by: DR. BEN CARSON
Throughout the history of mankind, many nations have risen to pinnacle status only to decline, in some cases rather precipitously. Many factors have been associated with the fall of nations, like natural disasters, foreign invasions and disease.
But a few in particular consistently seem to play a large role in the decline of pinnacle nations: fiscal irresponsibility, lack of focus on important issues, and the acceptance of corruption at the highest political levels.
Some might argue that these are not present or problematic in the United States, but they very much are. Let’s take a look at each.
Our nation has accumulated more debt in the last ten years than in all our preceding history; we are now approaching $20 trillion. To put this in perspective: if we suddenly realized that disaster was looming unless we changed course, and if we decided to pay off our debt at an impressive rate of $1 billion a week – keeping in mind that 1 billion is 1 million, 1000 times over – it would still take nearly 400 years to retire the debt if there was no further accumulation of interest payments.
Some say these are just numbers meant to frighten people. But I suspect you could have heard such irresponsible talk in 17th century Spain, 18th century France, Ancient Rome and many other places prior to their demise. Our problem is not a lack of money as much as it is an insatiable appetite for spending by our government.
Both Democratic and Republican administrations have expanded government with little regard to the financial consequences. To solve this problem we will need leaders who understand profit/loss statements and know how to meet a payroll while balancing the books. They must also feel an obligation to future generations and recognize that the burden of debt repayment will fall on them.
Taking Our Eye Off The Ball:
Humans – like animals – tend to be attracted to the shiny object, making distraction easy. Diversionary tactics have been a staple of warfare for millennia. Issues of extraordinary import now face the United States, and the two major political parties – and the candidates each nominated for president – have markedly different approaches to them.
Prudence would dictate that debates between the Democrats and Republicans would focus on their very divergent philosophies and how to resolve these problems. Instead, like many once great nations, we are letting ourselves be manipulated into concentrating on accusations of collusion and sexual misdeeds.
Although issues concerning morality and values are extremely important, this is the time that the American people must decide the direction of our country. We have complex brains so we can prioritize. If an accident victim has an open fracture of the femur, that is a very serious problem and needs attention, but if they are not breathing, reestablishing respiratory activity takes precedence or nothing else will matter. If the femoral issue is subsequently forgotten about, fatal complications could ensue.
To be perfectly clear, sexual misconduct and corrupt behavior have been and continue to be serious problems that need attention. Unfortunately they will still be present after this election season and should not be forgotten. But the direction of our country does not hinge on that.
Our future, for instance, depends on whether the Supreme Court and lower federal courts will be populated by traditional Constitutionalists or by progressive activists looking to fundamentally change America. That is the ball upon which our eyes must be kept.
Acceptance of Corruption:
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard the argument that everyone is corrupt and the system has always been rigged, so why get upset now? This attitude is tantamount to accepting corruption in government as normal. A cursory reading of “The Rise and Fall of The Roman Empire” reveals an amazingly similar attitude.
This self-destructive trend is perhaps understandable in nations where citizens accept that their rights come from the governing structure, but in America, the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that we believe our rights come from our Creator, a.k.a. God. (Our national pledge says we are “One nation, under God” and our currency is inscribed with the motto, “In God We Trust.”) As such, we believe in the concepts of things that are morally right and wrong. Therefore, the acceptance of corruption in government as normal is antithetical to our founding principles.
This election, if we are able to concentrate on the vital issues, will determine whether we become like other nations or accept our role as the most exceptional nation with an incredible Constitution, of which our second president said, “is for a moral and religious people and is wholly inadequate for any other.” At this point in our history, we, the people, must think for ourselves and determine whether we are on the right course and should continue or if we are courageous enough to change direction with an imperfect vessel.
My fellow Americans, our Founders left some big shoes. Let’s fill them with pride while leaving our children with a beautiful and prosperous America.