Time is expiring for America

Published 11:20 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

As I grow older, I find myself increasingly out of step with American society. People who have read this column probably will agree. I have disparaged Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for their many sins. Yet each appear poised to win their party’s nomination this summer.

The national debt sends shivers down my spine, yet the nation seems unconcerned about doing anything about it.

I have written many times about omissions and errors committed in our nation’s schools. Few people have voiced support for anything I have written, and our schools’ decline continues.

When I watch the Tonight Show or Jimmy Kimmel Live, increasingly I wonder who their guests are and why is the audience clapping when their names are announced. Please find another Johnny Carson!

From popular culture to national security, there is a widening gap between what I was brought up to believe and what most people think today.

So, for one more time, let me assure you all that we are living in the last years of the Pax Americana. Enjoy it while it lasts. Play with your electronic toys. Maybe even smoke something to mellow you for a time. Follow your local sports team and make sure that you know exactly what each player is doing on and off the field because that’s important! Read all about the Kardashians. Apparently, every shopping trip or new twist in their personal lives warrants front page news coverage.

Why is the Pax Americana ending? Our national debt exceeds $19 trillion and rising. Eventually, the government must raise taxes to European levels, devalue the dollar, or default on its debt. In case you think that’s far-fetched, know that Puerto Rico has defaulted, and Illinois is not far behind. Someday before more governments default, politicians will cut funds to our military to pay for government social programs and simply to pay the interest on the debt. That will weaken our military power and embolden Russia, China, and North Korea even more than they already are so our allies must either accommodate them or risk military defeat.

Someday, certainly within 10 years, Iran’s religious leaders will have nuclear weapons to throw at Israel and the United States. If that doesn’t produce nightmares, you don’t sleep.

What should we expect here in the United States? If Trump wins, expect that most politicians who run for office after 2016 to emulate him or even exceed his boorish behavior. No rudeness will be unexpressed. Our bad political behavior hopefully will stop its descent short of violence. Since nobody knows what Trump will actually do, is there any reason to suppose that Trump would sacrifice his interests to further the interests of the United States? Has he sacrificed his interests in the past?

What could happen if Hillary Clinton is elected? What evidence exists that, if an issue arises that pits the interests of the United States against the interests of the Clintons, either Clinton would sacrifice their interests for the welfare of the entire country? Are the Clintons honorable people? Would she tell the truth to the American people?

We are entering the last portion of this election year. Now is the time for Americans to get serious. We must face our serious problems. Some problems are already within our sight. Some are just over the horizon. It’s time to put away our games. It’s time to pay attention to current events. It’s time to learn about the remaining candidates for political office.

Will Americans do that? I doubt it. More people will watch football this fall than will watch the evening news, watch debates or read about the political campaigns. More people will watch crass reality shows than will be aware of how well their schools are performing.

When one of the cataclysms that threaten us actually occurs, what will be the reaction of Americans? Anger? Rage? Americans, including those who didn’t vote, will rush to the centers of power and demonstrate. Then it will be too late. Who really is at fault if we have elected foolish or dishonorable leaders?

I don’t enjoy playing the role of a Jeremiah, but somebody must play it.


Michael Waldron is a retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, who was born and raised in Niles. He previously served on the Niles Community School Board of Education. He can be reached at ml.waldron@sbcglobal.net.