I am beginning to think Americans are tending to live more in the present than they do by thinking of the past or planning for the future. Every four years we get enmeshed in a national election that tends to raise the bar of conversation about where we want to be, usually, but this election really reflects more of our daily disruptions instead of our desired aspirations.
We are faced with choosing from among four people at this point. Three of them have greater than a 55 percent negative rating in all polls, all the time. Their negatives do not improve.
Frankly they tend to worsen the more we are exposed to their true character. The fourth candidate is an avowed socialist who espouses great dreams with little foundation and certainly little ways and means of doing all he puts forth — except taxing those already paying the taxes.
Platitudes sound great. Once, they were along the lines of “a chicken in every pot and a pot in every kitchen.”
Now we hear about free college and free health care. Why those two? Why is free food not as critical? Why not free transportation and utilities, or perhaps all these come next.
Margaret Thatcher said, “the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
I have always liked that phrase and it once applied. But with a national debt approaching $20 trillion, we are now spending the money of people who not yet been born. We are approaching a per capita debt of $60,000 for each and every one of us.
But for now we entertain ourselves with an election. We have learned all about various candidates’ wives, foundations, and questionable email systems. We have discovered that two of them do not know how to ride a subway.
But we do not talk about things that matter. Where is the discussion about this unimaginable national debt? Where is the discussion about immigration that is fact-based and offers hope of solving the problem?
“Build a wall!” they say. Well how high must it be to prevent those people determined to scale it?
I saw on the news recently two men who climbed a very large wall easily and were captured on camera. When they realized they were being watched, they quickly re-scaled the wall and went the other way. My guess is they waited and came again, or perhaps found a tunnel. Where there is a will, there is a way.
If we truly wanted to stop the flow, we would clamp down on those who hire these workers, but then do we really want to see what happens to the prices of meat, poultry, or vegetables? Do we want to re-bid the costs of placing a new roof on our house or hanging drywall in a new house?
Most who come across the border come for jobs; if the jobs are not there, they go back. Demographers note that of late those coming here outside the law are not so much from Central America but from Asia. Should we build a wall from San Diego to Seattle?
The improving Mexican economy draws more Mexicans to go back than our political candidates acknowledge. But will those running for office discuss fact-based solutions? Unlikely.
We live in a country with long coastlines and thousands of miles of borders. Rational solutions must be offered and changes made to both our legal system of immigration and the laws that control illegal entry.
We have the potential to be an even greater nation than we have been. Mortgaging our future by amassing a debt that is unpayable for generations is not a strategy for greatness. Having poor border security will one day bite us hard with those who seek to harm us sneaking in.
All of this needs to be addressed by those who seek our support. And the number of issues is far greater than the debt and immigration.
We can keep throwing issues up for conversation, but those seeking our support would rather avoid it. They like short, trite, soundbites, like “build a wall” or “feel the Bern.”
So we end up with the following: in Wisconsin a socialist running as a Democrat beats the quintessential crony capitalist Democrat queen. At the same time, a recently dual Canadian-American citizenship holder gives a solid beat down to the quintessential crony capitalist running as a “populist” Republican.
You just can’t make this stuff up! As Yakov Smirnoff used to ask,”Is this a great country or what?” I’m thinking it really was more than a rhetorical question.
Ed H. Moore resides in Tallahassee, Florida, where he is perpetually awaiting a rebirth of wonder. Column courtesy of Context Florida.