Straight Talk

It is time for a little straight talk about the need for…straight talk.  Over the last several years there has been an alarming increase in “doublespeak”, hidden agendas, political polarization and misrepresentation of the facts by our government.  For the most part, they have been actively aided and abetted in their efforts by the media.  These problems have largely existed in governments forever, but there were always objective voices of reason serving as a check and balance to make sure that truth prevailed.  Where are these objective voices today and what role do we play as citizens of this country in solving this problem?

There was a time when we could have civil discourse on substantive issues affecting this country.  Our 2 party political system, although far from perfect, forced compromise and bipartisanship when it was most needed for the general good.  Opposing viewpoints were heard, arguments made and laws and policy were enacted.  Walter Cronkite, Woodward and Bernstein and Tim Russert were a few of the notable reporters who made sure we heard the whole story and called foul when a politician stepped over the line.  Ultimately, the voters decided if their representatives did a good job of representing their interests when they visited the voting booth.  Those were the “good ole days.”

Let’s fast forward to the mess we have today.  We have elected an articulate, yet woefully inexperienced President to lead our country.  Barrack Obama’s message was “change and hope” and the country desperately wanted a new direction after 8 challenging roller-coaster years under former President George W. Bush.  We unwisely gave this untested new President’s political party control of both Houses of Congress and he also has a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  We so desperately wanted change that we didn’t do our due diligence in vetting this candidate’s positions.  There were clear warning signs, but I think even his strongest supporters are surprised at how far he has swung in advocating a socialist style of government for our country.  The press, which is largely missing the journalistic “lions” I mentioned earlier, is a willing accomplice as the President represents the interests of the liberal bias in our media.

The misinformation, misrepresentation, blurring of the facts and outright lies coming out of Washington is on a scale so massive that it boggles the imagination.  The President, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders seem determined to further their agenda and essentially fulfill the Democratic party’s wish list of the last 30 years.  There is also seemingly no regard for the massive mega-deficits incurred by the reckless spending proposals set forth by this Administration.  Consider the dramatic push for increased access to abortion (in a country that is always polled as majority pro-life), nationalization of key industries (keep your eye on automotive, banking and insurance), National Healthcare (please don’t be fooled on this one) and tax increases for the wealthy (the middle class will have to be next to reduce this mega-deficit).  There is no check and balance in the Congress and the media will likely not turn on this President just yet, so who will stand up?  It will have to be you and me.

How can we fight back?  How can we make a difference?  How can we bring balance back to this country? 

First, we need to stop attacking each other.  We need to move beyond liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican and put the best interests of the country first.  The greater good must surpass the clever talking point. 

Second, we need to be informed.  Let’s get our information from a variety of sources and take the time to read the “fine print” in the bills and laws being proposed.  Reading the fine print in the Healthcare Reform bill will scare you to death and is the clearest example of the misinformation campaign I mentioned earlier.  Let’s stop accepting what we are hearing at face value-respectful skepticism needs to make a comeback. 

Finally, we need to speak up and act.  I am ashamed of the response from our government to the outrage of public opinion in the numerous town hall meetings to discuss healthcare reform.  Citizens have been labeled by Speaker Pelosi as hoodlums carrying swastikas and there is a number you can call at the White House to report suspicious activity.  Disgraceful…  We have to let our Senators, Congressional Representatives and even state representatives how we feel.  They work for us, not the other way around.

In full disclosure, I will tell you that I am a pro-life, devout Catholic and small business owner.  I am fiscally conservative, very active in the community and passionately believe that a bigger government is not the answer to our problems.  The American people are smarter and more capable than maybe our government leaders give us credit for.  I believe that we have an obligation to help those in need and must all be good stewards of what God has given us.  Although I tend to vote Republican, I would support a pro-life Democrat who was fiscally conservative if I believed he/she was the best choice.  Most importantly (and this is the point of the article!), I seek the truth, moral courage and more candor from our leaders.

Truth, candor, moral courage, the greater good…are we asking for too much?  I think not.  We have elected these fellow citizens to represent the interests of their constituencies, not the special interest groups or personal political agenda of their party leader.  But, nothing will change unless we get engaged as a country in more civil debate, seek out the truth and hold people accountable.  Let’s demand some straight talk and start practicing it ourselves.