Hey Dad, Are we going to be okay?

…. The truth is we’ve been here before, more than once. We know the holding handsway out. The question is: Do we, as Americans, still have the guts to make the tough choices and execute the plan knowing that the healing process will be more painful than our current condition, or will we kick the can down the road and leave it for our kids to take care of. Time is of the essence as we have levied some pretty high financial stakes this time around. Recorded history reveals what  prominent figures had to say about the crisis’ that surrounded them. 

We’re in a rough spot right now. It seems every week brings a new crisis for Americans to swallow. The economic meltdown, oil in the Gulf, setbacks in Afghanistan, stagnation in the Middle East, movement in the wrong direction in North Korea and Iran, terrorism on home turf, political incivility, high unemployment, WikiLeaks, corruption on Wall Street, ineptness in DC, high deficits, bleak financial forecasts …. the pile seems to get higher each day. Leaders on both sides of the aisle point fingers, question motivation and in the end, add very little to ease our concern. These events have a cumulative psychological effect leading Americans to ponder the unthinkable; Are our best days behind us?

All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.
Robert Kennedy

I remember being in elementary school when I asked my dad if the United States was going to end. That may seem like an odd question to ask but consider the times. The country was getting over JFK’s assassination. The summer of ‘65 was marked with nightly reports by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on the riots in Watts. It looked to a 10 year old like Los Angeles was burning to the ground. The smoke had barely cleared and Life Magazine graphically portrayed the murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. That same summer Chicago was the ungracious host to a rancorous Democratic National Convention and the civil violence that defined it. Viet Nam was a confused mess and the protesters just seemed to make things worse.   

 

If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Winston Churchill 

Places that I’d never heard of before, Cambodia and Laos became front page news as military leaks reached Congress and Americans got to learn where the war effort had strayed. The Vice President of the United States was forced to resign after pleading no contest to charges of corruption. Watergate then exploded bringing down the leader of the free world who had become an accomplice to the crimes of others by following his own misguided moral compass.  

 

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln 

Unelected President Gerald Ford found himself in a mess that he actually did inherit. His place in history is secure if for only one thing; he applied  much needed salve to a dispirited country that had received traumatic wounds. But, the healing was temporary. Jimmy Carter’s feckless efforts to right the country’s economic and foreign relations woes only made the Misery Index go higher. ‘Stagflation’, 18% interest rates, US hostages in Iran and the Panama Canal give back once again veiled Americans with melancholy. 

Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.
Henry A. Kissinger

The country not only survived this era of dysfunction, but it recovered and thrived. We had done it before following two costly world wars, a devastating stock market crash, and a horrific Civil War. Not necessarily because of who led us out of the woods but because of the unrelenting force of the American spirit.

I always seem to get inspiration and renewed vitality by contact with this great novel land of yours which sticks up out of the Atlantic.
Winston Churchill

From Watts to Panama was 14 years of history. We recovered from wounds that would have put many governments under. We’re now about 10 years into our current malaise if one starts the clock at  8:46 a.m. on 11 September, 2001. I imagine there are 10 year olds that watch TV and listen to the headlines that are asking their dads the same question I asked mine. I hope we can recover from this one as well.

The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.
Abraham Lincoln

This time is different though. We are no longer the country of limitless resources and deep pockets. The time when our government had the luxury of relying on the generosity of the American people to bail them out each April 15th is over. They’ve reached their limit for graciousness. We’ve spent our last dollar and exceeded our credit limit to the point where the only way out is fiscal restraint. Financial austerity is a discipline every well run household understands intimately but a notion that is foreign to Washington politicians. The ongoing civil unrest in Greece, France and England is offered compliments of those that have gotten used to promises and the free stuff with which their government bought their votes. These ugly scenes from Europe and Great Britain may be precursors of what will happen in California, NY and Illinois if common sense becomes too elusive. That would be a very bad omen for recovery.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
Gerald R. Ford

The next two to five years will flush out the core of American sentiment. Will we have the courage to make necessary changes on all fronts to ensure our future or will we concede and fall into line behind Western Europe. I remain committed to the notion that we are a country of exceptionalism and betting against an American is never a good idea.

My dad’s answer to me? “We’ll be fine”. He was right. 

The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.
Dietrich Bonheoffer

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2 Responses

  1. Basicman, I like your article, and in its essence I agree. America has always been resilient. However. in some regards the problems we face today are very different than anything we have faced in the past. First, America at one time was a nation strong in faith. Faith in God. (gasp!) Today, the political incorrectness of such a statement incites a firestorm of controversy. Lost is the notion that our greatness (and hence, resiliency) is the direct result of our (Judeo) Christian heritage. American freedoms as set forth by our Founders in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are “borrowed” from Christian philosophers like John Locke, who in turn “borrowed” them from Christian theologians like Augustine of Hippo. Ultimately, the Author of freedom and liberty is Almighty God. He gave us free will. As America falls away from this reality and from God. our freedoms fade in inverse proportion. We need a religious revival in America. We need to reaffirm our belief in God. I don’t mean become a theocracy, God forbid! But as individuals we need to return to the faith of our forefathers. Less on the coveting. More on the faith, hope, and charity. Restraint. Humility.The Christian virtues. Strong and virtuous individuals make a strong, virtuous nation. Another way in which our problems today differ from past problems is that we have fallen away from the guidelines set forth in our Constitution. We are blessed to have it! It is the greatest political document ever written. When America was truly a great nation, we adhered to the Constitution with great fervor. The framework contained in this document served to lift our nation from being a new and initially weak entity, through a period of explosive growth and expansion, to become the greatest nation in the history of the world. The richest. The most powerful. The most influential. Then we began to drift away from the Constitution.Congress relinquished its responsibility to control and issue our currency to a central bank (the Fed, a private company). The executive branch has garnered powers far out of line with the system of checks and balances framed in the Constitution. The judicial branch has become a political tool used to further agendas of Presidents, not to protect the rights of individuals. The farther from the Constitution we get, the more our rights and freedoms as citizens are ignored or violated. .As political and economic paralysis set in, we the people are weakened in our efforts to remain a strong and viable controlling force on a government gone seemingly mad with power. One more way problems today differ from past problems here in America is that now we must wonder if that power the government has gone mad with is even domestic in origin. Globalism is rearing its ugly head in our beloved country. “Kooks” who espoused a belief that a small cabal of ultra rich individuals conspire to rule the world must be given more credibility in light of the emergence of George Soros and his startling revelations.Some of the inexplicable actions of the current and previous Presidential administrations can only be explained in terms of goals beyond nationalism. A sovereign America is the last stumbling block to a world government with a world religion and a world currency. The efforts to achieve these horrid things are becoming more and more blatant and open., and yet America sleeps. So, in view of apostasy,unconstitutional government, and globalism, it can be said that America’s future is in the greatest jeopardy in our history. If my little son asks me if the United States is going to end, I’ll have to tell him, “no son, because we will wake up in time, we’ll love God, and serve His will, and follow the same rules and beliefs that made us great and sustained us in the past.” And I’ll pray and pray for that to come true..

  2. Great post. As someone who left a communist country and was fortunate enough to have this country open its doors to us, we have the responsibility to protect and defend the American Dream. I believe it is the American Dream because as the last post said, we are a country founded on God. Religion was one of the first things Castro ripped away from us in Cuba. We must realize that every good thing comes from God and unless we place him on the throne where he belongs, things can slip away…

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