America is in crisis, and the stakes have never been higher. In Worth Fighting For, former Vice President Dan Quayle brings to the nation an experienced awareness of the many challenges ahead. The stakes are high. But, he knows that your dreams, your hopes, your family and your future are worth fighting for.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Sold by:||HarperCollins Publishing|
|File size:||281 KB|
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The Next American Century
Will the twenty-first century come to be known as another "American century"? If we choose wisely, the answer is yes. This is our challenge. In these one hundred years just ending, America's greatness provided the margin of victory in the First World War, the overwhelming force behind victory in the Second World War, and the patient endurance and purpose that ultimately triumphed in the Cold War. Today, America is the only genuine superpower. We are number one militarily, economically, and technologically. Our influence on the world is unprecedented. On top of these achievements we are enjoying a stunning level of material wealth that was not imagined even a generation ago.
Moreover, the situation of the American people is unique. Other powers have risen in the past. Various empires have dominated at different times in history. But never has a single power fueled by freedom achieved so much. Other empires have ruled because of superior military force. Only America has triumphed because of its ideals, and central to these ideals has been freedom.
Today, that freedom is eroding. It is eroding because the values that allowed it to flourish are everywhere in retreat. As our amazing prosperity has begun to anesthetize us to our peril, petty tyrants around the world are watching our slow descent into confusion about who we are and what we value. Our world leadership is now routinely mocked. It will not be long before it is challenged.
We have to ask ourselves: Do we genuinely believe in America as a specialnation, one that ought to cherish and guard its place as protector not only of the freedom of its people but of the stability of the globe? If we do intend for the new century to be another American century, then three fundamental challenges must be faced, and three crucial choices must be made.
First, we must understand that the values that built this country and molded a people strong enough to survive as a free people are under attack, and we must choose to reclaim them.
Second, we must understand that American prosperity depends most of all upon the country's vast middle class, a middle class that flourishes only with freedom. Thus we must choose to protect it from the extraordinary appetite of the huge and growing federal government, an insatiable appetite continually demanding more in taxes as it gnaws away at the people's freedom. We must remember that America's promise to the poorest among us is that they can, in no more than a generation, join that middle class.
And finally, we must clearly understand that America will either lead the world, or it will be attacked again and again and will eventually suffer. We need to summon the courage to claim our place as the lone superpower and to defend that status without apology, for it is no more than the natural result of our values and the freedom those values have made possible. In other words, we must freely pick up and carry the burden of our world leadership. To do so is both in America's best interest and in the world's as well.
We need to do a number of things and do them very quickly.
To secure peace and prosperity, America must boldly assume the responsibility, of leadership lest we reach the point of international disorder from which recovery will be impossible without enormous cost in the lives of the next generation. America must export not just goods but the message of freedom and human dignity that will bring hope to people everywhere.
To secure the blessings of liberty at home, we must raise our sights and seek a higher level of growth so that no American is left behind. We must rescue the middle class from a crushing burden of taxation and the demands of a nanny state that threatens to intrude into every aspect of our lives.
We must once again proudly hold up freedom as the guardian of hope and opportunity. The freedom I am referring to is freedom of faith and speech, freedom of choice in how we bring up and educate our children, freedom to arrange our golden years. We have by now become quite numbed to the incursions that government makes into our daily lives. We have to wake up and take back the freedom that our parents and grandparents once cherished and defended.
Our first task, however, is to end any confusion about what we value most. We have leaders who have placed personal gain over personal honor and self-interest over the national welfare. The Clinton-Gore team has celebrated obstruction and lying, and it has embraced those who, since the 1960s, have ceaselessly pounded away at honor, duty, country, and the rule of law, routinely trashing as outdated and hopelessly quaint the values the rest of us hold dear.
To strengthen the moral fabric of our country, we must reclaim the values of faith in God, integrity, responsibility, courage, thrift, and industry. Without these virtues we will become merely another country in just another century, having squandered our priceless legacy.
Billy Graham has remarked that America is a long way down the wrong road, and he's right. But it's not a hopeless situation. The country is like a hiker lost in a deep woods. Before he stumbles even deeper into trouble, he's got to stop, take a long look around, and consult his compass.
We are in that ominous forest, all right, and it is a confusing place. For there are now two Americas. One America is largely upper or upper-middle class. Its inhabitants make so much money that they have no idea how great the pressures have grown on the middle class in America. The elites simply can't relate to those who struggle to make ends meet. They are, for instance, quite unconscious of the difference that a thousand dollars can make in the life of an ordinary. American family. They are equally indifferent to the peeling plaster and incoherent lesson plans of America's urban public schools because their children are educated at private schools in safe places. They have never heard the sound of gunfire in their streets, so they cannot comprehend the demand of citizens of the other America for safety, both in the call for more police and in the form of gun ownership.
America must choose, and the choice could not be more stark: a country by and for the elite, or a country that honors its middle class and gives real hope to those who struggle to become part of it. By honoring the virtues of that second America, Ronald Reagan unleashed the nation's productive capacity and triggered a new surge of American confidence. His leadership undeniably led to the defeat of communism and set the stage for unparalleled prosperity, yet others have tried to take the credit. Children of the sixties have come to power and, not for the first time, have laid claim to an unearned honor. Bill Clinton and Al Gore have shamelessly taken credit for the prosperity they inherited and for an American dominance on the globe they have undermined. When Gore gave himself credit for "creating the Internet" he unconsciously revealed the arrogance of those who confuse their roles as bystanders with the hard work of the entrepeneurs who made it all possible. Many of today's powerful elite cut their teeth in the hubris of the sixties and in the ensuing years have learned nothing of the virtue of humility. They claim as their achievement all that sparkles, and all that is poisoned they lay at the feet of ordinary Americans who honor faith and family.
Moreover, they have strenuously resisted any attempt to answer the crucial questions about the course of the country. The Clinton-Gore administration is even proud of its poll and focus group-driven policies, which are longvery longon talk, but short on vision.
For many years after World War II, our country enjoyed a remarkable consensus on the most important issue facing it: namely, the threat of Soviet imperialism. We recognized that if we did not resist the Soviets' aggression, they would do to other countries what they had done to Eastern Europe following the war, to Hungary in 1956, and to Czechoslovakia in 1968. There was bipartisan support for devoting the resources necessary to protect America and the free world from Soviet expansionism. Unfortunately, this consensus about American purpose was shattered by the Vietnam War.
In 1972, the McGovern campaign introduced into American politics a cadre of political activists who held America to be a mixed blessing at best. Ronald Reagan and the coalition he led stood in firm opposition to the "blame America first" crowd. He recognized the stark choices America confronted in the world. When Reagan labeled the Soviet Union "the evil empire," the self-anointed recoiled from his candor, but the country did not. When he drew a sharp distinction between the Republican and Democratic Parties on matters such as the proper size and scope of government, the burden of taxation, and the requirements of national security, he spoke over the heads of the media elite and directly to the majority of Americans. And that majority provided him with two landslide mandates.
In the decade since President Reagan left office, not only have the Democrats remade their image without remaking their philosophy, but they have done so without challenge from the Republicans. The irony is that the Clinton-Gore administration has been as relentlessly ideological as George McGovern's would ever have been.
First, in foreign affairs, where America ought to lead, they have abdicated. The current administration's incompetence on foreign policy matters is so widely remarked upon that many seem now to assume that America could never lead, that it can only "partner." The ill-advised entry into the Yugoslavian civil war is only the latest example of a confused, ad hoc foreign policy.
Second, on cultural issuesthe morality of the country and the centrality of the familythe administration has opposed much that is traditional, much that is normal, much that is mainstream. Whether it was vetoing partial-birth abortion legislation, advancing gays in the military, pursuing the environmental extremism of Al Gore, attempting a government takeover of healthcare, or proposing that the federal government control private-sector companies through social security trust fund investments, the core agenda of the Clinton-Gore administration has been at the leftward fringe of politics.
They relentlessly promote their leftist agenda, but never out loud, and always camouflage it in the rhetoric of "strengthening the community" and "helping the children."
Instead of uniting Americans, Bill Clinton and Al Gore have sought to divide and confuse by abusing the power of the bully pulpit. It is now routine to hear self-anointed guardians of the country's "moderate center" denounce as "extreme and intolerant" ordinary Americans defending ordinary traditions. One of the worst instances of this effort to marginalize the mainstream followed the tragic bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. As Americans grieved with the victims and their families, Bill Clinton chose to suggest that those who argued for small government and a limited federal role had somehow contributed to a climate of hate that propelled the criminal psyche of Timothy McVeigh. Their debasement of rhetoric did not end there. Only last year Al Gore declared that Republicans opposed "statistical" sampling in the census because the GOP did not want to count African Americans. That was an obscene lie.
Time and time again, the Clinton-Gore administration has gone "Orwellian." They proclaim that "the era of big government is over" while the total of federal tax receipts reaches the highest level recorded in American history. They lambaste school vouchers as "an irresponsible assault" on public education, yet send their children to elite private schools far removed from mainstream America and its struggles with public education. They consistently label tax cut proposals as "risky schemes" that threaten social security, yet offer no solution to the obvious problems we face in preserving social security for future generations. They roll out the attack ads about "slashing Medicare," ignoring the factdocumented by their own budget figuresthat Medicare spending has increased every year under Republican leadership.
Most of the time, the media report the fictions as true.
So be it. Our challenge is to put our agenda concisely and consistently before the American people. A new generation of Americans must be encouraged to set aside their cynicism and again take up the commitment to public service.
We Americans have become dangerously nonchalant when it comes to politics. More and more people are saying that elections do not matter, and fewer among us are contesting that cynicism.
But elections do matter, and now more than ever the stakes are very high.
It is not just that the next president is likely to appoint three Supreme Court justices or that the next administration will face entirely new challenges on the global stage. In the next election we will be making a number of crucial choices:
We will choose between personal freedom and a vast and growing government.
We will choose to cut taxes or to leave them at their historically high levels.
We will choose to build a ballistic missile defense or to leave ourselves vulnerable to nuclear blackmail.
We will choose to shake up the education establishment and demand excellence in education for all our children or to force another generation of young people to remain in failing and sometimes downright dangerous schools.
We will choose a culture that embraces, celebrates, and protects life or one in which violence, crime, and drug use are accepted as a given and death is just a choice.
We will choose to be a country of one people working together for the common good or to be a collection of independent interests competing with each other for political or social power.
It's time to choose. We cheer our small victories on one or another issue, but we forget that these victories are largely holding actions.
We are in the same condition now as in March I863, when Lincoln called for a day of fasting and repentance. "We have forgotten God," wrote the father of the Republican Party. "Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"
The next election must reset our moral compass. We must understand that "prosperity" without values is no prosperity at all.
Table of Contents
|Part 1. America at a Crossroads|
|1. The Next American Century||3|
|Part 2. The Cultural Divide|
|2. Values Matter Most||15|
|3. What the Sixties Did||31|
|4. The Hot Buttons||47|
|5. Religion and Politics||55|
|6. Faith-Based Organizations||59|
|7. Protecting Children||65|
|8. Civil Rights in the Twenty-first Century||71|
|10. Restoring Justice||83|
|Part 3. Freedom and the Middle-Class Family|
|11. Protecting Freedom||91|
|12. The Case for Tax Cuts||95|
|13. Healthcare: Freedom and Choice||107|
|14. Education: Restoring Accountability, Standards, and|
|15. Parents in Charge||119|
|Part 4. America and the Global Economy|
|16. Exporting Freedom||129|
|17. Preserving the American Advantage||137|
|18. Promoting the American Advantage||151|
|Part 5. Security Abroad|
|20. Running on Empty||175|
|21. Missile Defense||183|
|23. Israel and the Peace Process||191|
|24. Russia: Opportunity Imperiled||195|
|25. A Conflict with China?||201|
|26. Kyoto or Kuwait||209|
|Part 6. A Future Worth Fighting For|
|27. A Future Worth Fighting For||217|