2012's Biggest Mistake Is Hindering Progress In 2014
Lesson #1 - Don't always believe what your advisors tell you.
As early as July 2012 the die was cast and, barring something truly extraordinary, the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was going to lose in November.
His advisors didn't tell him that the electoral votes were already stacked against him. They let him go into Election Night in November 2012 thinking he still might win.
In the four months from that July to that November a golden opportunity was lost, one that could have been extraordinary.
Lesson #2 - Even when it hurts, the truth is still the truth.
With the writing already on the wall, Governor Romney should have taken the high road.
What might have happened, if recognizing that Senator Obama was completing a commanding lead in the electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Mitt Romney had stopped behaving like a politician and instead had called for all the sacrifices that would be needed to get through the next four years as smoothly, safely, and united as possible?
Two things would have happened.
American voters would have been shocked that a candidate was not sugar coating the rough days ahead in order to promise everyone everything without calling for the needed sacrifices.
Furthermore, if ultimately the election was lost (and it was), Mitt Romney and his supporters could have held their heads high for having been honest about the difficulty of the still unresolved tasks Americans face.
Such political courage and leadership, rare as it has been, is possible, and I cite one such instance: Senator Robert Kennedy running for the presidency spoke to college students at Creighton, and at Idaho State University and said that college students should not be exempt from the draft which was sending young men to fight and die in Vietnam because their deferrals placed an unfair burden on African Americans, Mexicans, and the poor who could not afford to go to college.
Indeed the truth can set us free and we need it.
Lesson #3 - Dividing and winning carries with it a terrible price.
Seldom does courting votes with the promises of everything for everyone (at no sacrifice for anyone) do anything but raise false expectations which are so high that everyone feels let down when they don't get everything that they were promised.
Americans know that endlessly denying even enemies their liberty without justice being done, is wrong.
They also know that, just like families and businesses, government cannot succeed without budgets that are conservative in hard times, and without everyone sacrificing something now, for a better tomorrow.
It is one thing to promise cheap and comprehensive health care for everyone, when reality says that "one size fits all" ignores regional and demographic differences in the nation's existing health care resources and needs.
Promising fair and equitable tax reform predicated on only a small percentage of Americans being made to bear the full burden of an indebtedness everyone had previously benefited from, was sure to repeat the mistakes other failed systems had made when sacrifices were not universally fair and equitable.
Promising that broken laws and a broken immigration system could be fixed by once again ignoring what was broken, would only guarantee that what comes next will be broken and not resolved to anyone's satisfaction.
Meanwhile the other promises of 2012 faced the winners with constituencies which would be pitted against each other to win the realization of the promises made to them at the sacrifice of promises made to others, each group expecting to sacrifice nothing themselves.
Lesson #4 - Learning from the past prevents "more of the same" in the future.
Politicians are not known for calling on the people to sacrifice.
Yes, we can wait until things are so bad that finally a real leader will stand up and call for the sacrifice of "blood. sweat, and tears."
Instead of candidate Romney being perceived as having no coherent policy, and candidate Obama offering a painless golden future of freebies for each and every special interest group, both of them could have stood tall and called for the actual sacrifices they surely knew would and will be required.
Had Romney or Obama done so, the other might have been forced to do so too. As it is, each distinct group of Americans has been played off against the others. The unity which has been America's strength in the past has been damaged, if not destroyed, and as George Washington cautioned: America's "liberty depends upon our unity".
2014 finds us moving toward America's next election. The public's confidence in its elected officials is at an all time low, and the different sides are busy blaming each other instead of all sides attending to the country's business.
We could have seen it coming. We might have been busy by now sharing the sacrifices. Sadly, no one asked us to. But they could have, and they still can.
"Everything for everyone"? Don't count on it this time. Other nations did and they are merely footnotes in history.
© 2013 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.