Monday, February 25, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Has America lost her will?

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

In Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel “The Three Musketeers,” a young adventurer leaves home and is taken under the wing of an inseparable trio whose motto is “one for all and all for one.” Today in America that motto might well be “all for one if the one is me.”

America was built on the backs of its citizens who assumed individual responsibility; often forgoing personal gain for the good of all. Sacrifice came in the form of hardships starting with those endured by colonists in the 1580s at North Carolina’s Roanoke Island, by settlers at Jamestown, and continuing through most of this nation’s history.

Mutual sacrifice has been an integral part of the unfolding story of America. From the sacrifice of one’s life, from going without, from buying war bonds, to supporting civil rights – Americans have often sacrificed when called upon to do so.

The concept of shared national sacrifice seems archaic to some. Many from the baby- boom generation, for example, became disillusioned with government, particularly our military intervention abroad. Some of these “boomers” ultimately found their way into politics, newsrooms or teaching positions. Many of this group believes that all the problems of the world – past, present and future – began with America. They relentlessly condition their minions to feel the same way.

And then we have the self absorbed “me generation” where nothing matters but the individual fulfilling his or her needs and comforts with little regard for anyone or anything else.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt once said: “The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get rich quick theory of life.” Looking at America today from Roosevelt’s perspective in 1917, we may well be on our way to fulfilling his worst fears.

America today seems to have the equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) – the inability to concentrate and to become easily distracted. The country seldom sees anything through to completion. Every problem is either too difficult to solve, or too unimportant to deal with or focus on. It may have first presented itself in February 1945.

With World War II winding down and victory in Europe imminent, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin met in Yalta on the Baltic Sea. A weakened Roosevelt agreed with Churchill and Stalin that at the conclusion of the war millions of “liberated” eastern Europeans would be now be under governments controlled by communism, where they remained for 50 years. Our noble purpose for going to war in Europe – to eliminate tyranny and oppression and free the masses from bondage – was tainted by this human bargaining chip. As a nation we fell one step short of total victory.

In Korea we didn’t finish the job either. Nor in Vietnam. Or the Middle East in Desert Storm. Our troops were winning on the battlefield, yet denied total victory by a leadership unable or unwilling to convince the American people that further sacrifice was needed.

Will we let it happen again? The surge in Iraq is working, yet many Americans are growing impatient and weary of war. Our enemies abroad cannot defeat us on the field of battle. Our inner demons and lack of will at home can.

Social problems are no different. Everyone wants their “fair” share of the federal and state dole. With entitlements unsustainable, we still want more. Our educational system is broken; we irresponsibly think money alone can fix it. Illegal immigration is a huge problem; we’re not forcing our leaders to act. Billions of dollars of earmarks are attached to legislation on the state and federal level; we don’t seem to care. There is corruption in government in our state; it’s business as usual.

The free lunch for America as a whole and North Carolina as a state is unsustainable. The political, academic, cultural and corporate elites are sealing our fate and we’re sitting back and letting them do it. We’ve lost our will, and in the process we’ve lost our way.

In November we will have another opportunity to get it right. We must begin to elect individuals at all levels of government that have the strength, courage and will to tell it like it is. We cannot continue ignoring or denying that there are big problems in government at every level. Politicians are not kings; they are servants of the people. Unfortunately many of them and many of us have lost sight of that.

The challenges we face are significant, but not insurmountable. It’s going to take more than a campaign slogan or broad-brush stroked rhetoric. It’s going to take what it always has – the will of the American people.

A great deal of effort needs to be spent getting back to a discussion of what is happening in America. Conservatives have done little to educate the people about the consequences of many actions being taken. Some conservatives seem to have lost sight of the need to keep government from wasting money and supporting corruption. Some conservatives have hurt their own cause by insisting that government has no role at all in providing for a helping had to those who are needy, and thus have lost credibility when trying to stop waste and corruption when Government programs become a free ride for the greedy.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home