"This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper." -- T. S. Eliot
Like most conservatives, I am an optimist with an unshakable faith in the United States of America and the benevolence of a just God who looks down upon us.
Yet and still, the lack of seriousness our politicians and much of our populace display towards the grave issues we face as a nation has grown to such an extent that it may become a threat to this country's very survival in the coming years.
Despite the fact that we have a national debt that exceeds 9 trillion dollars, an amount that comes out to almost $30,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States -- there are screams of outrage if the rate of growth in any of this country's entitlement programs is cut and there are massive pushes to hand out even more goodies, not to the poor, but to the middle-class. Meanwhile, Social Security will start going into the red for the first time during the next 10 years, Medicare costs are continuing to surge, and more than 8% of our tax dollars ($233 billion in 2007) goes to pay interest on the national debt. Yes, we have gotten away with not paying what we owe for quite a while, but some day the bill will come due and unless something changes, our children may not have the money to pay our debts.
Then there's illegal immigration. We have 12-20 million foreigners who have entered our country illegally and we have hundreds of thousands more pouring over the borders each year. Many of these illegals are poorly educated, don't speak English, have no loyalty to or respect for America, commit identity fraud, ignore deportation orders from judges, don't pay taxes, and have children in this country so they can use them to collect welfare and food stamps. In parts of the nation, illegals are also at the root of crime waves, are overcrowding our schools, and are driving up car insurance rates and running hospitals into the ground.
My friends, if we don't have a border and enforce it, eventually, we're not going to have a country. The Roman Empire found that out the hard way and for that matter, so did the Indians when our ancestors arrived here. A lot of people believe that, "it can't happen here," but that's probably what Mexico said right before all the Americans who moved into Texas declared that they were living in an independent state. Unless we do something to slow the growth of illegal immigration, one day parts of this country may suffer the same fate.
We also can't forget the mediocrity of our education system, which currently seems to be much more concerned about catering to the needs of the teachers’ unions than educating our children. The unions fight tooth and nail against stringent testing for students, merit pay, vouchers and all other measures that might improve the quality of our schools while making the life of their members harder. Meanwhile, about a third of the students in our country aren't even getting high school degrees and at the bottom end of the scale, in places like Detroit, fewer than 25% of the students go on to graduate. Even the students who do graduate are getting a watered down, politically correct education that's inferior in most ways to the one that people received in this country 50 years ago.
We also cannot forget the moral and cultural foundation that all the success of this country has been built on. If we abandon the values that made America successful, we will cease to be a great nation. If we embrace multiculturalism instead of American culture, atheism instead of Christianity, security instead of independence, rights without responsibilities, and break down the foundation of our country by defiling the sanctity of marriage, we will squander the magnificent legacy that has been left to us by previous generations of Americans.
Additionally, we cannot afford to take the external threats to our nation lightly. We are at war with genocidal, religious fanatics who are capable of killing American civilians in enormous numbers with nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks on our homeland. The United Nations has become a wretched, corrupt, talking shop that makes the League of Nations look like a model of efficiency and our once great NATO alliance has become a laughingstock.
If Iran isn't stopped from acquiring nuclear weapons, it will create an arms race in the Middle East and will eventually lead to nuclear proliferation around the globe. Remember the very real fear of a nuclear Armageddon that Americans felt during parts of the Cold War? Well, imagine the danger of having 25-30 nations, many of them hostile to the United States, all armed with nuclear weapons.
These are major issues that our nation will have to deal with, today, and in the coming decades. Of course, that doesn't mean we all need to put on "The end is near," sandwich boards and head out to the corner to warn people that we're doomed. To the contrary, Americans have proven time and time again throughout our history that we're capable to meeting any challenge that we choose to take on.
However, we seem to have lost some of the common sense that came so readily to previous generations in our country. We have too many people in this nation who seem to have a minimal knowledge of history and economics, who are ready to abandon the capitalism, independence, and common decency that made this nation into the greatest country this earth has ever seen -- all in exchange for the largely empty promises of demagogues who will "take care of us."
Add to that a heavily partisan, politicized environment where different political parties can't even agree on the most basic facts, much less the issues -- and an incompetent mainstream media that cries wolf on an almost daily basis about something that's going to kill us -- and we're producing a society riddled with people who have extreme difficulty coping with or even recognizing basic threats.
In other words, as a society, we are losing our common sense, our moral compass, and even our survival instinct. For the sake of future generations and for the sake of this country, which has been a gift from God to us and the world, we must do better.