I am often asked why we can't seem to find true patriots for our highest elected federal offices. A large part of the answer to this important question is staring back at us every time we look at ourselves in a mirror. After all, no office-holders ever elected themselves to office. Nearly half of us who were eligible to vote in the last national elections did not do so, and almost none of us is actively protesting in any way.
Clearly, any nation's
challenges constantly change. To me, patriots are leaders who will
always face their own era's unique challenges by consistently and
passionately placing the best long-term interests of the vast
majority of their nation's citizens ahead of powerful special
interests, their political party, or even their own interests.
If the President of the United
States, or members of either of our lawmaking bodies, were true
patriots, they would spend every waking moment during these trying
times solely focused on the following: 1. Our economy...and most
importantly the creation of jobs. 2. Our national security. 3. How to
control deficit spending and reduce our debt. 4. How to deal with
entitlement promises. After all, aren't these really our most
important challenges? True patriots are leaders who would never stop working together
with the opposition party to meet those challenges effectively.
or political party alone can ever solve the multitude of
problems confronting the country in a way that will benefit the vast majority of its citizens. Today, both
parties in both legislative houses are obstructing, rather than helping, efforts by their opponents to find meaningful solutions. Isn't it the
President's role to bring the competing factions together for the benefit of all
Americans...and not just stand by his own party's side? Aren't all of our elected officials supposed to govern for the benefit of all
Americans...and not just those in their own party? Yet, today, our political leaders must instead share blame for doing just the opposite--for placing their own party's
interests above the overall needs of our nation's citizens.
Today, too, our leaders seem to be putting their own interests ahead of their duties to the nation. Would a true patriot ever
even consider adding to the country's debt burden by taking
luxurious vacations? Can you imagine George Washington, Abraham
Lincoln, or Franklin Delano Roosevelt doing such a thing, especially in times of crisis?
According to the
Huffington Post, the Obama family's trip to Africa will end up
costing around $100 million...all borrowed money. It has to be
borrowed, because nearly every dollar spent on discretionary items
does. Administration spokespersons say the majority of these expenses
are the result of Secret Service efforts to protect the first
family's safety. And the $100 million doesn't even take into account the
millions of additional dollars it cost to fund the recent tour taken by Michelle and the Obama
daughters during the President's
attendance at the G8 Summit. Is this the same administration that
cancelled school children's visits to the White House because of
sequestration cuts to the Secret Service budgets?
The funding of these First Family trips seems no different
to me than a family's use of a credit card to finance additional spending for
luxury items. Except, in this case the family is using our credit
card instead of its own. And it's being done when we can't afford
the additional debt. Can you imagine any way
in which the First Family's trip to Africa can positively address our nation's joblessness,
increasing debt, national security, and entitlement dilemmas?
I do not begrudge our
President the right to take time off to recharge his batteries. And, I
understand how incredibly expensive it is these days to protect a
President's safety. I also understand the need to travel in order to
find solutions for our national challenges. However, this trip to
Africa demonstrates more of an "emperor's mentality" than
that of a patriot. It certainly does not show a hint of the single-minded
determination and perseverance a true patriot would display every
waking hour in attempting to lead his country out of the kind of deep hole in
which our own nation now finds itself.
During ordinary times,
perhaps this behavior would be more acceptable. However, these are
far from ordinary times. Our nation is in deep economic trouble, and
our future is in grave danger. Does President Obama not understand
the terrible signal he is sending to all ordinary Americans? Does he
not understand how many of his fellow citizens are living paycheck to
paycheck, or worse, barely surviving on food stamps and welfare
Is this truly the legacy
he wishes to leave behind?
To those of you who will
say a hundred million dollars is chicken feed in the greater scheme
of things, you may be right. But please remember...it's our chicken
Even President Obama's
most ardent supporters should be disgusted at this overt display of
royal privilege! Does the old story about Nero fiddling while Rome
burned come to mind?
These are my opinions. What do you think?