Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Need for Real Leadership in America

Ronald Reagan's famous Morning in America commercial struck a chord with Americans who were dispirited by the malaise of the Carter administration and the ongoing hostage crisis in Iran.
The current crop of presidential contenders have absorbed the lessons [of the Reagan-Carter campaign] well. They know a bullish sense of American pride is required of them, and they express it at every opportunity.

The Republicans are, on balance, more jingoistic and determinedly upbeat than their Democratic rivals. But even the Democrats take care to wrap their complaints about the Bush era in overtly patriotic garb...

But in the present moment relentless proclamations of America’s greatness run the risk of concealing more than they illuminate. They numb the capacity for self-criticism. They distort the picture of the world and exaggerate the U.S.’s dominance. And they downplay the nation’s problems and push solutions farther out of sight.

The truth of the matter, unpalatable though it may be, is that the U.S.’s recent track record across a range of areas is mediocre. And it is getting worse. |Note to Candidates: It’s Not Always Morning in America - New York Observer| (emphasis added)
The Bush Administration's record of incomptence, foreign and domestic, is truly stunning. The botched response to Hurricane Katrina will always stand out in my mind as a milestone, who was the last American President to lose an entire city?

In phone conversations with several of my friends over the last week, we've been discussing the signs that America is a nation in decline. The growing inequality in America, the taxpayer revolt, the lack of affordable health care, the crumbling infrastructure,the botched reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military stretched to the breaking point...

In all fairness, many of these problems predate Bush and his incompetence. But I think Bush deprives us of any hope that these problems can be tackled. When our leaders are corrupt and infantile, what hope is there?

Hopefully some of the candidates in the race can at least give us hope...

No comments: