Like many thoughtful conservatives, I am more than disquieted by the policies and principles of the new administration. We are inundated with code words and marketing pitches while our liberties are gradually stripped away. "Equity" and "fairness" now mean unprecedented wealth redistribution. Temporary government assistance is becoming permanent ownership. Prosecuting the previous administration's interrogation practices while ignoring your own party's full knowledge is Chicago politics writ large.
It is too easy to criticize this rock star regime of condescending leftists who despise the core values of our Republic.
What is more challenging is facing the fact that we - personally and collectively - are responsible for this situation. The immortal words of Walt Kelly are true: "We have met the enemy - and they is us!"
Why do we have crypto (and not so crypto)-Marxists is power? Why are our deficits soaring and no one seems to care? I have no problem with criticizing former Presidents Bush I and II - their failures in communication, economic policy and overall leadership created the vacuums that Clinton and Obama have filled.
What we are watching is the culmination of nearly 50 years of cultural, moral and spiritual decline. No, I am NOT making the 1950s the "good old days." The Civil Rights Movement, progress in environmental understanding, the fall of the Soviet Union all represent progress. But underneath the surface narratives of Left or Right are issues that must be confronted.
The Left opines that America must apologize for almost everything, from colonialism to "arrogance." (I guess they have not lived in France much. If you want to see unwarranted arrogance, just sit is a Paris cafe.) The Left has a "progressive" vision to see the USA humbled and part of a global order with world citizenship. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are freedom-fighters, not thugs. (Tell that to the thousands oppressed in jail and suppressed in their speech.) The Left want to be inclusive, as long as they exclude catholic and evangelical white families with conservative values. In fact, the Roman Catholic niece of Martin Luther King is not "black" enough for their purposes.
The Right proclaim traditional values, the magic of the market, the glories of free enterprise and American traditions of voluntarism. I believe in traditional moral values. I am favorable to free markets and revel in the best of our history, but let's be honest about economic and social history as well as the realities of the present.
It is too easy to promote marriage, but we have failed to stem divorce.
It is easy to cry national security while failing to secure the moral foundations that make us strong.
It is great to say moral values are taught at home and that public schools need to refocus on the basics. But with larger numbers of children from broken homes ill-prepared to learn, a huge vacuum is left for the social engineers.
The current economic crisis was assisted by bad government policies, but some unscrupulous Wall Street leaders have now opened the door to socialism. A credit economy became a super-credit economy and the referees at the banks and investment houses stopped self-regulating and joined the bubble!
For nearly 80 years we have seen steady increases in the impact of the federal government. Some of this has been good - especially Civil Rights, Labor protection, some environmental oversight and safety nets for the vulnerable. But there is a cost. Local and State power has diminished and there is ever-encroaching regulation of behaviors best left to private conscience. We are watching the birth of a nanny state that is the first step toward totalitarianism.
How long will private property be protected?
How soon will moral statements be legally construed as hate speech?
Why are Muslims given extra protections while Jews and Christians continue to be reviled by the new elites?
Why are so many government officials allowed to get by cheating on their taxes while they change the tax codes to attack business interests?
How soon will "community panels" become the new soviets and regulate media in the name of "unity?"
How soon will previous interrogation excesses become the excuse to share more secrets with our enemies?
How long will the American people ignore the current threats to our universal values?
How long will we avoid the issue of illegal immigration - until being a citizen does not matter?
OK, the last questions might sound like Fox News talking points to the facile observer. But let's go deeper and ask more penetrating questions.
How long will we live in our lazy, narcissistic bubbles of media-saturated images?
How long will we eat too much, exercise too little and be manipulated by cable TV fads?
How long will we avoid confronting the pornographic saturation and the hedonism that passes for entertainment?
How long will we blame the media, the "world" or any other outside group and fail to be self-aware?
How long will spiritual leaders undermine their own traditions in the interest of relevance?
How long will we let ourselves be victims instead of dynamic responsible citizens?
Obama is not my favorite president - though I do pray for his awakening to truth and transcendent values.
Obama is not the problem. This nation can be renewed, if we will have the values and vision, the integrity and inclusiveness that our Founders possessed.
Pray for our president. Agitate for good laws. Oppose ideological entrapment. Above all, take responsibility and make a decisions to be people of compassion, integrity and intelligent patriotism. No government can regulate integrity and purity of intention!