Sunday, April 10, 2005

An Open Letter to the President

Dear President Bush,

As one of the millions who pray for you and share many of your views, I recognize that your job is a near-impossible one at times. You must fend off political factions, deal with domentic issues, stand tall for our nation in foreign affairs and manage to retain some sense of personal integrity. It is a tall order that is never filled perfectly, but occasionally admirably.

Your courage in the face of September 11, 2001 remains an inspiration. Your steadfast stance for life is another cause for celebration. Your deep love for our country and desire to see the seeds of democracy peaceably planted around the world are outstanding.

Yes sir, there are some qualifying ststements to follow. I do not write as an uncritical partisan of the Left or Right, nor do I state these assertions for the public without careful consideration. There are three critical areas that you must correct if our nation is going to be well-served and your Presidency remembered as great rather than fair. These are complex issues, but like your own inner rectitude, there are simple principles, trancendent truths that can guide you to wise conclusions.

The first issue in Immigration Reform. As a historian, I know that America is at her best when she welcomes people from all lands and opens doors of opportunity. There is no room for xenophobia in our hearts or policies. We must, however, establish the rule of law again and recognize the problem with a system that actually discriminates against those who legally pursue a better life here in the USA.

Mr. President, let me be candid. Huge business concerns that support you do not want to rock the boat. Cheap labor and undocumented millions serve well many Republican supporters, even as they open the door to terrorists and garnish billions of taxpayer's dollars. The Democrats want cheap votes, so it is easy for them to side with the "oppressed" and create euphemisms that try to rectify a century and an half of difficulty with Mexico.

The second issue is you and the Party's inability to control government spending. Even with the War on Terror, we have out-of-control COLAS, excessive pork, and a failure - going back to the Reagan administrations - to really reform the federal government. I challenge you to really examine how to streamline structures. Invite innovative and progressive young business minds into a dialogue that could be the key to preserving our democracy for another two centuries. By the way, your gut instinct to abolish the IRS and simplify taxes is great! Now that you are a second term President, will you DO something?

The third area that needs attention is a bit more general. The current Social Security fracas reveals a nation that is unable to cut the umbilical cord established by FDR. Medical Savings Plans, Social Security, and the role of government in our personal financial futures must be confronted. What would happen if we re-empowered the local and state governments to manage much of what is now a federal task? What about new private-public partnerships to rebuild our infrastructure of dams, road and sewers?

We have created three generations of Americans who are addicted to the federal "trough." Reversing this will not be easy, but you have the opportunity in the first two issues I have mentioned to make a start. Federal powers and resources need to be better focused on issues of infrastructure, foreign affairs and national security rather than funding obscure artists or even doling out welfare.

Mr President, I will continue to pray and wish you well, but I urge you to consider the good of our nation and the world and show courage in these matters. Courage is the Golden Mean between fear and foolhardiness. Use your geniality and build consensus. If you do not, we will continue to erode at our foundations and someone quite dangerous and disingenuous may be elected in 2008.

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