I keep hearing our elected officials from President Obama to Sen. Schumer and many others in between calling for an "Adult Conversation" about the most serious issues facing our nation. One would assume we had been electing serious people to do an important job in leading our nation, but we must conclude that, by their own admission, they having only been "fooling around" in a childish/immature manner for some time now, waiting for the electorate to step up and say enough is enough.
It's sad to think of all the lost time and opportunities wasted while they pretended to be conducting affairs of the state. We now realize that many were just out for a good time.
A good friend of mine, who is now retired in Colorado, recently told me a story about a high ranking New York state official who questioned why residents allowed the state to be controlled by three individuals. He and his fellow elected officials continued to be amazed at what they were allowed to "get away with" in Albany.
I can't help but wonder if we are willing to sacrifice some of our luxuries for future generations the way previous American generations did for our benefit?
I was reading recently some information regarding the nation's efforts during World War II. Clearly, it was an all-out, shared national approach. Everybody did their part, including serious rationing of gasoline and food supplies that were saved from domestic consumption to aid the war effort for the troops. Things like rubber products, metal, glass, iron, and even women's nylons stockings were recycled for the manufacturing machine. The Great Depression generation was saving money and purchasing war bonds. Americans went to work on the production lines - especially women who entered traditional male manufacturing jobs - turning out equipment, ships, tanks and planes in record numbers, working seven days a week. Everybody was in the fight to win the war, and failure was not an option.
Despite the errors, setbacks and hardships, America was determined to overcome every obstacle that stood in their way. This became a national obsession and an all-consuming focus.
It is hard to imagine our people coming together in this fashion today. Perhaps the "greatest generation" was na ve, yet, from the stories I've been told by my parents and grandparents, there was a sense of happiness and satisfaction of accomplishment in the midst of all the sacrifices and loss of loved ones. The common goal and hardship forged a strong America capable of accomplishing anything.
The sacrifices by those who came before us were always done to lighten the load on future generations. Is the strong America our parents and grandparents handed over to our generations an America that we can feel equally confident about handing over to our children? Or have gotten so soft and so self-consumed that we simply won't sacrifice our lifestyle for the benefit of those who will come after us?
When best and brightest among us can't work together in an adult fashion to solve the internal domestic issues of the day, one has to wonder if we aren't better served right now getting young high schools kids from the Model UN program to address these issues and find the common ground solutions we've been unwilling to undertake.
These are strange times. The clock keeps ticking, the rhetoric keeps growing, and that once-strong sense of shared sacrifice seems a distant memory to the ever-dwindling number of Americans who lived through that era and sacrificed so much.
We have to be honest with ourselves. Will the America we leave our children be a better America than our parents left to us, or have we squandered the great advantage we once enjoyed out of self indulgence and uncompromising political positions? I think the next few years will be pivotal in answering those questions. While nearly all Americans would opt for the same goal, I wonder if we'll allow the method by which we reach that goal become the unraveling of America.
Dan Alexander is publisher and owner of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.