Jan 1, 2018, the First Article of the year, for BootheGlobalPerspectives is a good time for
OPTIMISM FOR THE USA!
The best news is that the essential character, essential systems, checks and balances of our government are working and in place. The essential elements of the “United States” include a fundamental ethical system based upon a “goodness” of America. This nation was formed with an important element of respect for others, fairness, and a charitable outlook upon our place in the world. China may be approaching the economic power of the USA, but no nation can replace the moral or philosophical idealism that permeates the national character of America.
An essential characteristic is a love of peace, harmony and unity. It is best reflected in our name, the UNITED STATES. Our laws, courts, character and government are based upon pulling together as a people, not in division and conflict. The vast majority of Americans seek unity, want to “get along” and move forward, and that ability to “pull together” has made the United States the world leader and power that it is. The philosophy of America has been considered by millions around the world as a voice of depth and goodness. That has been dented, but not destroyed, for the world awaits the days when the USA can again take up the torch of moral, wise and thoughtful leadership for progress, not conflict.
Among the essentials of stabilization in the USA are courts, agencies, systems and laws meant to help people and protect people against the abuses or extremes of unbridled greed, power mongering, and exploitation of economic systems. America has always been a nation to encourage, stimulate and protect the ability of the “little man” to reach his destiny, not to have to bend to the will of big power, big corruption, unbridled greed and power that consumes for the sake of control and more power.
Another essential that brings me optimism for America is our hard-wired belief as a people to give opportunity to the least of us, empowering all to believe that we can become better. We can improve. We can achieve. We as a nation can succeed so well that we can afford to be generous. Generous, so well endowed, that we can afford to give a “hand up” to those less fortunate who wish to achieve. We as a people have always tried to find way to help those who have been discouraged so much that they sometimes desperately need to escape the necessity of asking for a handout.
Our nation systematically believes in providing skills, education and even funding to support others in finding and achieving their destinies and opportunities. Ours is a nation that has room for one more at the table, one more in the life boat, one more in our schools, and one more voice in the political world. We have as a nation made opportunity for all -- yes, FOR ALL -- possible for those who are willing to work for it. Instead of creating walls and clubs and castes of wealth to keep people out, the heart of America is inclusive, not exclusive. The face of Americans, the face of the Statue of Liberty, welcomes and invites people to share and build their destinies and successes in America. It shines with the light of inclusion, not exclusion.
The bright thought of the first day of January, 2018, is that the vast majority of Americans are more empowered than they have been in years to use more judgement and to elect good people who are leaders of wisdom. The American people are determined and now realize vividly how important is their role in selecting people of experience and exceptional character, to “preside” over our nation. There is another thought. When “little” people gain power, it is difficult to loosen their grip and to replace them.
Narcissists tend to hang on to power, grasping with desperate fingers to keep a grip on power. Like the schoolmasters of past centuries who sometimes had to be strong to regain order in their classes, the American people must be strong to take charge and re-establish order and progress in this nation. I see an American public that has deeper insight and deeper understanding of the critical importance to re-establish proper leadership in our nation and to never again allow “gangs of the billionaire club” to seize our nation’s highest political offices.
In 2018, our free press (the 4th Estate) has survived and seems to be more determined than ever to search for truth and speak truth. I observed with interest a research study of proven lies of past U.S. presidents. This included statements made by the five most recent presidents. Each of them told lies or made mistakes. But according to the research, the proven lies or mistakes have increased 30-50 times more during the past 100 days than during the terms of any of the four past presidents. The American people have been polled and seem to believe that 80 percent of the statements that come out of the current White House are unreliable and untruthful. Recent polls indicate that by a large majority most Americans believe in the honesty and reliability of the free press of major news outlets. Truth goes a long way in a democracy. 2018 will be a year when all writers and reporters will be striving harder than ever to verify, check and report truth. “The Truth Will Set You Free,” it has been said. So we are encouraged at this point in 2018. The main-stream press is reporting truth with greater care and “fact checking” than ever.
No doubt, we can hope for better things and put our trust in the more informed judgement of the American people in the future.
We can discuss items such as the new tax law, immigration, border walls, restrictions, more arrests and deportations, war-like rhetoric, impacts cutting the EPA or farm programs. We can talk about the cutting of government funding for local counties, states, cities; cutting Educational Department funding, or understaffing the State Department; pressuring agencies such as environmental agencies to not report scientific facts when they don't match a politician’s opinion, on and on. But those things will balance out when the essential character of the American people is represented in upcoming elections. Our optimism is higher because Americans are not ignorant. They know what is happening, they dislike the “un-American” ethos and manners and will be making better judgements in the future. I am optimistic because I believe at some point in the future, we will all relearn how to act and vote like Americans, and not be so deeply divided. But we must understand that division and conflict are tools often used by some to gain control and power. We see it now. Years ago, when as a much younger man, I ran for U.S. Congress, Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives Jim Wright introduced me to an audience and said: “Ben is a uniter, not a divider.” That was a great compliment. I lost that election, but the guy who won eventually had to resign in deep disgrace. But, I am looking for “uniters” who will stand up and stand out to bring our nation together for future decades. 2018 gives me reason to be optimistic for our United States OF AMERICA.