Not long ago, elections were won and lost by a simple question; are you better off than you were 4 years ago? Jimmy Carter lost in 1980 due to a bad economy, inflation, high oil prices, the hostage crisis, and no clear answers or a vision of how to proceed. It ushered in the Regan era and a reset to hope, pride in America, and a new prosperity.
The last 23 years have been difficult for America. It started with an uninspiring president, an attack on our country, a significant loss of liberties, and yet more wars. The next eight years continued the decline. With Obama’s election, many hoped the historical battle for equal rights was won and we would move forward in a new unity. Unfortunately, rather than celebrating, our country is being torn apart by those who see inequality in every perceived difference of individuals. Many are engaging in what they call the destruction and rebuilding of America. We had a brief reprieve during the Trump presidency which, prior to Covid, looked like another Reagan reset for America but that was not to be.
We now may have the most dishonest and inept administration in our country’s history. We have runaway spending, a debt crisis, inflation, open borders and a resulting immigration crisis, pandemics, forced vaccinations, divisions in race and sexuality, a multi-tiered justice system, almost continuous political show trials, and culture wars being fought in our schools pitting parents against government overreach. Polling has indicated an almost continuous decline in those who think our country is heading in the right direction. Life expectancy is falling, young people are dropping dead and we are putting defibrillators in schools, measured IQ has had its first ever annual decline, crime and drug deaths are on the rise, and more people are struggling just to survive. The American dream is dying for many.
Raising the debt limit, partial birth abortion, and more rights tailored to every individual will not fix our problem. If we wish to change direction, we need to put new people in charge. Are you better off today?
By Joe Grant, Wiscasset
The following is adapted from a talk delivered on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner on June 30, 2023, during a Hillsdale College educational cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Hillsdale is often called a conservative college, and in an important sense it is, although it is not a label we regard as fundamental. The word “conservative”