NEW CASTLE, Pa. — I hope David McCullough is right. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, interviewed on “60 Minutes” last week, said he was disappointed in the campaigns of both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, but declared unshakeable confidence that the nation is much bigger and stronger than any president.
His view is that the U.S. will not only survive, it will prosper and remain the beacon to the world that it has been for more than two centuries.
I hope so. But I’m not nearly as confident as he is.
People said this election was a tipping point. I agree. And things are tipping in the wrong direction, perhaps irrevocably. Herewith a few sobering takeaways:
The transformation of America: Obama’s first term is littered with broken promises – unemployment below 5 percent, cutting the deficit in half, closing Guantanamo, repealing the Patriot Act – but he appears to have kept one: the “fundamental transformation” of America.
This is not so much about “makers and takers” as it is about freedom. Freedom comes with great rewards, but also risks. The president’s message throughout his term and the campaign is that freedom is not worth the risks, because somebody might end up with more than somebody else.
The message is not that government should provide subsistence support for needy people as a necessary thing, but that dependence on government is a goal to be desired.
Why else would millions more on food stamps be something to celebrate? Why brag about “expanding the safety net” when we should be asking why it needs to be expanded? Why else would he say, “government is the one thing we all belong to,” when our founding documents say the opposite - government belongs to the people?
Vice President Joe Biden, in his debate with Republican candidate Paul Ryan, talked at the end about how people “just want to know that it’s going to be OK,” and that the way they would know it will be OK is that government will be there to take care of them.