Years ago, my son who’d yet to reach double-digit candles on his birthday cake, asked me a question that until that moment seemed unfathomable.
“When do you think the United States will no longer be the most powerful or influential nation in the world?”
To me I stood there stunned – probably much like kids must feel when learning the truth about Santa Claus.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
He didn’t justify his question by current event, but sheer logic. Rome didn’t last forever nor did any other of the big players they discussed in his history class. Eventually they all faded or fell.
For someone growing up in the period of men landing on the moon, a thriving economy, and a courageous president telling an evil superpower to ‘tear down this wall’, the concept of the present seemed to expand forward forever.
But my son’s rational shook me to my core. Would the United States be the exception to history or would it follow the well-worn pathway of history?
I guess I say this as I find myself hearing my son’s words coming back to me more often. The nation, who put a man on the moon in under a decade, seems today be losing its mojo. And this, frankly, concerns me greatly.
I believe in the United States and the principles for which it stands. I believe we are a nation of good people looking to do good, not only in our backyard, but also for our neighbors. And I believe, if you ask most Americans, they’ll say the very same.
But America’s role is, in many ways, showing serious fractures both domestically and internationally. Some factors are internal, others external. But regardless, a case could be made the United States’ pool of goodwill equity and leadership ability is beginning to show strains of both economic and political wear and tear.
And I believe the world is a better place with the United States, doing the work of its well-intentioned populace, at the front of the line performing leadership through statesmanship, charity, and when appropriate, militarily. The United States is a special nation, one created by the sweat, blood, and hard work of both man and God.
My political heroes range from Ronald Reagan (R) to Harry S. Truman (D)– leaders who time and time again understood their role and responsibility to keep these principles at the forefront. And they exercised courage of leadership during times of great strife and uncertainty. While many could disagree, no one doubted their convictions.
A quick scan of a week’s headlines ought to give anyone who holds these values a moment or two of pause. And to be fair, this is not the result of one political party over another, but rather a systemic absence of true leadership. This did not occur overnight or with one administration.
But what concerns me today is that without a return to true leadership, America could be relegated to the ‘has-been’ list along with Santa Claus.