “adjust” to a “new world order” and “settle” for less? There is no way forward without pain. The only question is which type of surgery and recovery creates long-term health in the patient we call the United States of America.
There are two dispositions we must eschew and two we must embrace in order to construct a better, more inclusive and prosperous future. First, we must reject fatalism and fear, with their partners dependency and victimhood. Second, we must resist the extremes of hyper-individualism and collectivism. We must reaffirm that liberty is built on virtue and truth embraced by people with freewill. We are responsible for our choices. Yes, there are second chances and opportunities for redemption. There are, however, risks and rewards, positive and negative possibilities with daily decisions. Our future rests on accepting reality and affirming freedom – to fail or succeed. Hyper-individualism forgets that others do contribute to our progress – parents and pastors, coaches, friends and mentors, partners and even competitors are all part of the social reality that makes prosperity possible. The opposite extreme, the “you didn’t build that” collectivism of the last four years (and perhaps longer, truth be told), forgets that the infrastructure that sustains growth is funded by the innovation of the market that produces tax revenue! Remember, the politician’s are playing with our money.
On the positive side, we must embrace hope that is fulfilled by new habits. “Hope and change” only happen with habits and character. Hope is not wishful thinking and new habits begin with new hearts. Will we joyfully embrace the truth that “we are the change” as we diligently work, cheerfully volunteer and sacrificially serve the next generation? Secondly, we must live out the paradox of self-fulfillment through selfless service. Prosperity is adding value to others, not just extracting it. Our material wealth, emotional well-being and fruitful future rest on offering products, services and relationships that honor God and bring good to others. We buy certain products because of their (perceived or real) value. As we participate in the economy, we are stewards of God-given relationships and resources.
As we pray, vote and await the changes ahead, let’s dedicate ourselves to a future founded on character and competence rooted in faith, hope and love. Our salvation is from Christ. Our ultimate future is a gift from the Triune God. But our current life is a partnership with God and people of conscience to forge a loving and just community. “Yes we can” change course and one day look back on a new era of compassion, opportunity and flourishing.