What has happened to the idea that is America? When did history’s greatest experiment in freedom and opportunity begin to unravel? Did we celebrate the 50th anniversary of that event just last May?
Growing up in a small town in the 1950s was all about community. If government was discussed at all, it was about war and peace. We had been in two recent wars and elected a general to lead us.
Dr. James Nakamura was our beloved physician in Deer River, Minnesota. He drove a new Thunderbird.
Dr. Jim had file drawers of records on patients he treated for free. He viewed it as his community responsibility. He often said, “Pay me when you can.” It was not uncommon for that to be a chicken or a ham.
President Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory over Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964 gave Johnson immense political capital and he spent it.
On Nov. 4, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater for president in a landslide in 1964, 486-52. Johnson used his political capital to create the Great Society. (AP Photo/File)
The Great Society, which turned 50 years old last May 22, replaced community responsibility with the War on Poverty.
Those who were struggling would be cared for and the elderly and poor would get their health care provided by a beneficent and generous government.
The world changed that day.
Doctors, whose taxes paid for the Great Society, no longer treated patients for free. They billed the government.
Those who had seldom seen a doctor decided to go more often. We never spend other people’s money as carefully as we spend our own.
As costs exploded, Congress acted to control them. Insurance companies followed suit with private patients, and soon bureaucrats were making our medical decisions.
People whose ideas fail seldom admit to failure. They generally conclude that they need to do more.
Ultimately, more and more became Obamacare.
The poor got attention, but the money went to corporate America. Agribusiness has a firm grip on all government nutrition programs from school lunches to food stamps and WIC.
Other industries watched in awe and began to lobby for more government, too. They became natural allies with Democrats who also worshipped at the altar of Big Government. Crony capitalism was the result.
Presidents who followed Johnson decided that using the government to do good things was a neat idea.
Nixon gave us the EPA and food stamps. George H.W. Bush gave us the Americans with Disabilities Act. Clinton gave us the Crime Bill and Motor Voter. George W. Bush expanded Medicare with a drug entitlement, and Obama put all of the above on steroids.
As big business got our money, politicians and bureaucrats got our choices.
Some medical procedures are approved. Others not.
Some foods can be bought with food stamps. Others not.
Your cattle may drink from streams on your farm but may not urinate in them. (You and I get that. Try explaining it to the cattle.)
Even our light bulbs were determined by an act of Congress.
Government and business became so deeply intertwined that it was just a matter of time before politicians stepped up to fix bad business decisions with your money and corporate bailouts became a presidential indulgence.
Former Rep. John Linder says that government believes it can run people's lives better than individuals can. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Should be changed to read; As our personal and business decisions became subject to politics so did our lives. Everything we say or do is viewed through a political prism.
Those who use political power to improve our lives expect us to behave, so they bully us to be politically correct.
This week a lady said she was suspicious of the behavior of the San Bernardino terrorists but didn’t report it because she didn’t want to be accused of racial profiling.
Even issues of war and peace are driven by politics.
War has been declared on us, but we refuse to engage because it doesn’t fit the political narrative.
The saddest fact in all of this is that it could have been prevented. We know how to stop this.
These are not complicated decisions. They are made complicated by politicians calculating the political implications of every move in a desperate attempt to hold on to political power.
If we replaced those in political power today with a few thousand Americans selected at random from across the country, this would all end.
The government must be removed from everything in our lives that we can do for ourselves.
For those who simply cannot take care of themselves, their neighbors will. That worked for a few centuries before the Great Society took over.
Health care decisions must be returned to you and your doctor. Yes, even Medicare and Medicaid can be delivered by the marketplace. For veterans, we’ll pay the medical bills.
Education decisions should be returned to the county school superintendents. They did just fine until 1964.
If someone shouting Allahu Akbar kills an American, it must be recognized for what it is — an act of war by radical Islam.
We may cause some temporary damage to the environment in the desert, but we are capable of annihilating the Islamic State in a few weeks.
Iran should be told, in no uncertain terms, that we will no longer tolerate their funding of terror against Israel. They might be reminded that while they are trying to build nuclear weapons we already have them.
Vladimir Putin should be told, “You know what we are capable of. Go home.”
We are sick and tired of being lectured to about diversity. We don’t need or want any more “stuff.”
America is not a great nation because of the Great Society. We are a great nation because in America ordinary people do extraordinary things.
The political leader who understands this will commit to get government out of our way. We will put things right once again.
Whoever does understand this will find a huge reservoir of good will and support. Let us see who tries.
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