I have had many people ask me to repost this from last July. I am honored that they read this site and were moved by it.
The loss of confidence Jimmy Carter spoke about over 30 years ago is, in my opinion, as relevant today as it was back then and in many ways even more so. We see the news everyday and public officials are caught lying, cheating, being bribed, illegally funding campaigns, and the list goes on.
Do we have a crisis of confidence today?
I believe very much so.
Check it out and let me know your thoughts. DO you agree or disagree and why? Are we better or worse off as Americans, Kentuckians, or Louisvillians today since this speech was made. Think of the lies, corruption, and special interests lobbies. Do you feel fairly represented? You know where I stand. What say ye?
A CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE (repost from July 2008)
As I have stated previously occasionally I will venture outside Louisville politics and look at the bigger picture. This post is my attempt at that. Bear with me please.
While reading about some other interests of mine I came across this reminder of the past. Once in a while a bit of the past rushes out to greet me like an old friend. Today I ran across an interesting speech that reminded me once again of an old friend.
American Rhetoric: Jimmy Carter -- "A Crisis of Confidence"
President Carter gave this speech on July 15, 1979. What began as a speech concerning the energy crisis turned into something greater. While energy was the accepted theme it was more interesting realizing just what a grasp President Carter had on the feel of Americans in general.
Interesting that this speech was almost 30 years ago. I feel like it could have been written yesterday. I have quoted bits and pieces some of it below for a quick read and I ask one question of my own.
Have things gotten better or worse in these examples in the almost 30 years since this speech was made.
This could apply not only at the federal level but local levels as well in my opinion. President Carter's grasp seems forgotten today by leadership at every level.
It amazes me how little overall we seem to be valued by our leaders today.
For example, President Carter asked himself one question: "Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem? "
To further quote: "It's clear that the true problems of our Nation are much deeper—deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession. And I realize more than ever that as President I need your help."
"... after listening to the American people I have been reminded again that all the legislation in the world can't fix what's wrong with America. So, I want to speak to you first tonight about a subject even more serious than energy or inflation. I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy."
"The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America. The confidence that we have always had as a people is not simply some romantic dream or a proverb in a dusty book that we read just on the Fourth of July. It is the idea which founded our Nation and has guided our development as a people. Confidence in the future has supported everything else—public institutions and private enterprise, our own families, and the very Constitution of the United States."
"We've always had a faith that the days of our children would be better than our own. Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy."
"In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns."
"The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next 5 years will be worse than the past 5 years. Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world."
"As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning. These changes did not happen overnight."
"Looking for a way out of this crisis, our people have turned to the Federal Government and found it isolated from the mainstream of our Nation's life. Washington, D.C., has become an island. The gap between our citizens and our Government has never been so wide."
"The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual. What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another."
"Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. You don't like it, and neither do I. What can we do? First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course."
"We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this Nation. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this generation of Americans."
Are we up to the challenge?
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