While public opinion is all over the board as to what is or is not the most important issue to Americans, I argue that, for the first time, a series of foreign and domestic happenings are converging at once and threaten our nation as never before.
Let's start at home. We all know that illegal immigration, in most polls, remains a hot domestic topic. That's understandable. Yet even as that drama unfolds, the very underpinnings of our economy slowly erode.
Some of us are vaguely aware that the value of the U.S. dollar continues to slip. Fewer know that the situation is actuated by an unholy -- and unwritten -- "alliance" with China. That nation backs our currency by purposely manipulating their own money and guaranteeing ours through an imbalance of trade.
The profitable business flows one way, to China. Worse, the long-term stability of the dollar rests in the hands of an emerging superpower that, alone among nations, has the potential to truly rival America as a world superpower. The value of our currency potentially could be reduced to the value of the paper it's printed on, depending on the whims of Beijing.
At the same time, reports that the housing slump may be ending soon are probably wishful thinking. In fact, a new chapter in that book may be in the writing. A crash of the Sunbelt's crazed condominium fever could be the next real-estate crisis.
Take a drive through downtown Miami, Tampa, Atlanta and other growth cities of the region. You'll see little beyond construction cranes and derricks dotting the skyline. But though they number in the thousands, there are no longer thousands of people to live in them.
Next, let's inventory the mills and manufacturing plants. It won't take long, because there are fewer and fewer. They're all hopscotching their way to China and other, mostly Asian, nations.
And thus come projections for slower economic growth in our nation next year. We may have a bullish stock market right now, but with thousands and thousands of homes being repossessed each week, and with mortgages on them having been used as bricks-and-mortar "credit cards" for so long, the conditions for a significant economic downturn in the coming year are real.
Now throw into the mix the expansion or amplification of President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil." Ah, for the innocent days of only three enemies!
Iraq, Iran and North Korea now appear to be just the frontline acts in a planet gone wild.
Iran not only seeks nuclear weapons, it's now taken to taunting the world with a menu of terrifying possibilities.
North Korea is even more unpredictable, because more desperate.