Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nation Building Right Here at Home

Friedman has nailed the truth to the wall and challenged America to respond to it!
by Charlie Leck

Sometimes the best I can do with a blog is to send you elsewhere. That's what I'm going to do today. The topic is nation building, right here in the good, old U.S. of A. We have a nation crying for investment and we are spending trillions in and on Iraq. There's no doubt we have some major responsibilities in Iraq after our criminal invasion of that nation; however, it is time we look hard at our own nation and see that it needs to be made whole again. It will require sacrifice, but I think the American people are ready for it.

Here's an observation from Tom Friedman in his latest column:

"…People want to do nation-building. They really do. But they want to do nation-building in America.

"They are not only tired of nation-building in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with so little to show for it. They sense something deeper — that we're just not that strong anymore. We're borrowing money to shore up our banks from city-states called Dubai and Singapore. Our generals regularly tell us that Iran is subverting our efforts in Iraq, but they do nothing about it because we have no leverage — as long as our forces are pinned down in Baghdad and our economy is pinned to Middle East oil.

"…We are not as powerful as we used to be because over the past three decades, the Asian values of our parents' generation — work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means — have given way to subprime values: 'You can have the American dream — a house — with no money down and no payments for two years.'

"…That's why Donald Rumsfeld's infamous defense of why he did not originally send more troops to Iraq is the mantra of our times: 'You go to war with the army you have.' Hey, you march into the future with the country you have — not the one that you need, not the one you want, not the best you could have."

I have some liberal acquaintances who think Friedman is wishy-washy and far too popular for their tastes. I think he's a brilliant observer and generally gets things spot-on. I really want you to read this column and, if you're smart, makes sure your Senators and Representatives read it too. I've already asked my U.S. Senators to read it.

Folks, there's no ignoring it! We must bite the bullet. It is time to rebuild America – bottom up; that is, our waste-water systems, a restoration of our water tables, reconstruction of our bridges and highways, developing alternative systems of convenient and efficient long distance transportation, modernizing and improving our educational systems from K through graduate schools and in both the arts and sciences, and making our health delivery systems more efficient and affordable to all people.

Now, don't let anyone call it wasteful liberal spending! It's not spending. It's investing in our nation and its future. Do and the economy will get on a roll again.

I am one patriotic, old geezer and I want to be able to say this one more time before I die: "Ain't America great?"

Please, please, go read Tom Friedman's column. As in the statement below, he has nailed the truth to wall and challenged America to respond to it.

"Sorry, we don't need a president who is tough enough to withstand the lies of his opponents. We need a president who is tough enough to tell the truth to the American people. Any one of the candidates can answer the Red Phone at 3 a.m. in the White House bedroom. I'm voting for the one who can talk straight to the American people on national TV — at 8 p.m. — from the White House East Room.

"Who will tell the people? We are not who we think we are. We are living on borrowed time and borrowed dimes. We still have all the potential for greatness, but only if we get back to work on our country."

And his final paragraph just makes me pop by buttons with pride because it deals with what our youngest is so involved in for the next few years of her life. John Kennedy's great question needs to be asked again by each of us: What can we do for our country?

"Look at the kids lining up to join Teach for America. They want our country to matter again. They want it to be about building wealth and dignity — big profits and big purposes. When we just do one, we are less than the sum of our parts. When we do both, said Shriver, 'no one can touch us.'"

I've decided, after receiving communications from two of my kids, reminding me of it, to add Margaret Mead's extraordinary words.

"Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead

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