How about a list?! My 100th post will be a list of the top issues important to me, and my two cents on each. If you would be so kind as to indulge me:
1. Christians are not adequately represented by either major party.
- I know...I know. Let's just jump right out of the gate with this one, but it's true. History shows both parties have a steep tradition in Christian roots with Catholics traditionally aligning with Democrats and Evangelical Protestants with Republicans. But there's a twist. White Catholics have slowly migrated to the Republican party while Latinos remain mostly Catholic and mostly Democrats (see Pew Research here). The same split can be seen among Protestants with Mainline Protestants overwhelmingly Democrats and Evangelicals voting Republican. When all is said and done...it becomes a wash for both sides. So who best represents Christian principles in politics? Republicans openly tried to distance the party from Evangelical Christians in the last election, and the Democrats are so married to liberal philosophy that the mere mention of religion and politics in the same sentence somehow triggers alarms at ACLU headquarters and automatically releases the hounds.
- May God forgive me for what I'm about to say because I truly understand God is bigger than any political party or any single nation. There is an unavoidable fracture about to happen in either or both parties in the near future. The two-party system is tired...fought many hard battles...but still tired. Those of us committed to Christian principles better take our heads out of the sand and pay attention. The 'de-Christianing' of our country only really started less than 50 years ago. In God We Trust became our National Motto by Act of Congress in 1956. Can you imagine that debate just 53 years later? Minority religions are both encouraged and protected by the mainstream, yet the cry of 'separation of church and state' can be heard by secularist at the first hint of a Holy Bible being present in a public forum.
- Christians need a political party that puts our Christian principles first.
- (sound of crickets)
- There. I said it. I'm not advocating for a 'Christian only' nation, so don't try to misrepresent what I'm saying. I firmly believe in and support the constitutional principle of Freedom of Religion. But, Christians need a voice in government on issues not lumped in with other irrelevant/contradicting party platform issues before we're legislated out of any influence whatsoever within our own country.
- Is that a way to start a list or what!
2. The Nation's debt is out of control.
Do I really need to elaborate here? Our current budget balance as a percentage of GDP is -13.2%. Only Great Britain is higher at -13.9%, and we're the only countries among the world's 50 largest in double digits. We are bankrupting our country in an effort to have it all now. Balance the budget today...period.
3. The health care system in our country needs reform.
A polarized issue that has been mutated in the political quagmire of Washington while insurance companies, HMO's and certain segments of the health care field rake in the cash hand over fist. Greed will eventually bring down our health care system like it did our financial institutions recently. Do we really want to wait around for that to happen? It's not a Democrat or Republican issue to champion...it's an American issue. Fix it!
4. The tax system is long overdue an overhaul.
Our current tax code is so complicated that a computer program written specifically to determine a person's tax liability (read TurboTax) is only accurate 94% of the time. The major reason for error...putting in the wrong information. I'm sure that 6% were very elated at the penalties and interest tacked on by the IRS for their mistake. Makes you wonder just how accurate the IRS really is. We need a much more fair and simpler code.
I'll expect an audit notice soon.
5. The U.S. can't adequately fight another war.
If we are provoked into a fight with North Korea, Iran or both, our current military structure and manpower levels will be unable to effectively fight and maintain ongoing campaigns. Such a scenario would leave the U.S. completely vulnerable to an attack by another country lurking in the wings waiting to topple the big dog on the block (read Russia).
Who will jump to align with us this time? For some reason, I see Europe sitting this scenario on the sidelines. Expect a draft and don't cry about it. Our fathers went through it, their fathers endured it...freedom comes with a price... as the cliche goes.
6. Term limits for Congress are an absolute must.
How many problems would this one fix right off the bat? Professional politicians are great at taking care of one group...themselves. Tocqueville was completely sold on the concept of the amateur politician in America as opposed to the life-long types in Europe (Democracy in America). Why did we turn from this?
Give both houses an 8 year limit. That's plenty of time to foul things up.
7. Our communities must find a way to better engage our young people.
I've written a number of post on this matter and still hold firm to the view that teenagers and young adults are underutilized today. The trend has slowly increased to the point complete apathy in youth people seems concrete. Community organizations, churches, local governments must find ways...creative ways...to get the younger generations involved. Not doing so will most certainly have negative, long-term consequences on our position in the world as an economic and military power.
Also, setting low expectations for our young people will only result ultimately in their achievement of low performance.
8. The media should be held more accountable for what it says/prints.
Freedom of the press does not constitute freedom to irresponsibly act. Most people distrust and are completely fed up with our infotainment style of journalism today. Want it to change? Stop buying newspapers, listening to talk radio, and watching news programs. See how fast things change. If you expect the media to suddenly change out of a collective conscience awakening to do the right thing...you're probably still washing clothes by beating them on a rock (dirty laundry pun intended).
We've got to break from the doomsday mentality the media has created in an effort to sell advertising. Oh...I'm sorry...you didn't realize that's what it's all about? Forget journalistic integrity. Every one is wanting a piece of your budget pie. Shocking headlines get attention. Attention draws more viewers. More viewers mean more ad revenues. Always follow the money...you have more control than you realize.
So, there's my list. I can't adequately express the blessing it has been to come in contact with so many great people through this little, insignificant blog. Even the comments and emails of belligerent opposition have affected me in a profound way. Thank you for reading Tony C Today. If nothing else...I hope you've laughed a little and pondered a bit.