"We need an educational dialogue before we have a political debate," he says. Yes, we do, but who will give it to us if the presidential candidates are about patching and mending the current system? How many people understand basic economics and the principals behind capitalism? Who understands the history of their own country and the ideas that founded and have sustained it through domestic and foreign challenges? Are there politicians who will lead us to what we need rather than indulge us in the silliness of what we want, like our obsession with O.J. Simpson and other members of the cult of the depraved?
Television increasingly serves up crime and slime. These are not the things of the mind, but of the gut and the groin.
The public wants real change, says Gingrich, but the politicians - perhaps fearful of organized groups that could turn the image of a saint into one of a deviant - won't give it to them. The desire for change is not the exclusive property of conservative, white Republicans. Gingrich cites polls that show the yearning for change extends across all racial, ethnic and political groups.
Gingrich is trying to raise $30 million in three weeks to see if he should run for president. Whether he does, or not, his ideas are worth considering. They are precisely what the country needs. Candidates should be willing to talk about them and the rest of us ought to pay attention. We might if we are presented with something that actually works instead of the same old snake oil, which never does.
Citizenship is not about what government can do for us, but what we can do for ourselves. That is an old model that increasingly looks like a classic car. And it is far more attractive and road-tested than the current government jalopy, which is ready for the junk heap.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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