Preaching to the Choir?
My initial reaction is that for one night, the candidates for President, Senator McCain and Senator Obama, seemed willing to say what I wanted to hear, but I’m not sure what that was. Both agreed that there are serious problems in the country, and that a spirit of service to others needs to be "restored." Both see the military as an important component of service, and want it to be expanded and better paid. Both believe a lack of trust in government and politics has discouraged concerned citizenship. Senator McCain said that restoring trust is the key to encouraging community service, Senator Obama said that there is a spirit of idealism in the country that just needs to be given an opportunity by the government. People know things have to change. People are ready for change. Unions are ready. Politicians are ready. Young people are ready. Old people are ready. There was a spirit on 9/11. It should have been taken advantage of. It’s still there. <--break-->
Here is what I didn’t hear. Aside from partisanship and special interests in Washington, what has to change? Do the American people have to change? How? And to what? Both Senators are quick to praise the many selfless acts of many of the American people, but the data shows that collectively Americans are spending more than they earn, families are weaker than they were, the infrastructure is degrading, debts are accumulating, savings diminishing. And on the fiscal and financial side, all this could come to a head right when the next President takes office. More money for volunteers and soldiers is a fine idea, but the country is going broke. Come January, if either of these men told us to forget about the promises, all there is to offer is challenges, what would be the response?
Part of what has moved this country forward, over and over again, is a hard look in the mirror, followed by a determined response. There was talk of the founding fathers and WWII. Our challenges aren’t that great, and are within people’s capabilities. But there has to be some thought about what the problems are. And there will be a need to challenge those who aren’t doing what they need to do already. That is what I get from Service Nation – we need to change, and people need to be more willing to serve. But no one is willing to say what we need to change from.
At the end of this series I’ll re-provide one-example of a way people could work together to make things better for themselves and each other in a significant way with a little cooperation. And I’ll ask – is it conceivable that people would do it, or that a President would ask? A candidate wouldn’t dare, I’ll tell you that.
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