Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the 238th anniversary of our declaration of independence from King George, and the beginning of us as a self-governing nation. Soooo, what’s going on for us to celebrate? Is this a benchmark year, or one we should quietly remember for our past greatness, enjoy the hot dogs, watch the fireworks and move on something else?
I watch the news and social media for signs of the times, and I have to tell you I think back fondly of a time where our politicians saw the best in America and the American people. A time where people sought equality based on merit, and where we shared a coherent vision of what the Nation could be. Perhaps it is part of the aging process, perhaps something else, but for the past 14 to 20 years I’ve seen a move away from the optimism of America to accomplish all things towards a dark and uncertain future where class envy and economic uncertainty distort even the best of intentions. It is unfortunate we accept this with a sense of inevitability.
Let's check where we are in our recovery from the economic collapse of 2007 & 08. In 2000 we had an unemployment rate of around 4.0% out of a workforce of about 141,000,000 men and woman age 16 or older. That meant we had 5,640,000 men and woman who wanted to work, but could not find a job. Today we have an unemployment rate hovering at about 6.45%, down from the 2009 high of 10%. If we assume the workforce has grown to about 161,000,000 (as estimated from bis.gov), we now have about 10,384,500 who are not working. Each time I hear the President talk about the reality that our economy has the fastest pace in job growth in our history, I look at the real numbers and scratch my head. I wonder if those extra 5,000,000 unemployed, and those who are under-employed are happy being part of this fastest pace of job growth reality? Both sides can spin the data, but at the end of the day more people are entering the workforce demographic than we are able to create jobs for.
The democrats and social liberals would have you believe this is the fault of the evil 1% and if we could just tax them to pay for all our benefits it would be okay. If we did that then what jobs would the government create with the money? Would there be more regulators, more bureaucrats, more investigators, or maybe some better IT specialists to keep hard drives from crashing and being thrown out? I know we are downsizing the military to save money to be used somewhere else so it’s probably not more soldiers, sailors, airman or marines.
How about immigration and our border? As bad as we may think things are, millions from around the world still view America as a shining hope. They stream into our country, some through the approved process, millions of others through whatever means they can find. The fact that Congress has taken no action, and the Executive seems to encourage this migration will have unmistakable consequences for the Nation. The President tells us the reality of the situation demands that he take action to allow all to enter. I doubt either side knows what those consequences will be. The left sees new voters who will support their agenda of an all-powerful central government and the right sees a potential explosion in welfare. Both are probably right, but we have had population explosions in the past and we were able to assimilate them into the fabric of America. I wonder what the fabric will look like as Spanish becomes the default second language for our Nation? As job growth stalls, and the economy ebbs how will we deal with these new workers? I suspect they will do the work our young people feel too superior to accomplish and they will become a vital part of our workforce but won’t be counted to reflect the growing disparity in employment opportunity versus need.
How about the reality of free speech? How we doing with that? For the past thirty years, in the name of sensitivity and correctness we have been destroying the English language through misrepresentation and evolutionary meaning. We have reached a point now where naming something after someone or something is bound to solicit public outrage and scorn by some group seeking to find wrong in everything. Let’s take the US Army tradition, starting with the UH-1 helicopter of naming their aircraft after Indian tribes. The sensible approach suggests they do this out of respect for a proud people, but there are those who would twist this and suggest the Army is racist in its humiliation of a beaten enemy. If that were true then why would we name the premiere attack helicopter after the Apache, a people that fought a courageous campaign against overwhelming forces and ultimately succumb to the inevitable war of attrition. Although captured and imprisoned for the last two decades of his life, Geronimo set the model for great warrior chiefs. So what is the reality, I chose to believe a modern Army recognizes the warrior spirit of the Native Americans in its naming convention. The Iroquois, Kiowa, Chinook, Cayuse, Black Hawk and Lakota, all worthy of recognition and honor.
As you approach this holiday, remember the courage our forefathers showed when they led a divided nation away from the safety of England and allowed us to forge our own destiny. Be courageous in your choices.