The following is an excerpt from my new book, "We'll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America," released Tuesday. In it, I make the case that our country's current impotence is not permanent. Our decline is a choice, one we can't keep making. We're Americans, we're resilient, and we'll be back.
In Combined Arms Staff Service School, called CAS3 (but pronounced “CAS-cubed”), they taught us senior captains about briefings. Briefing is what staff officers do. They brief the boss, the commander, so he can make a reasoned decision and capably execute it. We were taught that in a briefing, you tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. So, let me do the part about telling you what I am going to tell you right here.
I am going to tell you about where America is now, and about how we are at a perilous crossroads. Just a couple of decades ago, we were great, untouchable, indisputably more powerful than any other nation in human history, and yet today, America is broken, exhausted, and morally bankrupt, and its citizens are at each other’s throats. The choices we make in the coming years will determine whether we slide further down the slippery slope into chaos, conflict, and perhaps even collapse. Alternatively, we can decide to make America great again, just like the red hat says.
Here’s a spoiler, though—I am going to tell you how no matter what we do, these last few miserable years will have changed us forever. America will be different than it was. But I am an optimist— betting against Americans is always a bad call—and I think we will get through this.
I will sketch out what went wrong. Then I will sketch out how things could get much, much worse. Will we undergo a national divorce? Perhaps a civil war? Might we fall prey to a foreign threat? Sometimes I will illustrate these scenarios with little fictional vignettes, because though you can talk endlessly of theory, sometimes the most powerful way to illustrate reality is to imagine how it all might play out in practice, as my novels about America coming apart demonstrate. So if my discussion shifts briefly into the story of a soldier, or a politician, or a regular mom trying to provide for her family, you know why.
After a parade of horribles, I will offer a parade of, at least, less horrible horribles, and then I will talk about how we might come out of this nightmare. Will we re-embrace the Constitution? Will we embrace a rightist strongman? After that, we will discuss the short term, such as what might happen in 2024 and what a conservative leader must do to save the country once he is sworn in in 2025. That agenda will make a lot of liberal blue checks apoplectic, but so be it. If they are busy dealing with apoplexy, they aren’t trashing our country.
As Al Davis, famous sportsball person, said, “Just win, baby.” We’re in this for survival, folks, and we need to act like it. If you are busy clutching your pearls, the bad guys will eventually get around to strangling you with the strand.
Finally, I will tell you how I think all this is likely to end up, and what we must do as individuals to see that this crazy experiment begun on these shores far from civilization by a bunch of guys in powdered wigs continues. Civilizations fall. Someday, America will fall. But it need not be today or tomorrow. I think we patriots will win this existential struggle. America will not come out of this conflict unchanged, but I believe it will come out of it as still America all the same. There you go. That’s what I intend to tell you. So listen up, because now I am actually going to tell you.
Click here to get your copy of my new book We'll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America.