(Denver Post, Oct. 28) Have you voted yet? Our state’s nine electoral votes could hand the presidency to Romney or Obama -- and the Colorado outcome in 2012 could turn on a few hundred ballots, much like the Florida outcome in 2000.
Within months of achieving statehood in 1876, Colorado tipped the presidential election for Rutherford B. Hayes, as historian Tom Noel noted recently in these pages. Yet the dominant issue of that era, equal rights for former black slaves, wasn’t settled by the election. It troubled the American conscience for almost another century.
So in battling over the high stakes to be decided between the candidates next week, we need to recognize how much this election will NOT settle. It’s folly to assume that the Nov. 6 verdict ties a ribbon around everything. “Keeping the republic,” our task as free citizens in Benjamin Franklin’s words, is a marathon not a sprint.
Whether your ticket wins or loses, we’ll all wake up in the same America as before. It’s an America where neither Republicans nor Democrats have yet shown the backbone to keep our deficits and debt from worsening to the level of Greece -- with broke California, no longer the Golden State, leading the way. Think that will suddenly change in 2013?
An AP profile on Xi Jingping, soon to be president of China, says he will assume power confident in “Beijing’s belief that its chief rival Washington is in decline.” Osama bin Laden’s taunt that America is a “weak horse” echoes from beyond the grave, emboldening al Qaeda in Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the mullahs in Tehran.
Much as I favor the GOP, one party’s victory won’t instantly dispel those doubts. For they arise from what a smart investor or a winning coach calls the fundamentals. Those who are short-selling the USA take note of the actuarial tables for the rise and fall of great nations – which predict a lifespan of about 250 years – and the indicators of slackness in our national character.
They look at what has been called the Tytler cycle, whereby a people climbs up from bondage through faith and courage to liberty and abundance, but then slides down through complacency and apathy into dependency and finally into bondage again. Detractors see America in the late afternoon of our greatness, with darkness coming on. Can we prove them wrong? Absolutely, but it will take more than campaign slogans.
The worst deficit our country faces, looking beyond election 2012, isn’t in jobs, budgets, pensions, or infrastructure. It’s not in energy, health, education, or national security. It is the deficit of personal responsibility. In our enjoyment of liberty and abundance, we’re in danger of forgetting that the price of both is responsibility and self-discipline. Our experiment in freedom on the cheap is running out of time.
A president who constantly ducks responsibility and blames others is but a symptom of this. We elected him with our eyes wide open. Voters took a chance – in hindsight, an irresponsible gamble – on the hip young community organizer over the crusty old war hero. The Obama phenomenon merely shows how far the celebrity culture has gone in swamping principled self-government.
Media elites didn’t care when Obama flew to Vegas for a fundraiser the day Ambassador Stevens was assassinated in an act of war. They shrugged when the former drug dealer Jay-Z threw a party for him. But few noticed either when Kid Rock, whose songs were too dirty for radio, opened for Romney in Denver the other day. Chill out, man.
I hope Mitt wins. He’ll do our country proud. But the rebirth of responsibility America needs, if we’re to survive, isn’t up to him or any politician. It’s up to the person in the mirror: you and me.
John Andrews is director of the Centennial Institute, former president of the Colorado Senate, and the author of Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen’s Guide to the Next American Century (Denali Press, 2011).
('76 Contributor) How fragile, very fragile, is our democracy, our free market economic system, and our country. For the first time ever, I am concerned that America's best days are behind it.
The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare upheld the most far-reaching, burdensome, and intrusive legislation in the history of our country. It will destroy the genius of our founders who had a clear understanding of how to best utilize the natural human condition, our incentive-based behaviors, desire for freedom, and limited government with specific enumerated powers to achieve a better overall collective society.
There should be virtually no dispute that this genius created the most prosperous, generous, non-imperial world-protector, and overall successful society in the history of the world.
No one in Congress read the health care bill's 2,700 pages, with 1,700 references to new rules, and 21 tax increases drafted by 20-30-something year-old staffers with virtually no experience in the business world. The Supreme Court decision strikes down the mandate and the heavy coercion of states to expand Medicaid with our hard-earned tax dollars, which has now created an untenable and ugly piece of patchwork legislation.
.To get a sense of the destructive magnitude and controlling nature of this legislation, I suggest that you link to the Crawford Radio website and read the articles entitled PPACA Obamacare (3/28, 4/11, 5/17, 5/23, 6/6, 7/17, 7/18, and 8/8).
I would guess that, if you read one article, you will want to read more. It provides an insight into the liberal thinking about how to control the most important aspect of our lives, our personal health and well-being. It is a clear manifestation of the insidious accumulation of rules and regulations over the past 30-40 years, which have stolen our personal liberties and freedoms that our founders knew to be so important to each individual.
The legislation is job-destroying, innovation-stifling, and grants the government unlimited power to tax you for not buying something you don't want, creating a slippery-slope for future legislation that is beyond comprehension. The legislation was all about insurance and control of our lives, not about access to quality healthcare at the lowest cost. Virtually no effort was made to find ways to reduce costs through free market solutions, tort reform, mitigation of fraud and waste, or elimination of bureaucratic and reporting red-tape that are so burdensome to every doctor and hospital and ultimately the greatest healthcare system and medical innovator in the world.
The bottom-line is that, not only is the doctor/patient relationship destroyed, but the best and brightest will simply not suffer the control and negative income consequences of joining a profession that used to be the most highly-regarded in our society. However, we will likely get 16,000 new IRS agents, while documentation already exists about a pending doctor shortage.
I believe the most destructive force burdening our society is seldom talked about, and that is the endangerment of the spirit of American individualism. Unlike any other country, our system provided each individual the opportunity and the necessary human condition to work hard and to be productive. The result is that an individual then leads a purposeful life, with a sense of accomplishment and human dignity, and hope for the future, regardless of compensation. Those elements strengthen the human condition and then nurture the individual spirit, thereby improving our local communities, and ultimately the spirit and soul of our entire country.
I believe that this spirit and soul, as well as its very heart, are in peril. This, combined with our enormous deficit-spending and incomprehensibly large accumulating debt, provides a immoral assault and theft on future generations, who currently can't even vote. I am personally heart-sick to think that America, as we knew it, our parents knew it, and our grandparents knew it in such a positive way, will not be enjoyed by our children and grandchildren with the same blessings.
Elections matter. This upcoming election will unequivocally be the most important one in the history of our country. Never again should one individual, in this instance Barack Obama or Chief Justice Roberts, have ultimate power over our country's future. Additionally, having this great country's President publicly excoriate and diminish earned success and achievement, the rugged individualism and entrepreneurial spirit, which is the very essence of what has made this the most prosperous society in the history of the world, should be of grave concern to everyone.
Unfortunately, it illustrates that people either simply do not understand achievement, success, and creation of jobs and wealth, or it is just a threat to their vision, thereby justifying their continued attacks and tax increases on this group that is essential to the future of our country. This critically-important job creation, with the attendant reduction of government dependency, has multiple layers of benefits beyond government revenues.
Alexis DeTocqueville's extensive tour of America yielded great insight, including the memorable words often attributed to him: "America is great because America is good." With the diminishing individual spirit and soul of our country and continued secularization, America is ceasing to be as good and may cease to be great!
In contrast, consider this newly coined word whose definition would be amusing if weren't so painfully and frighteningly true: "Ineptocracy, (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy): A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers and job-creators."
I ask you to think about the above and recognize that participation and vigilance in the upcoming election are critical, not just the presidential election, but at all levels. I offer these thoughts to everyone, regardless of party-affiliation or ideology. This is simply about whether we are concerned about America, as we know it, and its existence in the future.
If you are compelled by what you have read, I suggest you forward the link to a handful of additional friends and acquaintances, children, grandchildren, etc. prior to the election. On the other hand, as in our great society, if you disagree or find fault with what I'm doing, I would appreciate hearing about it.
Want to read more? Here are some additional links you may want to view:
Buz Koelbel is a leading Denver businessman in the field of land development and commercial real estate, one of the founders of the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, and a member of the Centennial Institute Business Council.