I happened to run into my editor the other day, and he asked if I was going to submit some more columns. Without thinking, I responded, well it’s an embarrassment to be a conservative right now. What I meant is that the rock bed, Barry Goldwater-Ronald Reagan conservatism that I cut my teeth on no longer exists. Today’s political climate is embarrassing.
In the old days, conservatives possessed clearly defined principles, and liberals understood and largely respected our commitment to those values. Both major parties found middle ground and enacted legislation that was good for the country. My friends included both Republicans and Democrats, and we shared debate while breaking bread. Huntley, Brinkley and Cronkite were fair and impartial arbitrators and almost never picked sides. Elections were never questioned, and expanding voting rights for minorities was the American way.
What is happening in politics today is frustrating and hurtful to Americans on the left, right and middle who want to be serious about addressing the critical issues facing this great nation and obscuring the American dream. It appears that both major parties are being manipulated by the national media and massive lobbying organizations that divide us and pit us against each other like mindless roosters. I have never been a conspiracy theorist, but I sometimes wonder if a group of wealthy Europeans are sitting around a table in Stockholm laughing uncontrollably as we blindly tear one another apart and destroy the unity that made America great, which happened long before that phrase became a divisive political slogan.
I love America and the unbridled potential she offers. America is exceptional because Americans – all Americans – are exceptional, and our founders provided a framework that works for those who are willing to work. During my lifetime, John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower – passionate, inspirational presidents – set the bar for decorum, bipartisan cooperation and good manners. Under their leadership, exceptional things were accomplished: the end of American apartheid, the interstate highway system, putting mankind on the moon, the elimination of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. These accomplishments made us all hold our heads high and earned America the respect of the world.
Then came Watergate, followed by one scandal after another, until the presidential halo had been too tarnished to be renewed. The once sacred respect the media had for the office has turned to jaded disdain.
There is a solution for our current madness and problematical deadlock: accomplishment. We need to retire the worn out, trite, incorrigible, ill-mannered, uncooperative, traditional politicians and discover, develop and elect a new crop of fresh, bipartisan, innovative, humble servant-leaders who do not want to become lifetime politicians and will commit to working together to do the following: developing a sensible plan for immigration; to titivate our economic system to make accomplishment possible for everyone who desires financial independence; to find a commonsense compromise that protects women’s health while providing protection for the innocent unborn; to renovate our crumbling infrastructure and antiquated housing stock; and to stop focusing on the argumentative cause of climate change and refocus the STEM community to the protection of our country from the same climate generated consequences that destroyed the world’s three greatest ancient civilizations.
To quote Michael Douglas in “The American President:” “Serious times demand serious solutions.”
Do you want to keep fighting or start finding solutions?
Fred Snowden is a Loudoun County businessman and educator. He serves as the director of research and education for the Loudoun Freedom Foundation.