Wednesday, June 30, 2004

California Dreaming

Once again our Golden State will have a budget that ignores both economic sense and the desires of the electorate. Our new govenor has failed at every level to foster systemic change in a process that has taken the wealthiest state and made her a greator debtor than most nations of the world.

Whether Democrat or Republican, the lust for power once again overcomes all sound principles. Long-term fiscal and social health are not going to come through pork-barrel policies or sound-bites, but real reformers willing to look at all facets of our state priorities and make hard choices.

We are truly in "la-la land" if we think "business as usual" will keep businesses from fleeing the state and overtaxed citizens from frustration.

The question for our leaders in Sacramento is simple: does anyone have the courage to transform policy or are we going to be at the mercy of every fresh-faced demagogue?

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

We Can Not Have It All

We are in the midst of a decisive debate on the values and vision that will determine the direction of our culture and society for years to come.

We are not in a simplistic war between good and evil, right and left, or even traditional versus modern.

We live in an age of contradictions. The Right advocates freedom while often ignoring the systemic evils of global business.

The Left speaks of tolerance while vilifying anyone who espouses long-standing moral precepts.

Minority communities continue to agitate for "justice" while excoriating internal critics who call for self-examination.

Virtue gurus call for heroism and self-reliance, yet find themselves unable to master addictions.

How do we navigate forward in an era fraught with peril and potential?

We must reassert that true freedom depends upon explicit and implicit adherence to moral principles and personal responsibility. Our culture of victimhood must yield to an ethos of mutual respect and community sacrifice.

We must learn to live with our deepest differences without being forced to affirm what is reprehensible to us. Toleration is not approval; moral and spiritual universes are different.

Let's raise the level of our debate beyond sound bites and personal posturing to a new plane of serious reflection. Only then will we have the fortitude to face the future.