Are America's Best Days Behind Us?
It takes more grit to be optimistic about the future, with all its uncertainties, than to be pessimistic. The greatest sin of today's liberals or progressives is that they refuse to learn from the multiple failures of historic, indeed tragic, attempts to achieve Utopia through big government, whether through Nazism, fascism, communism, or European socialism. On a smaller scale, ask anyone involved in trying to start up a new business, and you'll hear how hard it is and about the slim odds of succeeding. There is more than enough ammunition to be a naysayer about America's future.
So why not be pessimistic? After all, the headlines have been blaring negative news about the economy for ages, and people experience the reality of that bad news every time they go to the grocery store or fill up the gas tank and find that the prices have increased again. Little wonder that the majority of Americans (77 percent) say that the nation is on the wrong track. Plus, it's not just the economy that's troubling. We worry that our public schools are not providing even the basic foundational knowledge to prepare our children to compete successfully in this technological age. We worry about the decrepit bridges and deteriorating main streets of our nation, while we still provide American troops to Europe and Japan to guarantee their safety long after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many American homeowners owe more on their homes now than those houses are worth in today's economy. In addition, we worry because many of us lost from a quarter to half of our personal net worth over the past four years.
The big-picture fiscal crisis is beyond comprehension -- our national debt (now fast approaching $15 trillion) reached 100 percent of GDP far quicker than government estimates predicted. Out-of-control government spending now exceeds one-third of GDP. One expert calculated that the U.S. spends more than a billion dollars of borrowed money in a typical eight-hour working day -- every single day of the year! On top of that, our president proposed a jobs bill that would cost nearly $500 billion -- a number that some economists said came out to about $4.8 million per non-job. What was the end result? The International Monetary Fund predicts that China will be the next world power as soon as 2016.
The richest five percent of Americans now pay nearly 60 percent of the income tax burden of the nation, while over 50 percent of their fellow citizens pay absolutely nothing (this includes most lower-income job-holders after receiving their EITC check from the U.S. Treasury, which refunds all the FICA that was withheld and more). Unemployment has hovered around or above nine percent for months on end, and millions of our fellow Americans have gone through foreclosures.
The future looks dim, too, when out-of-wedlock births top 40 percent and a majority of those single mothers have inadequate education. In today's high-tech world, they are ill-prepared for getting a job and are poorly prepared to handle their adult responsibilities, most especially the rearing of their children alone or with an abusive boyfriend. Thousands of the nation's dependency generation are camping out and trashing city parks across the nation, complaining that they want more handouts from those Americans who put aside the self-absorption of youth, got a job, became self-sufficient, and a small minority of which even managed the difficult trick of becoming successful entrepreneurs.
Our fear grows that the president is not concerned about all these current national crises and actually seeks a less "exceptional" America. We look around and worry that there is no one in the current lineup of possible presidents who can turn the situation around and prevent the economic and social calamities that beset most of the countries of the world and which we see making inroads in our culture.
In spite of this litany of challenges (some would call it a list of miseries), I believe that America's best days could still be in the future. The lamentable current state of America is the inevitable result of out-of-control liberal ideology that aggressively teaches moral relativity and believes in government solutions to every problem. Frankly, the current situation is irrefutable evidence of the failure of liberal politics.
The fate of America rests with the 2012 elections. Conservatives must prevail in defeating President Obama and taking control of both the House and the Senate. Equally important, those who lead the nation into 2013 and beyond must repeal ObamaCare and work to restore the nation to fiscal and social stability. That goal is imperative, and it won't be easy. At the same time, it is a clear, unequivocal goal that is straightforward even if not simple to attain. If the victors in 2012 will stay focused on restoring the nation to fiscal and social stability, I believe that they will find support from enough of our citizenry, from middle-of-the-road independents to conservatives of many stripes, who want to see America thrive again.
Here are three things we have going for us:
- America is still the world's best success story. The success of democratic capitalism in America remains the envy of the world. We have tremendous potential in terms of the economy, the nation's military, and the strong emphasis on traditional marriage and family. Despite considerable erosion, the moral foundation of the nation remains intact, and in some sectors of society, it is vibrant. With the right national and local leadership, those aspects of America can, once again, be dynamic enough to reverse the social and economic engineering of the recent past.
- The current crises have captured the attention of Middle America. People are energized and feel a sense of urgency to roll back the public policy decisions of the current administration. The Tea Party is a good example of how Main-Street Americans are ready to get involved in reinstituting those values and attitudes that made this country unique and powerful. Mature Americans understand that dependency is destructive; they want to revitalize personal responsibility and individual entrepreneurial spirit, so that the nation will thrive.
- Conservatives are winning on numerous cultural fronts where decline is threatening the nation's well-being. The bottom line is that people of character and integrity are necessary to restore a nation ruled by law and governed by the will of the people. America is known for its resilience. The pro-marriage, pro-family, and pro-life movements are making impressive strides in changing attitudes and calling Americans back to those values that simultaneously stabilize the economy and strengthen the culture while, at the same time, providing opportunity for everyone willing to work.
Ironically, we have experienced a great blessing in that the failures of the Obama administration have brought to the fore the dismal consequences of a dependency culture nurtured by big government. If we return to the truths taught us by our Founding Fathers -- most especially that our liberty is a priceless gift from God -- the election of 2012 can become the turning point necessary for opportunity, individual initiative, and personal responsibility to once again be the hallmarks of the American experience and the wellsprings of its exceptionalism.
-Janice Shaw Crouse, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee