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42 Years in America

Post # 204, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

My long time friend and former Associated Press Bureau Chief in Tallahassee, David Powell recently pointed out in Facebook, a piece written by New York Times Columnist David Brooks about our country today. Brooks wrote the deeply important assessment of our strengths and weaknesses within America for the Atlantic Magazine. Here is perhaps the most disturbing part of the Conservative's writing:

In 1980, the core problem of the age was statism, in the form of communism abroad and sclerotic, dynamism-sapping bureaucracies at home. In 2021, the core threat is social decay. The danger we should be most concerned with lies in family and community breakdown, which leaves teenagers adrift and depressed, adults addicted and isolated. It lies in poisonous levels of social distrust, in deepening economic and persisting racial disparities that undermine the very goodness of America—in political tribalism that makes government impossible.

As a long time member of the Republican Party, Brooks is quick to point to the poisonous influence of former President Donald Trump, which is at least some of the cause of decay. But he also points to the creeping erosion of conservative principles by Presidents Clinton, Bush II, and Obama over the roughly 50 years. Brooks appears to have given up on the current leaders of the GOP, because there is no apparent independent thought and integrity among them, except for now obscure members of Congress like Liz Chaney and retiring Adam Kinzinger. The recent passing of Senator Bob Dole, a giant in the Republican Party, only underscored how apparent the loss of conservative leadership in the grand old party and the country today.

Brooks said he is now most comfortable as a Moderate in the Democratic Party--favoring integration and at the same time, entrepreneurship for minorities, as the missing engine out to work our way out of our malaise. A renewed sense of Country is necessary to clearly identify the needs across all sectors of our communities, and lay out solutions. But Brooks emphasizes that the solutions need to be carried out at the local level, by the locals. This appears to be the main difference between the liberal like Barack Obama and Brooks. Obama says the problems are not isolated but everywhere. If they are not there, fine there does not have to be changes.

Brooks says our country is based on freedoms, and there are many more than we know in place and at the local level. We should try to take the needs up case by case, and if Federal laws are needed, fine. But we should try less, not more regulation from on high for a free and capitalistic economy to thrive.

There will be champions of this effort, and there will be enemies. Both should be identified in a fair, legal and transparent process run by the people, governing themselves.

Many Americans talk about when our Country comes back. Maybe this is the start.


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