Essays on Rebuilding America: Restoring Hope

Columnist : Jonathan Williams

by Col. Frank Ryan, USMC Ret.

After seeing the birth of the European Union, the thought crossed my mind that we, as Americans, have surrendered our position of world leadership. My recent trips overseas reinforced my concerns. Fortunately for us, there is no one to take our place just yet. I say fortunately since our nation is basically a principled nation, one in which the human rights of our citizens and the common decency and empathy that we have as a people are an integral part of our culture. It is important, for our nation, for our world and for our citizens that we reclaim our position of world leadership. But with that leadership come the burdens that go with those responsibilities.

Having just returned from my second trip outside the United States this year, I realized that the United States is today where Great Britain was almost 60 years ago. While we all slept, our leaders brought us to the twilight of our National identity. We have started down the slippery slope of decline. That slippery slope is a loss of world leadership and for many of our citizens, a great deal of anxiety about our futures.

There can be hope.

Leadership is not a choice. It is a responsibility for a principled people.  If you dream of the days of opportunity, of the American dream, of prosperity, of better lives for our children and grandchildren and, equally as importantly, for the world, then we have to address the very issues which have put us on the slippery slope of decline. For leadership, properly guided, our own citizens and the rest of the world will be able to join us in a pursuit of happiness by the restoration of hope.

Do you want a better life for your children, for your grandchildren, for yourselves? If you do, you must care. The road we are on is a road to disaster despite what our political leaders tell us. You cannot forever mortgage your future with deficit spending, unbelievable trade deficits, huge future commitments with no means to pay for them, and significant personal debt before you realize that we have spent ourselves into decline and, with that, a lose of hope for many Americans.

Should we care? Should you care?

After great reflection I answered a resounding “yes” to the question of whether or not we should care but I am not positive my fellow Americans agree. This concern and the uncertainty of your answer to our failing world leadership caused me to wonder whether America can be rebuilt or even if you want it to be rebuilt.

Turning to government to solve your problems has, in fact, merely caused more problems. For example, our leaders will tell you that health care is failing in this nation for all sorts of reasons but if you talk with doctors, nurses and others in health care, they will tell you that the very government that complains about health care is the same government that dictates such ridiculous practices which preclude great health care. Is the system broken? Yes! Can government fix it? No! Only by dealing with serious solutions to serious problems will the health care system be fixed.

Our education system is also in a shambles. Our teachers are frustrated, our students disillusioned, our employers moving outside the US, and our productivity lagging. You can never regain a position of world leadership without regaining world leadership in education. If you ask most educators they will tell you that parental involvement is the key to successful education. Yet our tax systems and cost of living are so great that both parents are exhausted. Relief so that parents can parent starts with the government spending wisely and minimally so that the family can support itself to the best of its ability.

Education and Health Care are but two examples of our state of decline.

Why rebuild then? It is so that hope can be restored. Hope must be restored. Self-sacrifice and self-discipline are personal decisions, both of which give you control back over your own lives because you will have made the decision.

To regain our position of leadership we must act like leaders. Leadership requires and demands just that. The future is bright but only if you want it to be.

Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (ret.), serves on the board of directors of the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc. and he is a commentator for American Radio Journal.)

Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (ret.), serves on the board of directors of the
Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.
and he is a commentator for the American Radio Journal.)