In my blog last week, I wrote about America’s “identity crisis,” and the fact that we seem to be a nation that is in the midst of a monumental social and economic collapse, the likes of which have been unmatched in the history of civilization. I stand firmly by every word of that article, and if you haven’t yet read it, I encourage you to do so. I hope it fires you up. I hope that it moves you to action—to seek reform and change, not only in our governmental entities, but in the way we, as individuals, live our lives and impact others. After all, if we are sitting around waiting on government to initiate positive change in our lives, then, my friends, we are already doomed. I would remind you of the words of Thomas Jefferson: “The People are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our Liberty.”
In reflecting on my previous rant, it occurred to me that I was pointing out a lot of what is wrong with this country, but when it came to actual solutions for fixing all of these problems, I didn’t offer much. I appreciated some of the comments and emails I received from the readers of that blog, but the one that hit me like a baseball bat across the forehead, oddly enough, was from my own mother (mothers have a way of yanking us back down to reality, don’t they?). In her comment to my blog, she stated very simply, “Now what do we the people do about this mess?” Well that IS the question, and over the course of the next several months, I hope to provide some of my thoughts on that very subject. Let me begin with this…
I think most of us still believe that the American model of self-governance is the strongest, most effective and most compassionate form of government in the history of mankind. Our model is not the problem; the problem lies in the fact that our model has been so bastardized and corrupted by greedy, self-interested politicians over the last century that it now has become hardly recognizable. Mix in a lazy, disinterested and uninformed populace and you have the recipe for the “identity crisis” I wrote about last week.
So how do we fix this mess? Lesson #1…and get ready…because this is the answer that nobody wants to hear. In a day of microwave popcorn, “on-demand” cable and instant messaging, we have to employ a tactic that the liberal/socialist ideologists have perfected over the last 100 years. They call it “incrementalism.” Little by little, piece by piece, they have surgically and methodically dismantled our free republic, replacing it, bit by bit, with their socialist agenda. When William H. Taft was sworn in as our 27th President in 1909, the concepts of state-funded abortion, government-sanctioned research on embryos and universal health care coverage were absolutely unfathomable to most Americans. Why in the world, those Americans thought, would we look to the federal government with regard to anything having to do with our medical care? Here we are, though, a century later, having debates not so much about the merits of these issues, but rather over the federal government’s depth of involvement therein. How did we get here? In a word, “incrementally.” None of this intrusive participation by the federal government was allowed to happen overnight. The liberal/socialist ideologists have been savvy enough to recognize that the only hope for the advancement of their overall agenda (more government involvement in citizens’ everyday lives) was to unveil it slowly…patiently…gradually…over time. And to a marked degree, they have succeeded. To make a football analogy, a good offense always takes what the defense gives it. When the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII a few weeks ago, you did not see Steelers’ quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, lofting “Hail Marys” 60 yards down the field on every play. Particularly, on the Steelers’ final offensive drive of that game, Roethlisberger led his team 78 yards in 8 plays over the course of 2 ½ minutes to score the winning touchdown. Roethlisberger and his team were successful because they took what the defense gave them. Surgically and methodically, he led his team down the field and, ultimately, to victory.
So, my friends, it is time for us to advance the ball. It is time for us to get our defense off the field and commit to our own form of “incrementalism”–what I like to call “patient persistence.” It will be a long and, at times, very frustrating process. It will require more patience and more persistence than most in my generation have shown that we are capable of. We have to stop living in the “here and now,” hoping that the rest of America is somehow on the verge of that “great awakening,” and instead begin focusing on the future; and by “future” I do not mean tomorrow…or the next day…or next year…or even 20 years from now. This is a daily task…this is a daunting task…this is an overwhelming task. It is so easy to turn away from such a monumental undertaking and simply return to our reality TV shows, our gossip magazines or our morning cup of java. But this is the only way we will ever really slow the pendulum of socialism and begin forcing it back in the other direction. We have to change our entire mindsets—and those of our friends, neighbors and family members—to stop with this instant gratification mentality, and begin focusing on what really matters…one day at a time.
Each day of my life, from this date forth, I have committed that I will advance our ball down the field. I ask you to do the same. Whether you send an email to a friend, call your Congressman’s office, attend a political rally, vote on election day, initiate a conversation with a young person about self-reliance and responsibility, make that charitable contribution, or volunteer at the senior center or youth organization, we must end this cycle of dependency on government. One by one…day by day…we have to teach these people to fish.
We are human beings, and by nature, we will become frustrated. And given where we are as a society and the “now mentality” that has been drilled into us, we will become very frustrated by the pace at which things happen (or don’t happen, for that matter). But here is one of my favorite quotes…print it off and tape it onto your bathroom mirror or the dashboard of your car or wherever else you happen to look every single day, and take it to heart:
“We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”—George W. Bush, September 21, 2001.