Worldview: When you look at your country, who do you see?

To me, last night’s State of the Union Address represented the same kind of drivel that I’ve come to expect from all of our politicians for years. Obama went right to the boasting and political pandering that has defined national politics since I first started paying attention to it decades ago.

The centerpiece of Obama’s pandering is the idea that Americans need the government to take care of them. To the people in Washington, it’s no longer a government of, by, and for the people but a government above, around, and in front of the people.

That thought leads me to the thing that has been bothering me about this election cycle since it began way back after Obama was elected in 2008: why do we spend so much time worrying about presidents and Congresses and national politics at all? Shouldn’t those things pale in comparison to what each of us are doing as individuals wherever we are?

Last night, Obama said, ”I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” The problem is that what he believes the people cannot do better themselves and what I think have nothing to do with each other at all.

If Obama believed those words the way I do, he would do exactly two things: first, he would demand that Congress include the Constitutional justification for every law it passes. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go into law. Second, he would demand that Congress begin systematically dismantling the federal government until it returns to the size and scope of powers enumerated in the Constitution and its amendments.

But, Obama doesn’t believe in that at all. No, instead he believes in a government of the government, by the government, and for the government. In his view, the people need to be taken care of. They need to be ruled.

And the reason he can get away with that idea is because of you. It’s because you’re so worried about electing a president who can fix your problems instead of you fixing them yourself. It’s because you’re so worried about what’s going on in Washington that you’re not worried about what’s going on down the street. It’s because you’ve decided that the idea of being taken care of sounds kind of nice, and if you’re honest with yourself, that’s what you’re paying attention to and voting for.

So, look around you. Who do you see? Do you see a nation full of exceptional individuals who should all be given the maximum opportunity to succeed by the merits of their own work? Do you see opportunities to help others and, by doing so, help yourself? Do you see a future that lies in your hands and a destiny you determine?

Or do you see a bunch of things you want someone else to do because you don’t feel like doing it?

The sad part is that, as our government systematically dismantles our liberty in order to make us all safe and comfortable, it guarantees our demise. The history of great nations tells us that is true. And, the ones who will survive and flourish in whatever comes after that demise are the ones who take matters into their own hands.

Now, look in the mirror. Who do you see? Do you see a person ready for whatever comes next?

If not, do something about it.

DLH

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Worldview: Occupy Yourself, or a better way for the Occupy Wall Street protesters to succeed

One of the ironies of the Occupy Wall Street protests is how many of the protesters refuse to acknowledge the contradiction of their outrage against the rich and corporations even as they demand taxes, jobs, and benefits from the rich and corporations. They seek to overthrow the very institutions they also want to depend on for their livelihoods and well-being, and they seem to have no plan for the chaos they could unleash if they succeed.

From my point of view, the protesters need to stop depending on Wall Street taxes, jobs, and benefits if they want to end Wall Street corruption. What they need to realize is that they can’t have it all and that they are the ones who are going to have to make something else happen if anything is going to happen at all.

I think the protests have a place in the grand scheme of making things happen because they draw attention to problems that do exist, but the protesters need to define what they’re for as much as what they’re against. And, no, they are not creating this definition by demanding more taxes on certain income earners or better benefits.

Instead, the protesters need to put their money where their mouths are, sometimes quite literally, and stop supporting the very corporate enterprises they are protesting against with their consumer habits. The sea-change these protesters could awaken in the United States, if they chose to do so, is a return to local economies for the benefit of local people, the very thing they claim, after a fashion, that they want.

And they could do so as part of their protests by seizing the opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship the protests themselves provide. Why does the City of New York have to provide sanitation for the park where the protest is being held, for instance? Why hasn’t someone in the protest community figured out how to make this happen?

Establishing self-sufficient sanitation is one among the thousands of things the protesters and their supporters could be doing to change the way Americans think about how they do just about everything. There are opportunities in food, clothing, shelter, logistics, and even medical care that present themselves if they would take the risk to make them happen.

But they need to show the creativity and initiative to do these things first. The world is watching and waiting.

DLH

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Worldview: Remembering the warning we ignored

Today is the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole at Aden, Yemen by operatives of al Qaeda. The bombing killed seventeen sailors and wounded another 39.

The US response to the Cole bombing may well go down as one of the biggest mistakes in foreign policy history because it emboldened al Qaeda to take even bigger risks. A year later, 9/11 happened.

This chain of events cannot be more important to our current state of affairs. Actions have consequences, even when the action is failure to act. The bombing of the Cole is an example of what happens when nations do not take care of their problems or the threats arrayed against them.

We live in a time where the national instinct is to give up, and if we do so, we consign ourselves to the real risk of even worse things happening because of an emboldened enemy that will think it has won a great victory. We failed to act after the Cole bombing, and that failure helped bring 9/11. If we fail to finish the job in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, what consequences will we bring on ourselves?

DLH

Read more at my Worldview site...