Until 1973, the United States relied on conscription to staff its armed forces. We have since moved to an all volunteer military and there are apparently a sufficient number of Americans who feel that serving their country in this way is their calling. We have not had a problem staffing the various branches of our military service.
This serves to illustrate my point that there are many of us who are motivated not so much by coercion as we are by generosity and a sense of responsibility. I would like to offer some specific examples of the kind of outreach which Americans exhibit.
In less than a week after the death spree occurred in Aurora, CO, there has been more than $2 million raised to benefit the families of the victims and the survivors. No one held a gun to the head of these contributors. They made these donations out of love and because they wanted to help the victims and their families.
This spirit of generosity, compassion and concern for our fellows is the premise on which the Founding Fathers drew the faith to believe that our grand experiment in democracy would persevere.
This is the spirit that guided us in establishing the Marshall Plan to help rebuild Europe after World War II through our gifts and loans and led us to assist Japan in rebuilding their nation.
This is a spirit that has set the world on fire – a shining beacon of what people, if allowed, can become and will do. This is a spirit which those in Washington would do well to recognize because, if they do not, enough of us will one day reject their petty notion that only through coercion can they achieve their goals. Following their present path will ultimately strike the death knell for their agenda of self-aggrandizement and we will no longer tolerate their abdication of their solemn and sworn duties.
Symbols are important things in our lives. With the constant blather about who should pay more and who should pay less, I call on those leaders whom we have favored with our votes and who represent us to show some backbone and be the first in line to set an example. Vote yourselves a pay cut – even if it is a symbolically small one – to let us know that you are serious about finding solutions instead of talking with the sole purpose of getting yourselves re-elected.
And then, offer us ordinary citizens the privilege of following your example. Change the title of the box which allows us to contribute one or two dollars toward the Presidential Election Fund on our tax returns to one that allows us to contribute that amount or more to help reduce the national debt. Of course, we expect that if you do that you will already have gotten serious about balancing the budget and this money will not simply fall into the trough of additional wasteful spending.
Apparently, our politicians have a very self-centered view of life as this concept of generosity seems to be alien to them. They produce laws based on what they know and who they are.
But the American people do have a greater spirit than those whom they elect to serve. And the example of generosity following the Colorado shootings should be a wake up call for them.