Four more years of decline
Great nations and proud empires have always collapsed from within before they were conquered from without.
President Obama's re-election mirrors the self-indulgent, greedy and envious nation we are rapidly becoming.
Pollsters Michael Barone and Dick Morris got it horribly wrong. Both predicted a 300 electoral-vote win for Mitt Romney. It was President Obama who reached that mark.
The central message coming out of the election seems to be that we are no longer the America of our Founders, or even the America that existed during World War II, which produced our “greatest generation.”
Instead, the election validates the enormous cultural shift that has been taking place since the '60s, when a countercultural bomb was dropped on society, producing moral fallout that continues to this day.
I am a child of the “greatest generation.” My parents believed I should learn to take care of myself. If they needed help, they would turn to family first, or to a friend or neighbor. There were fewer social programs then, so people mostly did without, living only on what they truly needed. It said something about your character if you refused to strive toward self-sufficiency.
In 2012, nothing appears to embarrass us. Snooki. Honey Boo Boo. Reality TV wives. Look at what is paraded before us as normal. Oppose the new normal and it's you who are the anomaly.
Young people are taught in public schools, at major universities, on television and in movies that every life choice is acceptable and every tenet open to interpretation. In politics, some proclaim it is right to oppose the successful and envy the rich to the point where they must be denigrated and penalized for their success with higher taxes. No one has to be personally responsible. No education; no motivation; no life plan? No problem. The government will take care of you.
One thing Romney might have done better is to have featured more people who had overcome government dependence by embracing the values he was promoting. But in our “entitlement” age even that might have been impossible to overcome.
Other signs of cultural decay are accepted with little notice. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of babies born in America are born to unmarried women. Shrug. Yawn.
There is no longer any cultural corrective because we have abandoned the concept of objective truth. Nothing is right or wrong, because that suggests a standard by which right and wrong might be defined. Personal choice is the new “standard,” which is no standard at all.
Politicians bid for votes, making promises they can't keep to voters who will believe anything, as long as it appeals to greed, envy and their sense of entitlement. This undermines our culture. This fuels our massive debt, weakening our economic power and America's standing in the world.
So should conservatives throw in the towel and say America, as passed down to us by previous generations, is no more? That was President Obama's announced goal four years ago when he promised to “fundamentally transform America.” He's doing it and sufficient numbers of us appear happy to let him. When they realize what they have done, however, it may well be too late to reverse course.
Cal Thomas is a columnist for USA Today.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers not limiting themselves in free agency
- Duquesne University football player died by suicide
- Rossi: Pirates must pay for Mr. Right
- National Weather Service predicts up to 7 inches of snow before Sunday night
- Under Rutherford, it’s been a sizeable shakeup for Penguins
- Burnett’s farewell tour wishlist has just 1 item: Pirates World Series
- Toyota Mirai to run on hydrogen fuel cells, widen green-vehicle divide
- Winnik impresses Penguins in first workout
- Penguins’ Kunitz makes a dream come true
- Coyotes proliferate despite year-round hunting
- Shift in what powers the grid raises concerns about fuel diversity