I was young when I first heard “what goes around comes around,” and I have no memory of who said it. But it stuck in my mind.
After the last four years of economic disaster, Americans are rubbing the election sleep from their eyes, and the beginning of the next four years is taking place in the hallowed halls of Congress and the White House. With the stalemate of the last four years, it is not a comforting thought that most of the same people are going to attempt some resolution to problems that have heretofore been well beyond them.
America, tottering on the edge of insolvency, has been moving toward a perilous time. Nothing in our history prepares us for what lies ahead. With the stark and frightful awareness of the next four years of uncertainty, a look back might be an illumination of how we reached this point. If, in doing so, there is any hope of altering the continued slide toward genuine diminishment, it lies with two possible options: a) a renewed political effort to realize our dilemma or, b) an intervention by God.
Those of us who remember the “cold war” and the tensions between Russia and America also will remember Nikita Khrushchev, the portly, direct, and polarizing leader of Russia. His antics, as a member of the United Nations, were recorded and duly noted. He had little respect for Americans and our leaders.
One of his memorable quotes, and one that was immediately dismissed as “blarney” or “hot air,” was; “We will bury you, of course, not with a shovel, your own working class will bury you.” It was a strange attempt to attach logic with threat, but his words strike an unsettling aura in the 21st century as we recognize that millions of American workers are the recipients of a two-year hiatus from work, and the nation is beginning to sag beneath the weight of financial demand that is not designed to return anything to those who struggle with “fair share” taxes. Mr. Khrushchev could not have known it at the time of his bluster, nor did we, but the effect of his prophetic warning is no longer absurd.
Another echo of this socialistic disciple resounds across America and has become the present tense example of words spoken decades ago. He said, “The press is our own chief ideological weapon.” Depending upon one’s evaluation of what is printed in our papers and spoken in the televised newscasts, this is either true, or not, but one cannot ignore the fact that journalists have become “opinion editors,” and the presentation of facts, data and dates is ignored as readers and observers are often left with slanted versions of the ideological presentations of those who should have learned better.
In our present striving for economic growth, job creation, new ideas, new ventures of capital, and the vexing medusa-headed taxation quandaries, growing and expanding “control” legislation, and a lack of interest in business expansion, the words of this truly devoted opponent of democracy and American exceptionalism explode like thunder: “Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder.”
Incentives, today, are not viable temptations to business enterprise or individual quest for excellence. We are caught in the web of political pandering and the attempted usurpation of those things that made this country an exceptional leader. When a socialistic devotee of governmental control, demanding the loyalty of all citizens while also taking freedom of choice from them, declares publicly that incentive is the backbone of creating jobs, we are chilled to the bone.
How have we allowed freedom to ooze from America? How have we watched those in elected positions take more and more of our presumed “rights” without replacing them? Why do we continue to place our faith in those who declare openly that what made America great is no longer acceptable?
The next four years seem scary. To walk on the edge of a precipitous “free fall” into the space of Mr. Khrushchev’s prediction, and not lose our national balance, brings us back to the two options. The former has little to recommend it and the latter has become the growing target of neglect and exclusion. If we are to survive, the next four years will become the hurdle over which we must leap.
Edward Clark is a Danville businessman and community columnist for The Advocate.