Monday, November 03, 2008

Columnist Conrad Black observes that our nation is on the cusp on doing something extraordinary: electing a President that is ideologically far left of the vast majority of the people who will vote for him. The reason? The financial wreckage that has been left in the wake of the worst economic tsunami in my lifetime.

My frustration is that both candidates vying to become our nation's CEO have failed to place the blame where it rightly lies. They've blamed Wall Street, fat-cat CEOs, President Bush, even their own colleagues in congress - though they've carefully in pointed out that they, themselves, were Nastradamus-like in their prophetic prognostications of impending collapse.

They missed it entirely.

Though I am voting for McCain, I would be much happier if he had looked in the camera and said, "Who is to blame for this crisis? You are, America. You bought cars you didn't really need with loans you couldn't really afford. You took out home equity loans, and when they sent you a 'credit card' that you could use to quickly access your 'home equity line of credit' you went to the mall, bought a blouse and lost your house. You're to blame, America, because you cashed out your 401K in order to pay off your wife when you divorced her. You took trips to the Caribbean with money you didn't have to see places you couldn't enjoy because all the while in the back of your mind you knew you would have to work overtime in order to pay the bill. While the Japanese were industriously saving, you and your fellow Americans created a negative savings rate (which is to say you spent more than you made). You've at fault America because you fought a war that you couldn't afford, and unlike your grandparents, you didn't make any sacrifices to pay for it. You wanted your war, delivered nightly on television, just so long as you could sit at Applebees and watch it on CNN. (Drinks complements of your company expense account, of course.)

Conventional thought says, "You can't get regular Americans to vote for you by blaming them." I disagree. I think regular Americans really do know they shoulder some responsibility. I know I do. I bought too much house in Michigan before I sold my home in Indiana. I chose wants over needs. I know my own culpability. If John McCain loses this election it will be, in part, because "The Straight Talk Express didn't make a whistle-stop in Realityville.

You see, had any candidate pointed out that we're all to blame, the golden opportunity would have been to remind us that, any mess Americans get themselves into, they can get out of.

Imagine McCain saying this: "Friends, we're all to blame. First, I and my colleagues in government are at fault. We let you down. We created a culture in which CEO fat-cats and predatory lenders caved into the pressure of their shareholders (including many of you who own Freddie and Fannie in your mutual funds). And you, friends, bought homes that cost too much even though you saved too little. You spent more than you made. You're to blame. I'm to blame. We all are responsible. But the good news is: we got in it together, and together, if we purpose to do it, we can recover together. The same country that put a man on the moon can put the economy back on track.

I would have voted for that candidate regardless of party.

Instead, I am left with voting for the guy who, I suspect, thought it but wasn't courageous enough to step away from his handlers and tell me what I really needed to hear. And I'm left to wonder if that isn't, at least partly, why I'll likely be watching Senator Obama become President Obama next January.


Sister Alissa Lynne said...

I enjoyed this post - very honest thinking - God Bless!

kjo1 said...

Your totally right...and I'm afraid you'll be right again tomorrow night. Scares the ever livin puddin out of me.
Mom Cook

Sam S. said...

I agree with you Frank, had one of these men just put on the Daddy Pants and told us what we needed to hear rather than what we wanted to hear, I'd feel a heck of a lot better when I vote today. BUT...You're missing the one thing that distinguishes them as politicians... honesty (or lack thereof)!
The risk of telling people it's everyone's fault, is that most people don't want to be told they're to blame. My generation (I'm 29) is very bad at the, "Don't blame me, I didn't do it!" trend. Whenever something happens, we can't be at fault! It had to be someone else's neglagence that made it go wrong.
The next generation is even worse because we, as parents, let them keep blaming others for almost everything they've done wrong.
I'm not saying there aren't people, in both of these generations, that don't take the resposibility for poor choices they made, but those who do are in a great minority.
It seems to me, if one of the men would've said, "We are all to blame, and together WE can fix it" it would've handed the election to the other man. Again, we don't want to work to fix it... we want someone to take care of the problem and fix it for us. Why is that? "Don't blame me, I didn't do it!"
I hope and pray that people will start to turn towards taking responsibility for what they do and also making their children do the same, but until that happens we have to sift through all the rhetoric and decide which man is telling the least amount of empty promises, and hope the man(or woman) is the best one to lead us. God bless America, and I pray our leaders (whomever that may be)will lead us down the right road.

Rod Bisher said...

Besides the Statue of Liberty in NY Harbor, there should be two other statues. One on America's East and one on the West Coast...
The Statue of Relationship and the Statue of Responsibility.
Without Relationships built on Liberty and Responsibility, we really don't fathom the freedom that was given us by countless others before us. Proper relationships built on what it truly means to have liberty and what our responsibility is to that liberty, create an unbroken unity that even though severely tested, can stand because of the truth of trust, liberty, and integrity. All of which, America has proven time and again. Because true relationships are a two way responsibility, people in a free society must make a choice to build trust in order to not just co-exist, but to build anything. To build businesses, organizations, churches, schools, services, and at the core, families, relationships built on choice, trust, responsibility, and liberty are paramount.
Without responsibility, the relationships we form are shallow at best and we have no personal regard for the meaning of liberty because it must "just be my right", because I live in America, with no realization of what that liberty truly cost, and how I should respond to the gift given me by others before me.
Phillip Brooks quoted, "The root of Duty is the gratitude for what others have done for you."
Without educators, including the number one educators in America--parents, taking the responsibility of passing on to America's next generations, the history of sacrifices with which our freedoms were purchased, and without oneself taking upon the responsibility to understand that cost of liberty, we as a nation will fall prey to the fact that history repeats itself and as a nation, history will record us as the Great Failed Experiment.
Liberty, based on Relationships and Responsibility, has always been the high calling of America. America's vision doesn't ask "Where are you from and what is your past?" America's Vision only asks, "Where do you want to go?"
Because of the history of thousands upon thousands of stories of individuals who were born in this country or came from another, they all knew that America's vision for one's life was true. That vision of becoming much more than anyone could believe, even themselves.
They took the responsibility to look at themselves and then look at the liberty America offered and they said in perhaps different words, but all had the same meaning,“I am where I am in life because of what I’ve done and the decisions I’ve made in the past. If I want to be somewhere else in the future, then I have to change what I’m doing--NOW!” and America offered them that liberty and opportunity of change because they understood America's foundation of Free Enterprise to anyone. But to understand that opportunity, I would quote my friend Jeff Darden, who says as Americans we need to be "Thankful to have real passion for FREEDOM and understand its price."

To be able to live in a country on this planet, where opportunity exists for anyone...anyone, no matter their background, to create their own Horatio Alger story from rags to riches, has often been called just a dream.
American poet, writer, three time Pulitzer Prize winner, and the Librarian of Congress, Archibald MacLeish said it best, "There are those, I know, who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is. It is the American dream."