The Decline of American Exceptionalism is Not Inevitable

In one of the most iconic and powerful political ads in America history, Americans were reminded that, under the leadership of Ronald Wilson Reagan, it was once again “Morning in America”. Having suffered through the decline of America’s economic, military, and political exceptionalism under the feckless Jimmy Carter, confidence in America’s future was being restored.

Under Reagan, the ad proclaimed, “Today, more men and women will go to work than at any time in our country’s history…nearly 2000 families will today buy new homes, more than at any time in four years…Under the leadership of President Reagan, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were just four short years ago?” It was a powerful message that resonated with the American people, and Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, taking 59% of the popular vote and 49 of the 50 states, losing only Minnesota (Mondale did not even get a majority in that state, winning 49.72% to 49.4%).

I was a boy of just eight years old when Reagan was first elected. Though I was too young to understand the intricacies and minutiae of the political debates, I remember sitting in front of our old Zenith black-and-white TV and being mesmerized by Reagan, whose cheerful demeanor and unquenchable optimism was inspiring after four years of Carter malaise, where we were told that we would have to accept a declining American economy and the spread of communism. Reagan made me proud to be an American, and I believed him when he said that America had a brighter future ahead, and that we did not have to settle for what America had become.

Today, under the “leadership” of Obama, America is once again in decline. Even the media, a stalwart defender and protector of the Obama administration, can no longer convince Americans that we are better off under Obama. After four and a half years of life under King Barry, there are nearly ten million less people in the work force than the day he became president, and more than three-quarters of all jobs created in the last year have been part-time jobs.

Under Obama, the average household is earning 4.4% less money than they made after the Great Recession officially ended. New home sales dropped 13.4% last month, despite more homes for sale on the market. Obamacare, his signature legislative achievement, is directly responsible for suppressing job growth, and this week Delta Airlines, UPS, and the University of Virginia became just the latest in a long line of companies and institutions dropping health care coverage for employees and/or family members due to the rising costs of the horrible law.

And it’s not just the economy that is suffering under Obama. More concerning is the loss of rights under Obama due to his exercise of tyrannical power in violation of his oath of office. We have been treated to a steady diet of these violations in recent months: Spying on members of the press, using the IRS to bully and harass political enemies, using the NSA to collect massive amounts of data (including actual content) on the emails, phone calls, texts, web searches, and virtually every other form of digital communication of all Americans. Once busted, Obama actually defends the practice. His administration is even now arguing in court that law enforcement has the right to search the content of the data on your phone upon arrest.

Globally, America has been a laughingstock; literally mocked by our enemies, and distrusted by our friends. Obama’s actions in the Middle East are particularly disjointed and confusing. He watched as pro-democracy Iranians were slaughtered in the streets by their government, and barely said a word. He drew a “red line” with Syria regarding the use of chemical weapons, and then did nothing when chemical weapons were used. His “leadership” regarding the chaos and turmoil in Egypt has been tragically comical.

It is with no small amount of irony that we observe that it is the so-called Millennials, or Generation Y (generally considered those in their mid-to-late twenties), who were among Obama’s biggest supporters, that are now suffering the most. Graduating college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt into an economy that has high unemployment and is creating mostly low-paying, part-time jobs is certainly not what they hoped for. Nor is the reality that because of ObamaCare, their health insurance costs are skyrocketing as they are being forced to subsidize the health care costs of older, wealthier, less healthy Americans.

The “official” unemployment rate for Millenials is approaching 14%, and doesn’t include those who have simply stopped trying to find work. The number of Millenials who’ve had to move back in with their parents has also been on the rise, and on top of all of this, this generation and the ones behind it are inheriting a $16 TRILLION and rising national debt, which will have to be dealt with in the form of higher taxes, reduce services and benefits, or a combination of both.

This is a bleak and demoralizing future for all Americans, but especially for the younger generations. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

America is in decline because Americans have largely abandoned the birthright bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers and previous generations. America was established as a nation governed by the rule of law, not ruled over by tyrants and despots. In America, each citizen was sovereign, his or her own master, and government was the servant. Like Esau, Americans sold our birthright of freedom for a mess of government pottage, for empty promises of something for nothing. We gave up liberty in exchange for promises of security, free healthcare, and government-insured retirement, only to realize these promises from government were not written in stone, but on gossamer. We followed the Pied Pipers of Socialism and found we were on the road to despair and ruin.

But there is hope. Our Founding Fathers were brilliant men, and they had a deep understanding of human nature, the quest for power, and the natural tendency of government to grow more tyrannical over time. They built mechanisms into the Constitution to slow or halt that tendency, but we must know those mechanisms and how they work before we can use them to restore freedom. Americans thrived for one and a half centuries before we began to accept the growth of government power, and if we will study the Constitution, we can once again reverse this trend and plot a course towards freedom. The collapse of the republic, and the end of American exceptionalism, is not inevitable.

We live in a time of stunningly fast technological achievement. We have the ability today to talk to friends and family across the world on cell phones, and at incredibly low cost. The vast majority of Americans have access to more information through their laptops and smart-phones than kings had in their vast libraries just a few decades ago. Medical advancements are letting us live longer, and in greater health than ever before. Technology is making it easier to find and extract oil, coal, natural gas, and other forms of energy, and making it less and less expensive. Every day we take for granted new inventions, new discoveries, new technologies, which would have been considered miraculous just twenty years ago. A true free market has and can delivered these advances to even those of lowly means.

The only thing staving off a new Renaissance, a new Golden Age, is the antediluvian leviathan of government, whose gaping maw devours our freedoms, the fruits of our labors, and with it, our hope. Americans of every race, religion, creed, and ideology should now see unequivocally the danger inherent in expansive government power. If we can once again declare that government is “instituted among men, deriving [its] just powers from the consent of the governed”, and starve that usurpacious beast, it can once again be “morning in America.”

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