Op-Ed: America’s Future Looking Dim this July 4th

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As another celebration of the founding of the Republic nears, perhaps it is an appropriate time to observe and reflect.

This nation has been allowed, and some believe even encouraged, to drift from our core beliefs and institutional roots. The pace and direction of this significant change has been accelerated at what seems like warp speed in the last few years.

Indeed, all nations change. This fact has been evident throughout recorded history. Demographics, beliefs, policies and politics change. However, many believe there is a tipping point when nations, such as the United States, have moved too far away from their core values and beliefs. There cannot be much argument that the principles and common beliefs of the American people have been the glue holding the union together, making it the strongest military power in the world, with one of the strongest economies on the globe.

Not to wax nostalgic, but the “greatest” generation, which is also the nation’s primary population in the post WWII United States, is rapidly fading from the scene. This generation, which many of us remember, built the nation’s economy, created a productive middle class, and made obtaining a quality education a priority. These halcyon days are past and conjure up many memories for a still wistful segment of our population. It is interesting to note that the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI has just passed as has all the participants in the world wide conflagration which was a ‘war to end all wars”.

Today, the position of the United States in the world is uncertain and challenged daily. Nationally, our GDP, general economy, balance of trade and other economic indicators are exhibiting abysmal records. Our workforce is changing and our education system is no longer the envy of the world. Our health system reels under change and chaos. Our venerated veterans’ health services are in a shambles and the government agency known as the “tax collector” is fraught with scandal. Our borders and our immigration policies are languishing, with the borders becoming dangerous. The flow of illegal aliens is challenging our national resources and ability to absorb so many children. It’s not an especially bright future for those who seek better education, safety and democracy.

The administration in Washington seems aloof and disengaged at a time when our nation’s security and economy struggle as the internal challenges appear numerous and serious. Politically in our own state, a weak primary turnout and lethargy allowed the Democratic “establishment” to nominate a candidate for governor, who will carry on the same old liberal tax and spending policies advocated by the outgoing governor and the most recent state legislature. The Republican candidate will have to recommend workable and practical new policies, and be extremely well funded to have any opportunity to oust the very entrenched leadership in Annapolis.

Perhaps this is not the most optimistic outlook upon which to reflect as we approach the 4th of July 2014. These issues and challenges beg the question: Can the United State regain her footing internationally, improve its economy nationally, and retrieve our reputation as the leader of the free world?

Yes, we need change. Constructive change. A change in our political environment and a change in the direction of our state nation which can and should be the envy of the world and the beacon of democracy envisioned and implemented by our forefathers.

Have a great 4th of July and make sure to wave your flag, large or small, to honor our nation.

Letters to Editor

  1. Joe Lill says:

    Editor,

    Is the glass half full or is the glass half empty? Today’s headlines state that last month the country created the most jobs in a year and a half and the Dow Jones is flirting with a record high. That is hardly “Glass Half Empty” news. The air we breathe and the water we drink are becoming cleaner, and we no longer sacrifice the environment that our children will inherit for the sake of of a Dollar.
    We have made a commitment to use our strong military only as a last resort and to encourage diplomacy at a regional level instead. “Speak softly but carry a big stick”, Teddy Roosevelt said. The immediate and long term cost of a strong military is huge, as President Eisenhower reminded us during his farewell address in 1960. “Beware the military-industrial complex”, he said. Our founding fathers cautioned us to not get involved in foreign wars especially in Europe.
    Emma Lazurus told the world in her poem on the Statue of Liberty to give us your poor, your tired, your hungry yet today we talk of the “Fence”. How tall of a fence should we build across the thousands of miles of our border to stop immigrants from tunneling to this country for what they see as a golden opportunity? Maybe Mr. Hall should ask one of those people willing to risk all to come to this country if they think the future here is dim!

    God Bless America and may the Fourth be with you!

    • Editor,
      There’s a choice:

      – Tax and Spend (Democrats)
      – Spend (Republicans)

      Republicans over the past 30 years talk big about tax cuts but have been unwilling to offset those cuts with a reduction in government services. I’m affiliated with neither party, but at least the Democrats are willing to realize services require funding. We can all dicker about what an appropriate level of services is, but there’s so such thing as free money.

    • Joe Lill says:

      Editor,

      Update:
      Reuters reports today that American exports hit a record high last month.

      Glass half full

  2. Ed Plaisance says:

    Editor,

    The Fourth of July is certainly a wonderful time to engage in a swell of Chicken Little observations on the state of our country.

    I would invite Mr Hall to draw up a list of what these core beliefs and institutional roots roots are, and how we have drifted from them.

    Are we talking about “all men are created equal”?…although we love to quote that phrase, if we were to travel back to Jefferson’s day, it would be pretty obvious that they meant “white, European (English), male, educated, land owners” are created equal in practical terms. They could not conceive of a black president or maybe a women president. Should we go back to that understanding of the text?

    Are we talking about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? I think it can be reasonably argued that since 1776 there has been an inexorable progression and expansion in what these words, as well as words in the Bill of Rights and other Amendments, comprehend…abolition of slavery…women’s voting rights…Brown v Board of Education…civil rights…Roe v Wade…gay marriage… there “ain’t no going back”.

    Yes, nations change. If we go back beyond Jefferson’s time to the very original settlers, I don’t think we would find very much in common with them. I would invite Mr Hall to read this review of Prof Bailyn’s book The Barbarous Years, which I waded through several months ago. The book was an eye-opener. It is not your grade school “Thanksgiving with the Indians” story.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/books/review/the-barbarous-years-by-bernard-bailyn.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Yes, we have grown from those barbarous days and from those days when Jefferson was penning the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. But I would challenge Mr Hall to be specific and point to where we have passed the “tipping point”.

    Those “halcyon” days Mr Hall refers to bring to mind a Norman Rockwell image of America that existed more in the imagination than in reality. The “greatest generation” was the nation at war and it was the war production that rebuilt the nation’s economy. I don’t hear anyone recommending we revert to that model. Anyone remember ration cards?

    I wonder at Mr Hall’s definition of “abysmal” economic indicators…if my IRA’s numbers are any indication, I could do with a lot more of “abysmal”.

    Yes, our workforce is changing…and it has always been changing. Shall we go back to the Ozzie and Harriet model family? Or send 49% of the population back to the farm, as it was in 1880? (Today it is under 3% of the labor force.)

    Our higher education system is still the envy of the world if you measure it by Nobel Prizes won, scientific papers produced, medical advances made, and other metrics.

    Our primary and secondary educational systems, however, are in serious need of improvement however, based on international testing. We rank way down the list.

    If our health system is shameful compared to other advanced countries (and it is), it is not because there are no good examples to follow. The issue here is political, with another big discussion.

    Re Washington/Annapolis/Wherever…who sent those people there to make decisions? We did! I can find fault with all sides. I don’t like what my rep does?…I vote for someone else…hoping that there is a real choice.

    Yes, we can all wave our flags, soberly, in the realization that we are not yet a perfect society and may never be, but that we should continue striving, rather than raining on our own parade.

    Tropical Storm Arthur can do that for us.

    Regards,

    Ed Plaisance

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