Where do we go from here?

That’s a fair question when the United States is going through difficult times on so many fronts. How did we let it get this far?

As great as the U.S. is in basic terms of quality of life, natural resources, technology, opportunity, and infrastructure, we have to ask ourselves why we are so angry at each other and why we are losing confidence in our national institutions, and why we see dropping statistics in patriotism and religion. Have we lost our way because so many of the issues we face are not being properly addressed?

Let’s list a few, and start with the elephant in the room, the United States Congress. It is no longer a place of ideas and solutions. It is a political battlefield wasting all their energies in fights over power and majorities, longevity and fundraising, finger pointing and disrespect for the other side, all while ignoring the serious work they choose not to address.

Folks, they are taking us into debt at a rate of a million dollars a minute, with no end in sight. Not one of you reading this will ever live long enough to see this debt repaid, nor will any of your children or grandchildren, who will be burdened with lifetimes of paying not only for the government they want and need, but for ours too. It is easily the most egregious disservice to future, yet unborn Americans that our government has ever placed on our future.

Our southern border has allowed nearly seven million people to illegally enter our country in recent years. Many just want a better life, like the one we enjoy, but many do not. They are coming for free handouts, or money derived from illegally smuggling drugs or people. Why, because the US Congress has refused to take on immigration reform that should be designed for the 21st Century, and the Biden administration for not enforcing the already existing immigration laws.

Racism. Is there racism in the US? Of course, but not nearly to the extent leaders want us to believe. Although no racism is acceptable, neither is using racism as a political wedge to drive us further apart.

Guns. So far, just 244 days into 2023, the US has had 470 mass shootings that are defined as an incident where at least four people are shot or killed. That’s nearly two per day! What is wrong with us?

Why are we losing faith in our justice department, our law enforcement, and our religious beliefs? Are these institutions doing all they can to give us hope and restore their very reason of existence? The answer must be no, or we wouldn’t find us in this state of confusion.

Gender and abortion issues overwhelm the news today. This is one place government can just back off and let the people decide what’s best for them.

How about inflation? In the past two years it is costing the average family over $700 a month more to buy what they did just a couple years ago. Why? Congress spent trillions of dollars we don’t have on things we couldn’t afford or necessarily need. Couple that with high gas and energy prices, which makes everything we do buy more expensive.

How about education? The over-priced cost of higher education and why we are falling behind so many other countries in the level of education. Again, we can’t expect change if we don’t address these issues. Start by examining what those other countries are doing better than us and make some changes.

Our list of things gone astray or ignored could go on and on. Medicare and Social Security going broke. Where is Congress on this? The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Think it should change? How about we put all members of Congress on minimum wage? Think it would change then? I do, on day one of their pay reduction.

This is a lot to think about as we head into the next election. We must make some changes if we are to except change. Start with a president who can rise above the ineffective partisanship and give us a vision and goals we can all unite around. Start with a Congress who can grow out of their childish bullying tactics and take on our serious issues like responsible adults. Start with us, who should appreciate our differences and see that we are all Americans seeking a better country, not only for us but for our children. It’s a huge responsibility to be a democratic republic, but one we have stepped up to in the past and must now do again.

Am I all wet on this? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know at gregawtry@awtry.com .

Note: Greg Awtry is a former publisher of the York News-Times who is now an independent columnist.


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