January 4, 2024 | www.creators.com
The leisurely pace of the new year gives birth to reflection. We celebrate the new year, but from time immemorial each new year proves the prescience of Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun. Then why do the celebrations endure? Because hope springs eternal. Happiness is commonly the temporary suspension of disbelief. Dreams are our nectar and ambrosia.
What do ordinary Americans want? They do not want a free lunch. That leaves an empty soul lacking in self-esteem. You can't be proud of being born with a silver spoon. The more challenging the struggle, the more euphoric the triumph. Ordinary Americans want a fair opportunity to develop their faculties and pursue their ambitions unhandicapped by the accident of birth. Character and accomplishments are all that should count. President Abraham Lincoln instructed that the leading object of government was "to elevate the condition of men — to lift artificial weights from all shoulders — to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all — to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life."
Ordinary Americans want respect, if not a 21-gun salute. Every man or woman should be treated like a king or queen, but no one wears a crown.
Ordinary Americans want an equal playing field. A day's work for a day's pay. They do not want corporate welfare fueled by handsome campaign contributions and $2,000 per-hour lobbyists. They want an evenhanded tax system that does not enable the super-rich to pay less than the hardworking wage earners through tax dodges only they can pay for and exploit.
Ordinary Americans want to march to their own drummers free from domestic predation. That means holding police accountable to the law to the same extent citizens are. No dual standard of justice. We do not permit thieves to investigate the crimes of other thieves. The conflict of interest is obvious. Similarly, police should not investigate the crimes of their colleagues. Independent investigators are needed.
Ordinary Americans want investigative and prosecutorial resources targeted at identifying and punishing the handful of recidivists that commit most of the crimes, not for retribution but for self-defense and incapacitation. The most vulnerable are the primary victims of criminality. "Defund the police" is blind to this tragic fact.
Ordinary Americans want a national security policy of invincible self-defense. They do not want a global, gold-plated military presence undertaking fool's errands to summon utopia into being by force of arms to enrich the multitrillion-dollar military-industrial-security complex under the counterfeit banner of patriotism. We should spare no dime in self-defense but refuse to spend one cent for the empire. Our greatest and most enlightened influence abroad is the influence of example, which costs nothing.
Ordinary Americans want an education in critical thinking and a mastery of reading, writing and speaking. They do not want indoctrination or fixations on sexual orientation or sex. The latter are the responsibilities of parents. It is the business of schools to hone cerebral faculties, not to promote hormonal gratifications. The armored knight needs to be admired less and the thinker needs to be admired more. Without thinkers, armored knights have nothing to fight for.
Ordinary Americans want leaders who are selfless and exhibit every benevolent instinct of the human heart. They do not want professional, narcissistic politicians with ulterior motives whose sole mission in life is to acquire and maintain power for its own sake — not for any public good. Our political life has decayed. Think not only of the corruption of former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) and incumbent Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). Additionally, we now commonly encounter members of Congress clueless that the Constitution they have sworn to uphold and defend provides for three branches of government and separation of powers.
Congress has been reduced to no more than sound and fury signifying nothing, while the executive branch has grown to a giant oak sporting the limitless power of a Caesar. They include dragnet, warrantless surveillance and playing prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner to kill any person on the planet based on secret suspicion that the target might become a national security threat — an alarming doctrine of anticipatory self-defense to exterminate preembryonic potential dangers. The government has become a lawbreaker, which invites every man to become a law unto himself.
Armstrong Williams is manager/sole owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. To find out more about him and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.