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February 6, 2004

When the World Won't Go Away

Houston, TX—Being the political junkie that I am, I spent time during the Iowa Caucuses flipping through the channels—watching the first results. The front-runners, John Kerry and John Edwards, were making speeches about “taking back” America. I found that interesting—that America has to be “taken back.” From whom is it going to be taken and to whom will it be returned?

I discussed this issue in my book, The Bridge to the 21st Century. I understand, of course, what Kerry and Edwards are referring to: they want to take the country back to their own power base—whatever they perceive that to be. It certainly is not back to the majority of the citizens. Some of the Democrats like to think that George Bush “stole” the election in 2000 because Al Gore got a slight majority of the popular vote. For those of you who may have forgotten, Gore received 48.38 percent of the vote and Bush got 47.87 percent.

Our president for eight years, Bill Clinton, received 43 percent of the vote in 1992 and 49.2 percent in 1996. The upshot of all this is that for over a decade, our president has been elected by less than 50 percent of the voters.

So that brings us to the point of the articles that will be appearing here in A View from the Bridge. We’re going to follow this election and point out how America needs to change—and I mean change dramatically—if this country is to survive as we know it. And no, it’s not the politicians that are at fault—it’s us, the American people.

We arethe problem. Our goalin this limited endeavor is to be one of the building blocks to get this country back on track in the 21st century. For this country to accomplish what it needs to do during the next decade, we need to get about 55 percent to 65 percent of the American public reading from the same book and on the same page. You may think that’s most improbable. Maybe so, maybe not! Ever since 9/11 a lot has changed in America—most of all its people.

There are now two major factions in America. I call it Old America and New America. Old America is still guided by our core traditional and historical values. New America has another agenda, and the resulting clash is dividing Americans and confusing our identity as a nation. We are kneeling and singing our mantras to the god of diversity; and while some diversity is desirable, we fail to realize that too much diversity leads to perversity. History provides us with well-learned (but oft-forgotten) lessons that no societies in the world have lasted which are deeply enmeshed in too much diversity and perversity

Many of us do not realize it, but this country is more vulnerable to a meltdown than we have been since the American Revolution or the Civil War.

Many of our citizens intuitively detect that we are vulnerable, and most of those folks think that it’s because we have put our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that is about 180 degrees from correct. American political and military engagement throughout the world is going to be a fact of life. Get used to it folks. This is the way it’s gonna be throughout the next century.

About 200 years ago in 1807, Bill Wordsworth, an aristocratic type fellow who lived in rural northwest England, wrote these lines:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon;
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;

Little we see in nature that is ours; we have given our hearts away, a sordid boon…for this, for everything, we are out of tune…”

Fast-forward about 150 years later to rural Mississippi, where a redneck fellow by the name of Hank Cochran wrote a song that would top the charts. You may remember it:

“Make the world go away,
get it off my shoulders
say the things we used to say,
and make the world, make it go away.”

So, here we are in 2004, and the world is very much with us. You can rest assured it is not going away—never, ever anymore!

When I wrote the book, The Bridge to the 21st Century: Reflections on the Soul of a Nation, I did so in order to facilitate the reader to stroll through the decades of the 20th century. We need to do that in order put into perspective the path that we, as Americans, have chosen within our borders and the path we have been forced into outside our borders. The important thing to remember is that right after we crossed the bridge to 21st century, the road forked in two directions. As poet Robert Frost observed:

“Two roads diverged…, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”

In this endeavor, I am asking all of you—at the grassroots level to weigh in on which road to take. And let me make it clear—this is not necessarily just a political road; it’s not a Republican vs. Democrat road, or a liberal vs. conservative road. No, it’s the road leading to how to find the soul of America.