Author: Dan V. Jackson
I have always been proud to be my father’s son. He was a good man who endured a difficult life. He grew up during the Depression, was orphaned at an early age, served honorably in World War II, and who had to face every parent’s nightmare – burying a child. But he lived the American dream, building a highly successful business from scratch that provided a measure of wealth and financial security for both him and his family. The business was his crowning achievement, and he remained in charge of it until the day he died.
My father was the person who instilled in me my love for politics. During my teenage years in the 1970s, we would spend hours sitting in the living room analyzing and arguing over the issues of the day. I owe my Republican leanings and perspective to his influence. Yet my father’s political views were always laced with a certain pessimism about our country’s future. He believed America’s best days were behind it and we were spiraling downward at an accelerating rate. I always disputed that premise, insisting that America was a great country filled with great people who could rise to every occasion, no matter how difficult the challenge. I like to think that the American renaissance under President Reagan in the 1980s proved me right.
Yet now, as I reach the age my father was when we first engaged in these spirited discussions, I now find myself adopting more and more of his pessimism about our country. I now openly wonder whether America can still be described as a great nation. Why is that? Well, just take a look at the evidence:
- We elected not once, but twice, as President a man who openly practices class warfare and who believes government is not a protector of liberty but a glorified nanny that needs to take care of us because we are too stupid to take care of ourselves. While it is disputable as to whether he “hates” our country, he certainly does not believe in American greatness or exceptionalism. I truly never thought I would see the day when an American president would actually apologize for our country to such stewards of human fairness and equity as the Egyptian parliament.
- The voting public rejected Mitt Romney, who in addition to being eminently qualified for the job of President, was perhaps the most fundamentally decent man to ever run for that office. Instead solid majorities chose to believe obvious and vitriolic lies about him being an indifferent and none-too-bright plutocrat who relished firing people and watching their wives die of cancer. For a majority of American people to accept without question such a ridiculous caricature of Governor Romney speaks poorly of our collective ability to exercise our democratic rights.
- Our federal government is pursuing ruinous financial policies such as spending a trillion dollars per year more than it collects. No business, household or government can spend 40% more than their revenues over a prolonged period of time without going bankrupt. Yet any attempt to make the rational point that we must reign in our out-of-control spending is met with a combination of disdain and venomous character attacks. There is an utter lack of seriousness among the public and the ruling class to correct or even address the serious financial mismanagement that could in short order ruin both our currency and our economy.
- We are rapidly adopting the European model of speech control, with certain subjects simply considered to be “off limits” for discussion. People who believe in centuries-old customs like traditional marriage or second amendment rights are now openly branded as “haters” unworthy of either serious consideration or protection under the law. It is the same kind of strong-armed intimidation that is practiced by authoritarian dictatorships to effectively quell freedom of speech or thought.
- Our culture ever more aggressively mocks and dismisses mainstream American values like patriotism, family and monogamy. Our “heroes” are not those who fight and die for liberty overseas but instead are narcissistic singers, actors and sports figures who display open contempt for those who pay their ridiculous salaries. What does it say about a culture when Dennis Rodman is a household name but Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer is not?
Its funny how as we get older we adopt more and more of our parents’ mannerisms. But maybe in this case that is with good reason. Maybe Dad was right in his pessimism about the future of America, but was only a few decades off in his timing. Maybe we’ve crossed a line; maybe we have lost the country.
I hope someone can convince me I am wrong, but somehow I doubt it.