Poll after poll has said Americans across our nation are more pessimistic than they have ever been. The polls report that only about a third of us believe that our children will have a better life than we had. There's certainly reason for concern; runaway federal spending has sent the national debt into the stratosphere, jobs are being exported to countries with "dollar a day salaries" and "prison labor" manufacturers, the quality of education has declined to the point where half of our high school grads are functionally illiterate and our local, state and federal representatives appear to have the spine of a jelly fish and display the intelligence of a mayfly.
There's hope folks, as long as we believe there is...and as long as there are enough folks still willing to fight for the American dream. History tells us that. Of course there aren't enough people paying much attention to history these days so we continue to make some of our mistakes over and over. But there is indeed hope if history is to be relied on.
The first step to recovery is to realize that we can never rest on past laurels and that our country is a work in progress. And what a country it is! A study of world history would remind you that America, and the American dream, is a great social experiment! Yes, an experiment; not concrete reality, and not promised to endure! In the 3,000 years since man first crawled out of the cave, there has never been a society and a form of government built around the idea that free people, making free choices, can govern themselves. To paraphrase Herman Wouk, "In the long history of human civilization, when the norm has been ruler oppression, America may be just a brief rainbow in the iron gray dawn of human struggle".
Whether that "rainbow" continues to endure is entirely up to Americans themselves. Will we continue to value the work ethic that built this great nation....or will we be content to wrap ourselves in the warm comfortable blanket of empty and transient government promises to "take care of us"? Will we continue to hold dear to a morally upright set of human values...or will we succumb to a chaotic "laissez-faire" of everyone doing what ever feels good! Do we have enough respect for the principles that worked in the past, and value those principles, to include protecting the integrity of our borders so that our national values are honored and protected?
Folks, America has always been blessed with wondrous natural resources; rich farmland, precious metals, the most favorable weather conditions in the world, great expanses of timber and natural means to distribute our bounty throughout the land. But our greatest resource (and perhaps the last real advantage we have left) is our people. Our entrepreneurial spirit and the quirky sense of freedom to invent and refine has always been why we assumed and maintained leadership in the world, both in business and in the "freedom" business.
I can still remember when the Japanese economy was roaring thirty years ago. The Japanese were manufacturing cars that were far better than anything Detroit was putting out there. Japan took our invention of the VCR and put tens of millions of them into American homes! The national conversation in 1980 was that Japan is taking over the world!
Then, along came the 1990's. American minds developed computer hardware and software that was the wonder of the world! The 1990's were the most prosperous in our history! Liberals may not like it but the groundwork was laid during the Reagan administration as he stripped the federal reins on restrictive business practices, freed up capital to spur small business innovation and along came Apple and Microsoft and Cisco and a thousand other businesses that led us to the promised land of low unemployment, reasonable tax rates and an environment that championed free thinking!
We are now into the second decade of a new millennium and we are again struggling. But, if we study even recent history we know we can pull out of this. Now that the national conversation is about China being the next world leader will we fold our tent and accept that inevitability?...or will we roll our sleeves up, tell big government to get out of our way and let us get on with the business of "building rainbows".
It's up to you America....I'm old enough to know you're better than this!