America’s problems today can easily be diagnosed. It is the treatment that is hard to take.
My diagnosis of our numerous national problems
stems from our “momentarianism.” So, what makes an American a momentarian?
A momentarian is a person that lives in the present at the expense of the future. They are consumed with the here and now and have little or no regard for their future — or the future of their children.
Being a momentarian is not necessarily the fault of the person though. Many Americans are fixated by the present because their circumstances demand it.
Today, it is so difficult for millions of families in America to make ends meet, that they cannot be bothered with the future.
With unemployment still hovering at 9 percent, gas prices rising, home foreclosures soaring, wars raging and inflation raising its ugly head on consumer products and food, is it any wonder that Americans are not concerned with the future?
In the most recent polling by Rasmussen, Americans were asked if the United States is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction.
Americans responded as follows: Right Direction: 26.8 percent; Wrong Direction: 64.6 percent.
How does this number break out among party affiliation? Confidence that the country is moving in the right direction is at 40 percent among Democrats while only 8 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of those without an affiliation would agree.
What this poll tells us is that regardless of party affiliation an overwhelming majority of Americans are worried about the future. This makes them more likely than not to ignore it.
Great societies are perpetuated when they provide not only for the moment, but plan for the future. Therefore, America can never allow herself to surrender to momentarianism.
Now is the time for all Americans to rediscover a sense of duty and purpose for their sake and our nation's future. While we face many difficult challenges ahead, there is no challenge we cannot meet and overcome if we put our collective minds and hands to it.
America is parched. We thirst for leadership that will understand the challenges that face us and take them on with the sole purpose of accomplishment.
Our nation faces tough problems, including high unemployment, energy challenges and dependence, national security threats, immigration, governments spending, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — not to mention businesses that lack confidence.
Many of our woes are self-inflicted: Over-extending family budgets, skyrocketing personal debt, failure to plan for our energy needs has made us irresponsible. It's too easy to blame government for all of our ills. Many of the challenges we face are a direct result of our momentarianism.
Today, America is in search of leaders, people who will work in good faith for the greater good and lead us with the same sense of vision, hope, and optimism exhibited by Presidents Reagan and Kennedy.
In the early 1960s President Kennedy declared that America would have a man on the moon by the close of the decade. At the time he made that statement we did not have the technology possible to achieve such an unthinkable goal. Many scoffed, but many more were inspired.
Our nation was put to the test. Government was incentivized and business delivered. The consequences: far reaching: Look at how many of the products we use today were developed out of that effort.
Even though Kennedy was not alive to see his vision become reality, he still gets the credit for having achieved it. Kennedy was a visionary not a momentarian.
President Reagan was an eternal optimist who preached that America’s greatest days were ahead of her when he said the following in his first inaugural address:
“Can we solve the problems confronting us? Well, the answer is an unequivocal and emphatic ‘yes.’ To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy.”
President Reagan went on to state, “Well, I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children and our children's children.”
Our leaders today must possess that same vision, hope, and optimism of Kennedy and Reagan.
We want to be led. We want to be inspired. We want to be hopeful. We want to be challenged. Our elected officials must seek bold accomplishments — not just for their time in office, but for future generations of Americans.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, NV, recently qualified as a momentarian for his comments with regard to fixing Social Security:
"Two decades from now, I'm willing to take a look at it . . . but I'm not willing to take a look at it right now."
In contrast, Rep. Paul Ryan, R, WI, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, qualified as a statesman when he unveiled his “Road map for America’s future” with these remarks:
“It is not too late to take control of our fiscal and economic future. But the longer we wait, the bigger the problem becomes and the more difficult our options for solving it,” he said. “The Road Map promotes our national prosperity by limiting government's burden of spending, mandates and regulation. It ensures the opportunity for individuals to fulfill their human potential and enjoy the satisfaction of their own achievements — and it secures the distinctly American legacy of leaving the next generation better off.”
Our immediate and long-term future requires our attention and action. If we are content with living for the moment then we have to resign ourselves to the fact that the best days of our country are to be found in history books.
A call to action is what is needed. That call must come from leaders with the experience, vision, and determination to get things done without regard for political and personal cost. It is easy to be a politician, but hard to be a statesman.
I submit that no great challenge is without hardship and no truly great leader was appreciated in his or her time.
It is only after the passage of time that greatness can be truly identified because greatness does not lie in the moment.
The bounty of the reward will be worth the hardship endured.
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