Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A New Direction

The news is painful to observe. We see human tragedy on a massive scale in Africa, with little attention given to the loss of an entire generation to AIDS, genocide and religio-political warfare. In the Middle East, unveiled threats from all sides keep Israel in a state of high alert, while a dormant West criticizes the Israeli government for their refusal to accept gradual self-annihilation. Economies around the world are struggling to sort out the consequences of massive global speculation. Our Campaigner-in-Chief is doing what he does best: using our money to agitate and cover up his utter lack of leadership and skill. The Republican campaign is down to a dull roar as conservatives express concerns, evangelicals struggle with a Mormon candidate and the other leaders stay on the sidelines and position themselves for a 2016 run. Underneath the surface, there are ominous signs of our American experiment in liberty-rooted-in-virtue eroding even further. The Obama Administration's defiance of Congress and the Supreme Court - in direct violation of their "post-partisan" 2008 ideals - does not bode well for our democratic future. If populist Executive Orders can trump judicial and legislative balances, what is left but a descent into the totalitarian abyss? Meanwhile, Republicans offer little vision to galvanize alienated constituencies that share most of their values. Our fiscal house remains a disaster. The Ryan plan may not be the answer, but it is a starting point for a painful discussion we must stop avoiding. We need a new direction. Our current trajectory posits survival (for a few years) at best, subversion and anarchy at worst. What can we do to reverse course and restore susbtantive hope? I want to offer four keys to unlocking a better future. They will not be popular with elites in both parties, so they may be rooted in reality! First, we must promote a moral and spiritual awakening that restores reverence for the Almighty and personal responsibility for individuals and families. Yes, there are structural issues of class and culture, religion and race, economic and educational opportunities that must be addressed. But change in all of these arenas begins with transformation of the heart. Schools will only be as strong as the families that send their kids off in the morning with a full stomach, clean clothes and an affirming hug. Bill Cosby's exhortations for parental responsibility need to be magnified in all communities, regardless of economics or race. Unless a critical mass of people embrace the call to love sacrificially, turn off the toys and pay attention to their children, no amount of government spending or private charity will resverse our self-destruction. Second, we must stop spending money that does not exist. An immediate 15% cut across the board in federal spending and serious budgetary recalibration will kick-start our economy and transform local and state governments as well. This means cuts everywhere, including defense. No, we are not showing weakness when we scrutinize the fat in defense contracts or reduce our presence in some sectors of the globe. We also need to reverse the trend of incresaing food stamp usage and eliminate ads that promote them! It is time to privitize public pensions (with government oversight of investment ethics) and stop creating six-figure jobs for government employees while working-class folks struggle. Third, we must overhaul the tax code, creating a two- or three-tier system that caps at a rate low enough to stimulate investment while being as fair as possible to different income levels. Ending most deductions and special-interest breaks (like the ones that enable rock stars to call their estates "farms") and rewarding domestic investment will keep us the leader of the free world, not by force of arms but by creativity and innovation. Fourth, we need an immigration policy that is hospitable, just and submissive to the rule of law. Voting is only for citizens and ID checks are not a violation of civil rights. Every citizen's vote must count and corruption reduced. Why are the Democrats so afraid of confirming the identity of voters at local precincts? Why was a white man able to pose as Attorney General Eric Holder and given a ballot, even when he offered three times to show ID? If we do not confront these core issues, our disintigration will accelerate and our nation will be one more collapsed civilization on the ash heap of history. Our demise is not inevitable if we reverse course today.

No comments: