Written on Monday, September 24, 2012 by David L. Goetsch
I was recently asked to share my views on the direction of our country during a political forum. I can summarize my entire speech in one sentence: When the majority of Americans become dependent on government entitlements, the party of big government will win every time. In retrospect, I can see that mine was not a hopeful message. After the question-and-answer period, an elderly man approached me and said in a quiet, tentative voice: “I did not say anything during the question-and-answer session because I am embarrassed to speak in public, but I really need to ask you a question before you leave.” I welcomed his question: “I see my country being ruined—what can I do?” I feel so helpless.” I will never forget the look of sad hopelessness on this man’s weathered old face. To me he represented all of the people in America who look back on their lives and wonder what has happened to the country they love.
America has become a country that is mortgaging its future to preserve its present. We have become a nation adrift in a sea of debt, mired in moral poverty, and populated by entitled citizens who depend on the government for their sustenance. Before getting into how I answered the old man’s question, a caveat is in order. When I speak of entitled people, I do NOT include those on social security or retired military personnel. Those on social security worked and put their money into the system over a lifetime. Consequently, they need not apologize to anyone for taking it out each month and, as far as I am concerned, military retirees and their families earned their pensions several times over. When I speak of entitled, government-dependent people, I refer to those who take from the system without ever putting anything into it.
Living on borrowed money is not a new concept in America, nor did Barack Obama invent the practice. Rather, what he did was take the concept of deficit living to a whole new level. When it comes to living on borrowed money his predecessors were small-time amateurs compared to Barack Obama. This president’s only point of reference is November 6, 2012 and he is willing to do empty the federal treasury if necessary to buy the votes he will need to remain in office.
Getting back to the pertinent question: What can Americans do who are concerned about the future of our country, but feel helpless? Here is what I told the elderly man who asked the question. In the run-up to World War II Winston Churchill sounded the alarm about Nazi aggression over and over, but was ignored by a complacent British public that refused to admit what should have been obvious. But Churchill did more than just sound the alarm, he had a plan for countering Nazi aggression and he shared it with anyone and everyone who would listen. Finally, when even “Mr. Peace in our time,” Neville Chamberlain, had to admit that Churchill was right, the British public shook off its complacency and did what was necessary to save Great Britain.
My advice to Americans who can see the obvious but feel powerless to do anything about it is this: Be like Winston Churchill. Sound the alarm over and over and do not stop sounding it. Join together with others who see the obvious and are also willing to sound the alarm. Further, like Churchill, have a plan so that when people finally wake up and ask “What can we do?” you can tell them. I recommend the following plan: 1) Advocate for limited government so that spending can be minimized, 2) Support initiatives that lower taxation and, in turn, spur economic growth 3) Support free-market principles and the elimination of unnecessary government regulations, 4) Support only those policies that encourage individual liberty, 5) Support only those policies that encourage personal responsibility—so “NO” to government dependency, 6) Speak out on behalf of military preparedness and a strong national defense, 7) Support only those policies that restore constitutional sovereignty and integrity, and, finally, 8) Remember what President Reagan said: Government is not the solution, it is the problem. Share the message of this eight-point plan over and over so that when even the most self-indulgent, government-dependent, entitlement-minded Americans finally see that our country is falling over the cliff and taking them with it, they will finally listen to you as the Brits finally listened to Churchill.