Perhaps it is overly limiting to discuss the present state of our nation, and thus its prospects for the future, without broadening the topic to include all of Western civilization. Nevertheless, for at least the past century as well as a goodly portion of the century before that, America provided the primary defining force of Western culture. So it is no overstatement to assert that life in the free world will live or die based on the direction America takes in the upcoming years.
Corrosive forces are hard at work to ensure that the former power with which this nation moved the rest of the world is diluted and eventually neutralized. Worst of all, many who express outward belief in the worthiness of the American experiment, are nonetheless helping to eradicate its founding philosophies, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they too will fall if it falls.
It is as if they think they can selectively remove the sometimes inconvenient building blocks of the American foundation without ever weakening the overall integrity of that foundation. And if they believe thus, they believe what is not and will never be.
The present, absurd nature of the presidential race, daily exhibiting less and less substance while any real consideration of the issues is increasingly being replaced by a media circus reminiscent of American Idol (but possessing far less genuine talent), did not evolve overnight. Rather it has resulted from an ongoing effort of the mainstream media to shift the focus from a thoughtful consideration of weighty issues (which would leave the Democrats at a disadvantage) to ever more frivolous assessments of prospective candidates.
In the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy debate, the first such event to be broadcast on television, public opinions were swayed by Nixon's appearance of discomfort in front of the cameras, "darkness" of facial features, and five o'clock shadow. Nixon's real qualifications notwithstanding, these were extremely weak reasons to support or oppose a particular candidate.
In the same vein, Hillary's crying episode last week (for those able to recognize its transparency) was no more about bolstering America's standing in the world than it was a genuine outpouring of emotion. Rather, it was only a matter of jumping through whatever hoops was necessary to claim a dubious victory in the New Hampshire primary. In the process, America's greatness was lowered a notch in the eyes of the world. And more of the same is likely to follow.
Furthermore, to listen to the catcalling that has erupted between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama since then, one can only fear for the future of the country if either assumes the reins of power by offering such morally and intellectually vacant ideas. But sadly, they are not alone.
A disturbing number of Republicans now want to celebrate John McCain's decades old ordeal in the Hanoi Hilton by rewarding him with the presidency. But the helm of the mightiest power on earth was never intended as merely some plum to be given as an award to some individual for his personal aggrandizement, regardless of the horrendous nature of suffering or sacrifice he might have endured.
The ponderous process by which presidents were once selected was hardly supposed to be any personal boon to the recipient, but instead represented a gauntlet through which only the most fit candidate could pass. And that assessment was to be based solely on one's worthiness for fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of public office.
Now, polls swing wildly from week to week as a result of a single impressive debate performance, or even a flamboyant episode within a debate. A conflagration of moods and impressions continually ebbs and flows in the public consciousness, suggesting that none of the rising and falling of particular candidates represents any public embrace of a specific political agenda. Such is not the basis on which a country can confidently chart a course for its future. Russian roulette would offer more consistent odds.
Yet some occasional glimmer of ugly truth leaks through all of the cheap political theater the country is forced to endure. Just as all of the Clinton attacks on Obama reveal the longstanding reality of contempt held by the Democrat political machine towards black America, so do conservative panderers, by the stark contrasts between their present posturing and that of their past governing, demonstrate their real regard for conservatives and Christians, in the past, and not incidentally why things have remained so bad for traditional America.
An enormous chasm separates those principled few who have relentlessly sought, with every ounce of strength available to them, to fix deteriorating conditions simply because it was the right thing to do (California Congressman Duncan Hunter's fight for a border fence stands as a rare example), and the obvious rush by many to board the latest political "bandwagon" as a result of its perceived popularity. But despite the cynicism it generates, the latter pattern continues.
For starters, those candidates who have engaged in such embarrassing antics as we have witnessed in the past week should immediately be excluded from serious consideration for such a solemn position as the Presidency of the United States. Then, among those remaining contenders who can at least conduct themselves with the requisite degree of dignity necessary for the job, a thorough examination of their stances on issues is the key to understanding their likely role in America's ensuing success or failure.
These are dangerous times, and this will be a defining election. Much more rides on it than merely deciding who can win a cheesy "reality television" popularity contest.
Copyright ©2008 Christopher G. Adamo