What is the state of the nation? What path is the nation on? These are the questions that face us all as President Obama starts his first days of his second term. The 2013 State of the Nation Address quickly approaches, even as game plans for the 2014 and 2016 elections are being drawn. Our options are both in what is happening now, and what we choose going forward.
There is no question that America remains a giving nation. We rally among each other in the face of unforeseen dangers, like the dastardly surprise attack on Pearl Harbor or the fanatical terrorist actions of 9/11. But it is not just in the face of threats, to remove America off the face of the map regardless of the individual beliefs of the men, women, and children that comprise the nation, that we rally together on.
Americans gather and support one another in times of need, when Mother Nature takes action in ways that cannot be predicted nor prevented. The support given to the gulf coast States after Hurricane Katrina, individuals recovering from earthquakes like the Northridge Quake, or most recently the rebuilding after Super storm Sandy are but a few examples.
These actions by the American people are not to be taken lightly, and yet our politicians do so with increasing lack of concern year after year. More and more the Government, at the Federal and State levels, is demanding funds from the public to be redistributed along the political philosophical whims of those in power - limiting the amounts that individuals can directly use to give comfort and aide. That is an issue.
In fact the monetary policy of the Government is wholly unsustainable. For decades the guiding principle among the public has been to live as well as our means can provide - maybe even a bit beyond but within reason. During those same decades, the Government has been on a spending spree that compares to nothing else. The magnitude is so great, that the combined GDP of over 60% of the nations of the world cannot equal the debt created in a single year for America. That says nothing of the ever rising national debt.
An issue that our current elected officials are willing to furiously debate - with the debate being on how much more will be spent in excess and what that excess debt will be spent on. Under all plans currently being debated the choice is between spend more or spend a lot more, not exactly a real choice nor a plan for fiscal security.
Yet even as our elected officials demand more from the public, especially those that have had the fortitude and luck wrenched from years and decades of effort to have achieved success, they also slap our faces. From local governments that believe that citizens are a danger to themselves and society as a whole, to the Federal government that believes the only way to protect the public is to strip away their Rights.
Think about it, towns in California have tried to outlaw an individual from smoking cigarettes in their own home, in some places from smoking outdoors at all. In New York City there are efforts to dictate what people drink, how much, and what spices can be used on the food choices of the public. At the Federal level the Government has created the right to impose its will over the public and mandate action on healthcare options that have thus far increased cost, is altering choices many had in place already, and fails to achieve the stated goals of widespread coverage and fiscal neutrality. All of which says nothing of the weakening of the 2nd Amendment in exchange for superficial efforts to marginally reduce gun violence, if criminals and the mentally unbalanced follow the law.
In effect the Government is stating, 'you are obligated to pay for our political whims and pet projects, but you are not responsible enough to feed yourself, make plans to care for your family and yourself, or the protection of the same.'
Internationally we are actively insulting our friends, ignoring fiscal advice of nations that have already gone where we are going, and empowering the enemies of our allies while ignoring the fact these same individuals share no preference for our nation regardless of what we do. All this while ensuring that our diplomatic forces are insecure and left in the hands of dubious international local government agents that want our money but are unwilling to provide the services paid for. It's not just Benghazi, or just Egypt, or just the Middle East and Israel. It's not just the G20 or the U.N. It is the sum of all the parts, with a net result that is far worse.
What thus is the state of the nation?
In debt, unwilling to get out of it. Our elected officials are more secure in pointing fingers of blame than acting on the tough task they were elected to do, and that the public chose them for. We have gone from a nation that is feared, to a nation that seems fearful. We are expanding the Government and its power, at the cost of individual Rights and dollars that should be in the public pockets.
We are a nation filled with entitlements without the financial base to support them, subsisting on our good reputation forged decades ago, with a carrot of rosy predictions about future scientific developments that will save the day, which are around a corner that has eluded discovery for more than 50 years and counting.
We are a nation subservient to special interest groups, whether aligned with either political faction, and elected officials that cater to those groups above the interests of the nation. All the while we are distracted from the pertinent issues by a major media that has picked a side - not for altruistic reasons but for the preservation of their power, profit, and longevity.
What is our path?
Fiscal unsustainability, modified by international instability, adjusted for an ever growing centralized Government power on the backs of ever fewer individual freedoms and Rights, wrapped by political gridlock and a pursuit of the best intentions that lead to...well you know the saying.
Is this really what America wants? More importantly is this where America must go? No. Even now there are discussions and plans being made by various individuals to seek elected office because those currently in power have lost touch with their constituents some decades ago in their political careers. It is possible that we the people can shake up the growing divine right of leadership exuded by those in power who are desperate to maintain their positions.
Will America make changes to alter our path? Or will we be distracted by eloquent words and 30-second soundbites that convey no substantive meaning and lead to even less beneficial action? These are the questions that only the public can decide through their votes for, and voices directed at, elected officials.
But let's be honest, we are here because soundbites and eloquent words feel better than the truth. We are on this path because it's easier to vote for the elected official that got tons of money in ad dollars to make that name familiar than actually review their voting record and speeches in full. It's easier to be silent and grumble at the water cooler than to stand up and face potential criticism for stating the obvious truth.
Our elected officials, in both parties, may be failures but the public picked them. Thankfully we do not need to re-elect them, nor do we need to sit silently by as they make choices that we disagree with.
Being elected is not gaining a dukedom. We have no noble class. Election does not confer a divine right. Our elected officials may have led the nation into a desert, the political parties may be offering the same handful of sand to drink, yet we have the Right to be more than partisan pawns in a game of political one-upmanship.
Where do we go from here?
We can change direction. We can regain what has been lost. We can fix our broken system and the status quo of decay, but only if the public wants it and makes that happen. That's a choice each of us must make individually, for the greatest good of the nation.
President - M V Consulting, Inc