America is broken and it’s no consolation that the rest of the world is broken along with it. I had to laugh when I stumbled, while web surfing, on a 2007 United Nations ranking for Ireland — whose debt rating has just been slashed to junk — as the fifth best country to live in. If it is, we’re all in a heap of trouble.
For America is still Reagan’s shining light on the hill for everyone, like it or not. We are the daddy. We are the grown-up holding the world together. Everyone knows it even whey they lie about it or bemoan it. Only the grown-up is hurting now too. And the world is badly wounded because of it.
It is against this background that we watch with particular dismay, maybe closer to horror, the budget debate in Washington. Our country is being led by an individual seemingly incapable of thinking beyond his own interest or beyond an ideology as shopworn as a 1962 television set with a blown tube. Is there anybody left who still believes in Keynesian economics? I mean really believes in it with our now prodigiously escalating debt spiraling off into an unknowable future.
Well, our president appears to with his endless references to “fairness” — a fairness that most hurts the very people it pretends to help. Obama has trapped himself in a ideological oxymoron. He wants us to believe, wants himself to believe, that government is the solution when we all know that government is the problem. The more government tries to create jobs the worse the economy gets. The history of the twentieth century has demonstrated that for us from the Great Depression to the sorrow of the Soviet Union.
Someone finally has to cut this Gordian knot. We are living at a time when we need a man or woman in the presidency of true courage and what we have is a smug coward — the worst possible combination. Nothing of significance is likely to happen.
We are already in full presidential campaign mode and America will remain broken — and with it the world — until 2012. Those of us who want genuine change are going to have to buckle up and accept this. Also, we are going to have to keep our eyes closely glued to the 2012 ball.
That means examining candidates more carefully than ever, not just what they say, but what kind of people they are. Do they have the character to follow through and react well under pressure? The person who is going to be confronted with this mess, this broken America, in January 2013 will have a monumental task in front of him or her. It will take an extraordinary combination of traits to succeed, traits not commonly found among our species, unfortunately. It will need someone calm and resolute and able to reach out to adversaries.
Barack Obama promised us that he would do just that — that he would bring together red America and blue America into the United States of America. He broke that promise almost immediately and has never tried to rectify it, exploiting our differences in the manner of the most conventional politician.
Now we must find the person able to carry out Obama’s promise while picking up the pieces of our society and putting them together again. It will not be easy, but we must do it… for our country and the world.