KLW Commentary – Challenges in 2017
January 18, 2016
A bit more than a year from today a new president will be sworn into office. The task before him or her will be unlike any since Abraham Lincoln’s in 1861.
The new president will likely have just completed the most jarring and contentious campaign in America’s history. Many people of this country will be sullen and bitter toward the style, methods and the result of the national election.
On this canvass of a sorely divided nation a new leader must find a way to govern. That governance, if it is to heal the wounds of division, must not be by mandates and executive action abuses. It must be by finding a consensus. A consensus not by the shabby back room deal making with self-interested political players of the Washington governing class. That desperately needed consensus must be built in the heartland among the American people.
The new president will inherit a larger national debt than any president before. There will be no room for another “feel good” massive stimulus based on even more borrowed money. That well went dry under Barack Obama.
The new Commander in Chief will command the smallest military since before the first world war. That small military also being shop worn and road weary; demoralized by dithering leadership and insufficient maintenance of its fighting qualities for the previous 8-years.
The rising brutality and expanding global footprint of Islamic war makers dedicated to killing or converting the civilized world will confront our new leader. The starting point in creating the needed alliances to extinguish Islamic terror has been set well back by the recent rapid loss of American power and prestige. In addition, the major powers in Europe, our allies in the past 60 years, have become weaker as sizeable Muslim populations disrupt their national cohesion and ancient identity as European nations. European leader’s struggles against Islam are now internal and will likely limit any courageous actions as America’s partners beyond their own borders.
Those Mideast nations and kingdoms which for decades, however reluctantly, provided financial support, formal alliances or secret cooperation behind the scenes now have their own agendas; independent of American policy. This loss of support is the end result of President Obama’s enabling Iran’s rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons. Those opponents of Iran in the Mideast are now seeking their own security balance. Our interests and our interest in destroying militant Islam may not be part of the agenda’s of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt and the others.
In Asia China has grown dominant. Wisely it tolerated western money and know how as it first built a huge industrial base. Now the fruits of that economic power can be used to build a military to intimidate the rest of Asia and challenge America.
Central and South America are caught in turmoil. The illicit drug cartels destroy the fabric of central American countries. This sets floods of migrants on a journey to the Rio Grande. The declining economies in South America will lead to public disorder and financial busts. Time has proven those problems ultimately reach into our own economy.
Here we haven’t created enough jobs for more than 8-years. Our own prospects for prosperity are at risk. Wall Street has been shocked recently. There is a real possibility of America sinking into recession again after never really and fully recovering from the last. All this awaits the new president in 2017.
The greatest problem of all is the lack of trust in our leaders and institutions; maybe even the American way of life. The loss of America’s eternal optimism strikes at the vitals of our national character. American optimism is that unmeasured force that kept Americans focused on owning a better tomorrow by enduring short-term setbacks today.
The new president must move boldly and with sure steps. Those steps must help the nation not a party not a demographic not a select group. Those steps must help the nation; all of us.
If there is a lack of trust in our institutions then the new president must show that he can be trusted. Give your word. Keep your word. In small things as in great.
Take responsibility for good and bad. Don’t simply announce your successes. Announce your failures too. A responsible president can face misfortune and acknowledge setbacks and still increase his stature and trust with the people.
Finally, let the people know the clouds are lifting and better days await. Ask the people to join you. There is a great country that needs to be rebuilt. There is more than enough work to share and renewed prosperity to enjoy. Our nation is not built on bricks and mortar. It is built on an idea. That idea is that each man lives unrestricted and unrestrained to pursue his own path in freedom. When an entire nation begins to move on that path, as before, American optimism will return to its rightful place. Then again, the common man will create an uncommon life in a nation new, fresh and restored. A nation so unique in mankind’s history that it and only it can be called the United States of America.
I’m Kevin Wade and that’s the way I see it.
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