A representative of Standard & Poor’s said on television that the normal period for a nation to repair its damaged credit rating was 9 to 18 years. That is probably what America faces as it tries to recover from the first credit downgrade in its entire history, which occurred last week.
It is wrong to blame this downgrade entirely on President Obama. He surely bears part of the blame, but this has been building for some time, through both Democratic and Republican administrations. There is plenty of blame to go around.
The issue is not blame. The issue is how we get out of this, and, in particular, the attitude we develop toward our financial problems. Some on the left will rejoice in what’s happened, the comeuppance that they dearly dreamed of. America, in their corrupt view, must now go into decline as other “cultures” rise. This is the natural progress of history, they will argue. Besides, we are evil capitalists who deserve to be punished.
Some on the right will be no better. They will withdraw into gated communities, content to do nothing, contribute nothing, as long as they’ve got their low taxes and profits. Hey, we’re a nation of individuals, aren’t we?
Wiser heads on the left, right, and middle, will take a different course: They will see this downgrade as an opportunity for America, not to decline, but to rise again as an even stronger, better country. They will demand reasonable solutions, and they will ask the right questions. They will understand, as Reagan did, that it’s always morning in America.
But Ronald Reagan had an advantage that today’s leaders do not. When he took office, he asked what we had in great supply that we could use to win the Cold War. The answer that came back was…money. And he used it to build America’s defenses and overwhelm the Soviet Union. Today we don’t have that extra cash. But we do have ingenuity. We have a young generation, most of whose members seem eager to work, and are not cursed by the self-indulgence and twisted politics of the sixties generation, which is now fading from power. (And good riddance.)
It is going to be a long fight for us, and the goal of a greater, stronger and more modern nation must constantly be before us. We must reject the gleeful defeatists. We must never hesitate to declare our intention to remain number one. Our self-proclaimed “intellectual leaders” will ridicule that idea, but we should never let that fat and self-satisfied class rattle us.
We now have the power of the internet, which, if used correctly, can counter the pessimism and self-loathing of many in the media and the universities.
Our future will be determined by the correct statement of our goals, and will be guaranteed by our will to win. Our economic struggles are a war fought by non-lethal means. In the end, though, the quality of our leadership will be decisive. My only fear, and it is a serious one, is that we don’t have the right people in place in either party. That is the reason why next year’s presidential election will be one of the most important, if not the most important, in American history.
In this economic struggle we will accept, as Eisenhower said to his troops on D-Day, nothing less than victory.
FROM URGENT AGENDA (WWW.URGENTAGENDA.COM)
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