For all the noise of this election campaign, the decision facing America on Election Day can be boiled down to one fundamental choice. Do we want transformation or restoration? Do we want to transform America into something resembling the rest of the world, or restore an America based on our founding principles?
The difference between the vision of transformation and that of restoration can be found in the likelihood that America ultimately changes course. Choosing restoration only means we have a chance to reverse course and re-institute the founding principles that built America into a great nation. It is far from certain that we will have either the capacity or will to stay that course.
But choosing transformation will complete a century-long process, from which there will be no turning back. The full-blown welfare state, based on the progressive agenda that’s been steadily adopted since the days of President Woodrow Wilson, has now climaxed with the passage of health care legislation granting the federal government control of one sixth of the nation’s economy. If we choose transformation, and thus validate the leftist policies of recent years, this massive entitlement program is certain to take a permanent place in American life alongside the myriad other benefits which people increasingly view as their right, or entitlement, and which we have so far refused to restructure.
The entitlement society not only fosters dependence rather than independence, and focus on self rather than the well-being of the nation. It represents a clear and present danger to our future. Entitlement programs account for more than half of a federal budget that is wildly out of balance. We’ve been spending a trillion dollars more than we collect every year, and borrowing the rest. This has led to a national debt that will exceed 17 trillion dollars by year’s end. There is only one word to describe that.
Even if we choose restoration, there is so much damage to repair, and so little time before we reach the fiscal cliff and further weaken our standing in the world. In addition to the exploding national debt, a stagnant economy and high unemployment, we face the looming threat of massive tax increases and spending cuts in the next two months that could drive our economy back into the ditch.
These are indeed the times that can try a nation’s soul. But America has always found its way out of crises because we summoned the will to do so.
Choosing the right candidates on election day will be just one of many steps in the process of restoring a more limited government, a more free market and a more free people. We must then both cut and grow….cut the federal government down to size, and grow the economy enough to create the jobs that will breathe life back into an economy gasping for air, and generate the tax revenues that must be applied as a tourniquet to our national debt.
If we can’t summon the will to do both, then the America we know will vanish into the fog of history, and we will ultimately become just another name on the roster of nations.
This is the choice OF a lifetime, because the difference between the two visions seeking our support have never been so stark, the stakes so high, the outcome so defining of the America we will live in from tomorrow forward.
And it’s the choice FOR a lifetime, because we, and even more so our children and grandchildren, will live with the consequences of the wrong decision for the rest of our lives.
We didn’t get into this mess overnight. It’s taken a hundred years. And we won’t fix it overnight. But the journey of a hundred miles surely begins with the first step.
And that comes tomorrow.