America Needs an Honest Adult Conversation

If America is going to remain free, safe, and prosperous, we will have to elevate our national debate far above the current pattern of dishonest partisan political theater.

by Newt Gingrich

After watching the nasty, petty, and downright dishonest partisan political theater around the Jan. 6 attacks and the effort to change voting laws, it is obvious that America needs an entirely new conversation about its challenges and its future.

As Americans who love our country, it is difficult to disengage from the mean-spirited, constantly vicious, personal, and negative attacks the current political environment promotes. It is even harder to ignore the constant pettiness of the news media and, with few exceptions, the shallow agendas of the reporting community. However, the viciousness and negativity of attack politics is the opposite of what the American people want.

Washington avoids reality by focusing on the politics of politics, personality fights, and the trivia of ambitious people seeking publicity. The hunger of the news machine can be fed without ever getting close to substance or historically important questions. Tragically this politics of nasty, negative noise is gradually killing America.

Americans face enormous historic challenges far beyond the ability of the current news media-politician dance of ambition, partisanship, and trivial negativity.

We have been successful and powerful for several generations, so it is easy to forget that our success was based on identifying, analyzing, and solving real problems. America was fortunate in key moments by having leaders who could look beyond the next headline, overlook partisanship and personality conflict, and focus on what really mattered.

If America is going to remain free, safe, and prosperous, we will have to elevate our national debate far above the current pattern. Consider the following real threats and our inability to have a serious conversation about them:

  1. Communist China is the greatest foreign threat to American survival since the British Empire in 1776. Congress should be focused relentlessly on every aspect of the Chinese Communist challenge – and the work that will be needed to defeat it and preserve American safety, prosperity, and freedom.
  2. The pandemic has revealed a stunningly incompetent public health system whose failures may have led to 500,000 or more Americans dying unnecessarily. Nothing has been learned. Nothing has been changed. The same failed experts continue to lecture us and defend their failed system. We are no more ready for the next pandemic than we were for the last, and biological warfare is increasingly a realistic possibility.
  3. The k-12 school system is an abject failure incapable of competing with either China or India. We are ruining children’s lives and threatening our nation’s security. An incompetent, uneducated workforce cannot sustain citizenship or national security. The power of the teachers’ unions and the resolute hostility of schools of education and education bureaucracies currently guarantee our defeat by Communist China over the next generation.
  4. In-sourcing all vital manufacturing should be a major lesson of the reliance on China for pharmaceuticals, solar power capabilities, computer chips, and a host of other products. Redesigning our tax, regulatory, and education systems to maximize American competitiveness and in-source production should be a major goal.
  5. The entire system of dealing with illegal immigration has been destroyed. We don’t know how many people are entering America illegally. We don’t know how many have COVID-19. We don’t know how many have been secretly sent to undisclosed local communities. We now have efforts to allow them to vote. Gov. Gavin Newsome is proposing tax-paid universal health care for people in the country illegally, which will make it even more desirable to sneak into America.
  6. The expansion of pervasive discrimination has been a shocking violation of more than seven decades of effort to end segregation and move toward an integrated America with opportunity for all. In federal and state government agencies – and a growing number of corporations and associations – being white is a liability. Being a white male is a guarantee of discriminatory treatment. We are in the process of repudiating Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for focusing on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin. None of this has been supported by the American people. It has been imposed by a militant minority of radicals who believe in discrimination based on race.
  7. The flood of district attorneys who refuse to prosecute crimes has led to an extraordinary rise in violent crime. The blood of the innocent calls out for national hearings and a focused effort to re-establish public safety – which we had achieved through a generation of work beginning in 1993 in New York City.
  8. Balancing the budget is a requirement for our long-term health as a country. The current system of open-ended spending encourages waste. It centralizes power in Washington and tolerates massive corruption ($32 billion was stolen in the California unemployment system alone). House Republicans led the effort to work with a Democrat White House to balance the budget four times starting in 1998. It has been done. It can be done. It will lower inflation, lower interest rates, lower the burden on our children and grandchildren, and rebuild our capacity to renew the world’s reserve currency with leverage over China, Russia, and others.
  9. The spread of nuclear weapons requires a dramatic increase in our focus on domestic defense. The North Koreans’ ability to launch weapons that could endanger hundreds of U.S. cities is real. It is increasingly likely that Iran will get nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States. Both China and Russia have technologies capable of inflicting enormous damage and death unless we have a significant shift toward a serious domestic defense capability.
  10. Our national security system – the Department of Defense, 18 intelligence agencies, the State Department, and key elements of the Justice Department – are collectively an incompetent mess. We have too many bureaucrats wasting too much money with too little modernization and reform. We are drifting toward a catastrophic defeat unless we take decisive steps to rethink and rebuild our national security system.
  11. Finally, we face a crisis in mental health, suicide, drug addiction, and homelessness. More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses last year. An estimated 45,000 or more Americans committed suicide in 2020. In Los Angeles alone, there are an estimated 67,000 homeless people. This reality requires a serious, deep, and focused response.

Take these 11 serious realities – which threaten the lives, safety and freedom of the American people – and then watch the current political-news media theatre. You will understand the contrast between the futile arguing into which we are trapped and the honest, adult conversations we need.

America’s survival depends on moving away from the narrowly political and toward the historic in our national policies.

Americans will see right through the charade.

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