In a political column, it tends to be hard not to be political. Within these words lies the sentiment to do what is right. Not simply to drum it up or to debate it, but to do it. No one entity should be about being something; they must be about doing something. That said, it simply isn’t good enough to be the United States of America. It never has been and never will be.
Watching Jon Stewart religiously, as every American college student ought to, this statement might seem clearer; the United States of America is the name of a country. The country has a history. The country’s history is built upon action. Albeit in most instances pre-Vietnam we sat hesitant while watching the theatre of war, that’s not the point. The point is that as soon as we stepped onto that bloody stage, we were swift and decisive.
On the home front, women and blacks broke social norms as the boys fought for freedom abroad. The tradition of “what was” simply didn’t matter because, at the time, what was true in the now spurred rationality. More importantly, the American people and their government equally understood the breadth of the tenets of the mission home and abroad. The common understanding bore deep enough that even liberty herself knew no other truth. So then the government adhered to those tenets. Officials leaned on principle.
The nation saw a glimpse of this great American tradition in 2001. Thirteen years later, calling it a “glimpse” might be an overstatement. Perhaps a speck, or even a speck within a speck once you consider the worst Congress in history, the cost of the war, the recession and, yeah, the rejection of the veterans’ jobs act, too. But let's not get into that.
The point is that with so much disunity on Capitol Hill, at least the White House might make an effort to be unified around the world. As of late, the Obama administration has done better in this effort by standing up to Russian aggression by enacting economic sanctions and massaging the European Union to do the same. Equally, Obama has ruled out cooperating with Syria and President al-Assad against ISIS.
Speaking of ISIS, the airstrikes, otherwise known as America’s patented response to terrorism, have been a pleasant response. But the region is so unstable that airstrikes can’t do the job. They might shake up the ground and make it even more unstable. Or, maybe it doesn’t work that way. Who knows?
It does work to turn our attention home. Perhaps address the racial tension within these borders. The heart of the nation beats strenuously on that subject now. Meanwhile, a balanced budget is a distant memory of the Clinton era. Of course, it doesn’t help that Congress has an abysmal approval rating of just 13 percent.
That’s only the tip of a laundry list of issues. Really, something is just missing. Maybe common sense is what it is. It can’t be national pride or lack of commitment? Common sense is the only logical explanation. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can easily force upon an elected official. We can still hope though, right, Barack?