It is our own fault, that of all of us. Existential guilt creeps in for our national failures.
Jimmy Carter, God bless him, was and is right. His Malaise Speech of 1979 was prophetic:
In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. . . .
As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning. . . .
What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends. . . .
First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course. We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this nation. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this generation of Americans. . . .
We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure. . . .
All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. . . .
In closing, let me say this: I will do my best, but I will not do it alone. Let your voice be heard. Whenever you have a chance, say something good about our country. With God's help and for the sake of our nation, it is time for us to join hands in America. Let us commit ourselves together to a rebirth of the American spirit. Working together with our common faith we cannot fail.He was absolutely right. My roommates an I knew it as we listened to the speech and then we all went out and foolishly voted for Reagan.
And ironically, we have been successful in the immediate problem he was addressing - the Energy Crisis. We now import a smaller percentage of oil than ever before. We have vast reserves of cleaner burning natural gas (as long as we don't frack ourselves to destruction). And we have been successful in developing several forms of renewable, alternate energy in wind, solar, etc. America can still do great things. Building a wall to have the Mexicans "pay" is not one of them.
I've been wondering if there is any way to look on the heart rather than the outward appearance of our current presidential candidates. I'm pretty convinced that Bernie Sanders has a good heart. I'm absolutely convinced that Donald J. Trump does not. Hillary Clinton leaves me confused. I absolutely will never forgive her vote for the Iraq War. And that vote is indicative of a self-preservation pragmatism that raises questions about her heart and may or may not work to the good of the nation. It certainly did not in the Iraq vote.
I will continue blogging to do everything I can to persuade us to reject Trump in all his vulgarity, prejudice, arrogance, and self-promotion. He is the worst of all political evils and I will continue the search for something, someone, in some way, reflecting a better heart.