America is a country that offers opportunity, not guaranteed outcomes, because not everyone has the same abilities, intelligence, drive, or interests. Life isn't about acquiring larger homes, possessing more things and ever-expanding government. It is (or used to be) about building character and being content with what you have.
The poorest American is richer in temporal things, political freedom and opportunity than the poor of most other nations. Most of our needs are met. But in our consumer culture, driven by sophisticated marketing techniques, our wants can never be sufficiently satisfied to bring contentment. Why don't any of the candidates talk this way?
Who among the presidential candidates would dare say: "I can't force you to get married, stay married and be more than a biological father or mother; I lack the power to make you stay in school, or work hard in order to succeed; I can't require you to obey the law and a higher moral ethic that will not only benefit you, but promote the general welfare. Stop whining and go out and make a life for yourself."
The debate format should be changed. Put two at a time in a room, with a moderator who introduces them and leaves. Let them talk to each other and to us for an hour. They can take calls if they like. The televised conversation would have more credibility than the sound bytes cross-dressing as real debate.
Is this any way to consider who should be president? If you say yes, then you might be auctioning our future, or playing a high-stakes poker game with a bad hand that could put the nation in double jeopardy.
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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