Thursday, November 08, 2012

Reflections in the Aftermath

"Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain."~ John F. Kennedy

Just a few thoughts on why the presidential election turned out the way it did:

  • Divide and conquer is a winning strategy. When you pit blacks against whites, rich against poor, women against men, gays against straights, and citizens against aliens, enough disgruntled subgroups emerge to splinter support for your opposition. At some point, President Obama's relentlessly negative campaign had every voter mad at some segment of the population. The engineered angst worked to his advantage. It was cheap and dirty politics, but he won.
  • Education is lacking. How many graduates of our public school systems have been taught the value of our country's founding principles? How many college students have read the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution? Do they know which of those two documents starts with "We the People"? Do they know where the Bill of Rights fits in? For the most part, our public educational system has degenerated into touchy-feely political correctness virtually devoid of true learning, with students taking classes on global warming, cultural trends, and various minority groups. Poor education breeds ignorant voters. Ignorant voters elect bad candidates who pass stupid laws. So here we are.
  • The free ride feels good. We have reached a point where the takers are exceeding the makers. With the myriad forms of government assistance available for a variety of reasons to more and more Americans, there is less pressure for individuals to produce and provide for themselves. Why work and pay taxes when the government is so willing to help with the bills? This entitlement mindset is moving us farther away in spirit from the pioneers who built America with their own hard work, then handed off a better tomorrow to their children. It makes it more difficult to press the case for a strong economy and a growing job market. And reliance on government to solve our individual problems sets the stage for a descent into tyranny. 

Although he lost by a substantial margin in the electoral college, Mitt Romney lost the presidency by about only 3% of the popular vote. Abraham Lincoln famously stated that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." That's where we are, divided--or, in modern terms, "polarized."

Lincoln went on to say, "I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free." To adapt his statement for today's circumstances, I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half worker and half freeloader.

Half educated doesn't help, either.