Disillusioned and Disheartened
I am disillusioned and disheartened. Disillusioned and disheartened by the damage done by absurd social policies. By the damage done to our economy. By the damage done to our military. By successive Congresses and presidents. The damage did not happen overnight. It has been ongoing for decades.
Specifically, it began on 22 November 1963, when Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president after the assassination of JFK. The difference could not be starker. The nation went from "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," to the "Great Society," the alleged goal of which was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. Johnson's war on poverty created the foundation for the excessive welfare state (and associated entitlement attitude and culture) permeating many communities today, concurrently draining our national treasure and removing the incentive to work. Johnson and his White House staff also micromanaged the Vietnam war, a precedent for wholly inappropriate military oversight, such as undertaken by the Obama administration as described by former secretary of defense Robert Gates. Beginning with Johnson, successive presidents and Congresses have increasingly abdicated their constitutional responsibilities in favor of perpetual re-election mania in pursuit of personal power and enrichment, damaging the democracy in which we live.
The beginnings can be traced back to 1963.
The time was the '60s, a dark period with assassinations, political upheaval, protests (both peaceful and violent), Vietnam, and the rising counter-culture. Many of those from the '60s have been and continue to be the individuals directly responsible for the ills of the nation. While many were serving in Vietnam, other teenagers and young adults of the '60s were marching against them, with all too many seeking and receiving draft deferments (due to unequal management of the draft), ultimately becoming permanent activists, cleaving a sharp divide in the nation. They graduated college and have since wrought havoc across the country, with far too many entering politics. Others entered business and went on to infamy in organizations like Enron and Lehman Brothers. Coming from the same liberal colleges and universities, which were rare at the time, the business and political forces eventually intertwined so that Wall Street pursuits and national-level politics are virtually indistinguishable. Some of the less ambitious university activists from the '60s, those not possessing a strong work ethic, never left academia, becoming perpetual students, obtaining advanced degrees, becoming instructors, gaining tenure, and going on to spew their views of the world to generation after generation of students.
Many of those from the '60s entering politics infested local, state, and federal bodies with a cancer that may never be cured. At the federal level, Congress created a new form of slavery, forcing entitlement after entitlement onto the nation, aiming at minorities (initially the black community, but now almost any minority community). Successive Congresses conditioned citizens to believe they cannot succeed without government assistance, that they are incapable of making their own way in life. Consequently, successive generations of voters have been conditioned not to work, but to be welfare queens and kings. Multiple Congresses produced and perpetuated failed policies that fractured families, tearing apart the nuclear family structure essential for the raising of children.
So now we have the perfect storm, created by lackluster to criminally negligent Congresses passing laws to ingratiate voters and enslave them to government benefits. Congresses and presidents enacted and changed laws to remove personal responsibility and accountability from daily lives and society. All along, these liberals were facilitated by academia as well as state houses gerrymandering voting districts. Not only has the "great society" failed the nation, but the military has suffered at the hands of the same individuals.
Congresses and presidents have wrongly sent our men and women off to war, contributing to a society unwilling to fully support the military. Those who say many of the wars since 1950 have been illegal may have standing. The misstated and misused Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) is not a substitute for a declaration of war, as a reading of the Constitution would have one believe is required for committing the nation to combat. By pretense and obfuscation, employing our military in combat operations has been cloaked in soft-sounding verbiage, ignoring the harsh reality and costs of warfare. Further, the reasons for the AUMF have been inexact and open to wildly different interpretations.
Contributing to the problem is the declining number of military veterans in Congress, removing the voices of those who have been willing to place their lives on the line. Also influential was the elimination of the draft, imperfect as it was. Subsequently, less than one half of one percent of the population even serves on active duty, meaning that fewer and fewer families are invested in protecting the nation. This manifests in politicians willing to send the sons and daughters of others into harm's way. Congresses, academia, and social activists have also looked at the military as a social science laboratory, forcing onto the military countless programs having little to nothing to do with either combat readiness or combat effectiveness, ripping badly needed resources from operational readiness. The money simply is not where it is needed in sufficient amounts, as the abysmal state of Marine Corps F/A-18s amply illustrates.
Congresses now spend money we do not have – not on military readiness, but on the large welfare and other entitlement systems Johnson began. With the primary incentive being to remain in office, the GOP goes along, even if making noises to the contrary from time to time. The multiple successive terms in office corrupt the system and the individuals, so even when handed the White House, Senate, and House, the GOP is as ineffectual as can be.
At the federal level, polices and laws fragmented and weakened families and the military. Funding for failed policies was spent, even when revenues did not meet expenditures. Values once considered commonplace have been set aside. Important institutions were infected by '60s thinking. Throughout, Congress after Congress failed in its constitutional responsibilities. Members of Congress who have never been willing to put their lives on the line for anything have made disastrous decisions time after time, with an eye only to re-election, not truly serving the nation. Military misadventures have become common as presidents and Congresses fail to act in accordance with constitutional mandates. Social programs and entitlements expanded at exponential rates. Instead of good decisions for education, the economy, health care, and national defense, policies and laws promoting entitlement took root, creating generations of welfare recipients rather than generations of wage- and salary-earners.
In sum, the beginnings of the damage can be traced back to November 22, 1963 – a monumental shift in thinking and acting, away from honor, hard work, family, patriotism, integrity, and sacrifice. That shift instigated a tidal wave on college campuses, producing graduates who entered and damaged critical sectors of society.
And all of that is what leads to my being disillusioned and disheartened.