Unless we reverse course, the U.S. is on the road to destruction | Opinion

Once upon a time, people unashamedly espoused the concept of “American exceptionalism.” We took pride in our founding and on the principles of true equality, the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and consent of the governed.

We were the “city on a hill,” with an informed and educated populace dedicated to shared values and commitments to families, churches, schools, civic institutions and jobs-and-value-creating businesses. We were also the first to respond to natural disasters and foremost in working to alleviate poverty at home and around the globe.

We became the dominant force of production and innovation spawning “the American Century” — devoted to using our unmatched economic and military power not for conquest, but rather to oppose tyranny and establish a stable global order.

Yet as Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom” — not to mention prosperity and power — “is never more than one generation away from extinction.” And we indeed are watching history’s greatest nation being destroyed, in real time, from within.

Financial irresponsibility

The late Senator Everett Dirksen was (mis)quoted as saying, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Now substitute “trillion” — astronomical spending on boondoggles, a $1.9-trillion “American Rescue” Plan, the $750 billion “Inflation Reduction Act” and the $1.7 trillion omnibus, plus a refusal to address out-of-control entitlements all help generate exploding deficits.

Our debt has hit a stunning 125% of GDP, much of it held by hostile parties. History is littered with once great whose fall from power was driven by excessive debt. Sadly, we are headed down the same perilous road. With the reality of inflated prices, along with our national debt, we can expect the purchasing power of our wages to continue to decrease.

All this is exacerbated by maneuvers from China, which recently signed a trade agreement with Brazil that will no longer use the U.S. dollar as the prime trading currency between those two nations. This diminishes the power of the U.S. economy and is a bad sign for the future of America.

Inability or unwillingness to protect civil society

The Guarantee Clause of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution provides the federal government will guarantee each state, through a republic form of government, protection from foreign invasion and domestic violence. Based upon recent events, there has been a massive failure by government to protect the American people as required by this clause. The government is causing havoc by allowing illegal immigrants to swarm our borders. An enormous amount of deadly drugs cross the same uncontrolled border, and cartels, with some coordination with China, are funded by the drug and human-trafficking trade. Despite the constitutional obligation, our government does little.

3. Loss of faith in American values and rule of law

Our legal system, once committed to “equal justice under law,” now openly maintains a dual system of justice. Rule of law, once a bedrock of our democracy, has been reduced to apply to a select few. This disrespect of the legal system is so common place that a college dean sides with students heckling a federal judge. More troubling is that Supreme Court Justices are subject to threats of violence.

Government agencies whose mission was to fulfill the promise of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are now re-institutionalizing discrimination. The same government that once provided woman the protection of Title IX are now using the same federal law to undercut these same opportunities simply on the basis of self identification. College campuses, once bastions of free speech, no longer celebrate open debate of different viewpoints for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Conservative viewpoints are systemically excluded. Free thought is no longer encouraged. Is it surprising that 43% of 18- to 34-year-olds consider socialism the ideal economic system.

4. The purposeful dumbing down of America

The battle to preserve American exceptionalism requires an educated, informed populace. Yet in 55 schools in Chicago no student performed at grade level in reading or math. In 23 public schools in Baltimore, there were zero students that were proficient in math. These examples are no longer the exception, despite more and more money being spent on K-12 education. COVID cut into learning gains and increased achievement gaps for minority students. There is no shortage of celebrating “this month” or “that month” based upon race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality, but there is little celebration of achievement or hard work. Student achievement has been relegated to social agendas.

Does any hope remain to save the land Abraham Lincoln famously called “the last best hope on earth?”

Yes. But it will take courage and a determination on the part of every citizen to take a stand for fiscal sanity and demand institutions serve us, not a “woke” agenda.

We need to defend our proud history and seek restoration of the shared values on which America was founded and we need to fight for educational freedom, shifting power to parents from teachers’ unions and bureaucrats.

The knowledge that our nation was built not only on principle, but also on Americans’ unsurpassed bravery and willingness to speak truth to power, still makes me hopeful indeed.

But hope isn’t a strategy. We must fight to protect our freedom, as it may be less than a generation from extinction.

Edward J. Pozzuoli is the president of the law firm Tripp Scott, based in Fort Lauderdale, and hosts the podcast “Politics & Sunshine.”