We now are facing yet another in an unending series of speeches from our President that either admonish us (all or certain groups) for our shortcomings, or else propose vague generalities that shroud more back-room decisions that affect all of us, yet neither compel or motivate us into positive action, or even vague enlightenment. Addresses to Joint Sessions of Congress USED to be for monumental undertakings or events- 9/11, Declarations of war, State of the Union Addresses. Now, President Obama calls Congress together NOT in reaction to a major event, NOT to declare war, NOT to even announce a sweeping plan and lay out a clear path. No, he USES Congress as a mere Public Relations prop to make a POLITICAL POLICY SPEECH! Not a comprehensive proposal, not a series of bold legislative initiatives, but yet another speech. The president is not being 'Presidential', despite all the gilded trappings surrounding his latest 'speech', and most certainly despite the reverential hosannahs from his Amen Corner in the press. By using this grand stage for such a trivial amount of substance, he is insulting the integrity of the Legislative Branch, insulting the intelligence of the American Public (and that is a HARD thing to do these days!), and insulting the very Legislative process by which we run this country, and by extension the very Constitution by which we rule our society.
Make your speech instead from the Oval Office, Mr. President. Then, present a comprehensive program via an actual BILL sent to Congress. Maybe even allow the members to READ IT and DEBATE IT before trying to ram it through via parliamentary tricks and closed-door deals, as has increasingly been the case over the past many years. We don't need a Politburo-like 'Super-Congress' to work behind closed doors and circumvent the legal and Constitutional process that has served us so well over the last 230+ years! Let the American public see how Washington SHOULD work. We don't want any more platitude-filled speeches without substance, and certainly no more 'focus-group-tested' proposals that are merely the same failed 'stimulus' and 'tax-and-spend' proposals that have been repackaged in shiny and new bags, but still contain the same old insider political-payoff garbage that should have been taken out years ago.
Americans are tired of political payoffs and paybacks- whether they are for your friends in the Union or your friends on Wall Street and the international Banking conglomerates. This also goes for BOTH sides of the aisle, who have conveniently used the 'us versus them' strategy for years to divert public attention from the process by which BOTH parties gained power, influence and WEALTH at the expense of the American public. Americans are sick of the 'Compromise' mentality of Washington- where the only things that get compromised are the ethics of politicians and the integrity of America's social, financial and economic well-being. The time of Crony-Capitalism and the economic enslavement of the Corporate/Social welfare State is rapidly drawing to a close. Keeping the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us as a permanent and growing underclass merely to build a powerful unelected bureaucratic 'ruling class' is just as heinous and destructive as is using Lobbyist Billions to 'fix the system' to insure ungodly profits and unfair competitive advantage for the wealthy few- at the expense of those poor, middle class and small-to-medium businessmen and women who have to fight unfair government subsidies bought and paid for by the legalized system of bribery known as 'Lobbying'. All of this corruption, greed and social stratification may lead to short-term ploitical and economic gain for a very few, but the long-term collapse of this unsustainable house of badly-dealt cards is rapidly coming upon us.
Many in power in politics, business and the media are either in denial of the impending death of this Crony-Capitalist Oligarchy, or are even actively ENCOURAGING it's rapid degeneration into moral, social and economic chaos. Many more still see a profit motive, a way to more power, or even an opportunity for personal or ideological gains through social upheaval, in promoting the further decline of the American Middle Class, along with the weakening and destruction of the economic engine of America known as Start-Up, Small and Growing business, and the dissolution of the social bondsthat hold together the threads of the increasingly tattered, but uniquely American social fabric of our society.
Now is the time not for DIVIDING America along economic, social, political, ethnic, racial or ANY OTHER lines that so many of BOTH parties seem willing to exploit for their own ends. That is a dark path that has led many nations and societies throughout history to chaotic and rapid decline, and eventual destruction. Alexander's Greece was the pinnacle of economic, social and military power in the world. The Romans were the Greatest Empire ever seen on the face of this planet. The 'Sun Never Set On The British Empire'. On and on throughout recorded history, and probably beyond into the time-shrouded depths of prehistory, Empires, nations and societies were thought too rich, too powerful and too socially advanced to EVER decline- let alone disappear from the face of the Earth. Do we Americans wish to be remembered as just another bright star among that shined the beacon of peace, freedom and individual liberty for only a short while, only to descend into chaos, flicker and fade from the world stage like a Guiding torch that was extinguished by it's own hubris and neglect?.
I say no! America has strayed from it's roots, but it is still not too late. We MUST return to our founding core beliefs of individual Liberty, the myriad of individual freedoms that in the past and (most importantly) still DO set our nation uniquely and proudly apart from the soul-crushing conformity of collectivism and despotism that still threatens the vast majority of humanity. Our best, proudest and most important days as a nation and society may very well lay ahead of us. But ONLY if we NEVER forget what set us apart from the world initially, and strengthened us continually and progressively throughout our national history; The supreme belief that the rights of the individual must NEVER be trampled by the majority, and that each individual has a God-Given right to 'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness'. All of our laws, beliefs and STRENGTHS flow from that simple yet powerful line that began our journey together as a Nation. Now is the time to come together- not in a 'compromising' way that belittles our beliefs, but in a bold, sometimes contentious, but always moral and forthright way, so that we may advance as a nation- not of economic, social, political, ethnic, racial or ANY OTHER groups- but as a nation of INDIVIDUALS! Together as Americans we have done, and can STILL do great things- but only with respect for individual rights, recognition that we must compassionately and fairly address the needs of the less fortunate among us, and without giving ANY individual, group or entity (especially the GOVERNMENT) undue influence and unjust power over ANY other individual or group.
As Benjamin Franklin was asked shortly after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”. He succinctly replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”. America today is now at one of those rare crossroads in history where we can choose the future course of our nation, and in doing so the future of this planet. Will we continue the down the present narrow and destructive path of selfish divisiveness, personal and collective greed and short-sighted power-lust? Or will we look toward working through our differences, uniting around our common principles and values, and moving America forward out of the depths of despair into a new Golden Age of enlightenment, prosperity and Liberty?
It's time for ALL Americans to choose.
Thaddeus S. Kaczor, Jr.