In 1962, President John F. Kennedy spoke these famous words in a speech at Rice University, asking Americans to reach for the stars – literally. The president spoke to the American pioneer spirit, the never-say-die attitude that had seen the nation through numerous conflicts, two world wars, and the depression.
Now, six decades later, America has degenerated into the exact opposite of what Kennedy envisioned, the pioneer spirit replaced with helplessness in the face of a steadily-expanding government.
Politicians no longer appeal to that American pioneer spirit. They appeal to the desire for handouts. Joe Biden ran on the golden promises of forgiving student loans and codifying abortion, effectively offering Americans a constitutional escape hatch for irresponsible financial decisions and sexual promiscuity.
Bernie Sanders embraced the same promises, while also calling for free college and universal healthcare. Andrew Yang has run on the promise of universal basic income, another entitlement that has failed everywhere it has been tried.
Now, one might think that this is a problem with America’s political class, particularly in the Democratic party. But American voters on both sides need to look in the mirror: In a democracy, elected officials are just a reflection of their constituents.
What the mirror shows ain’t pretty – and we see it not just in Washington’s turn towards nanny state policies, but in the attitudes of Americans themselves. In a nutshell, Americans increasingly expect the government to solve all their problems or give them permission to do so.
Take the COVID-19 hysteria for instance. Governors on both sides locked down their states and, for the most part, people let them do it with virtually no meaningful resistance. We waited for government permission to see our relatives and demanded a vaccine from the government and big pharma. Calls for emphasis on good health choices such as eating well, exercising, or spending time outside were shut down. None of this was surprising from a population that is nearly 70% overweight or obese.
In effect, the American electorate has become a divided mob with no direction or purpose other than the desire for safety, security, and effortless prosperity. Such a mob is capable of violence, but perhaps is even more dangerous because of its gullibility. Mobs are the plaything of totalitarians who cater to the mob’s decadent whims.
Took a student loan out and can’t repay it? Vote for the guy who will pass the costs on to those who did it the right way. Vulnerable to COVID or in poor health due to life choices? The government will lock everyone else in their homes and give you free constitutionally-mandated healthcare – on the dime of those healthy enough to work of course. Just make sure to vote the right way. See injustice? Riot and loot, the politicians will bail you out. Mass shooting? Why look for neighborhood solutions (such as armed citizens) when you can just blame the gun?
But “free” stuff comes at a cost. Obviously, it’s paid for with higher taxes and a greater national debt, but there is also the loss of liberties as the government, in return for providing “safety,” expects something in return. And this is exactly what the mobocracy marching us towards communism will get. Just ask city-dwellers who can’t defend themselves against criminals because they outsourced that duty to progressive DAs who ignore crime and police who are not legally required to protect them.
Thus, instead of solely blaming Washington, Americans must realize that the D.C. security state, corrupt special interests, and politicians are just a reflection of ourselves and our unwillingness to oppose the behemoth and forge our own destiny. It’s true that we did not vote for our own disenfranchisement and to have our liberties curtailed – at least not willingly. But being free requires vigilance – most importantly of one’s own government. And when we stopped being vigilant, politicians, corporations, and unelected bureaucrats simply stepped in to do We the People’s job of taking care of ourselves. And they are more than happy to oblige – on their terms, of course.
So don’t take the 2022 midterms as a victory or defeat of Democrats or Republicans. Take it as a diagnosis of a sick, decadent nation that has placed its faith in scoundrels rather than in itself. Then take a look in the mirror instead and you just might find out where it all went wrong.