Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Shining City" Or National Decline?

After the Newtown school shootings, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that 52% of the public felt the shooting reflected "broader problems in American society." The poll didn't ask what kind of problems, but I would submit that the breakdown of the family and reliable standards of right and wrong are at the top of the list. A new USA Today/Gallup poll confirms that Americans are feeling down about the future of our country.

According to the poll, 50% of adults believe that our best days as a nation are behind us, while 47% believe the best is yet to come. Looking to the year ahead, by a 2-to-1 margin Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of economic difficulty rather than prosperity.

A similar margin believes crime rates will rise. And by 20-points (57% to 37%), a majority of adults expect American power to decline internationally.

Reading the headlines and watching the dysfunction in Washington, the pessimism seems justified. Yet, having worked all eight years in Ronald Reagan's Administration, I find these views deeply disturbing. Have we really lost confidence in our country? Are we destined to fade away like previous world powers?

It would be an interesting study in social science to see how such attitudes might change people's behaviors. What would you do differently if you believed your future would be bleak and your children would be worse off than previous generations?

We live in amazing times. The world is figuratively at our fingertips with iPhones and tablets. But men and women of faith know that man does not live by bread alone. Apparently all our great technology cannot fill the void either.

As conservatives, we know the values that can sustain us. We know the economic principles that can revive our economy and lead to prosperity. We know that peace comes through strength and that America is a force for good in the world.

As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, "We're Americans and we have a rendezvous with destiny." Yes, there will be difficult days ahead. There have been tough times in the past. But I still believe America remains the "last best hope of man on Earth."

For our children and grandchildren, we must not give in to despair. We must fight the good fight to make this great nation a "shining city upon a hill."

Good News!

If you need a reason to stay in the fight, check out the latest cover of Time. The cover carries the caption: "40 Years Ago, Abortion Rights Activists Won an Epic Victory With Roe v. Wade. They've been losing ever since."

Just like the fight to end slavery, this has been a long and difficult battle. There have been setbacks along the way, and it is still far from over. But we are making real progress, and I believe the day will come when Roe will be overturned and cast onto the ash heap of history along with Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson.

Al Gore & Al Jazeera

For years the Muslim propaganda network Al Jazeera has been trying to break into the American media market. Major cable distributors have refused to carry it. But the network has finally broken through. Al Jazeera announced yesterday that it has bought Al Gore's failing network Current TV, which is available to 40 million homes.

Sources familiar with the deal say the sale is valued at $500 million. According to the New York Times, "Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1."

In a bit of poetic justice, the deal was not approved until yesterday. But Mr. Gore will be fine. The former vice president stands to make as much as $100 million thanks to his 20% share in Current TV, and will reportedly remain on the board of the new network, Al Jazeera America.

But here's the more disturbing concern. For years I have warned about the growing alliance between radical Islamists and the political left. It may seem an odd alliance, because there is little that unites them at first glance. But in reality they have much in common. They are united by their hatred for America and Israel, as well as our Judeo-Christian values.

Current TV has been losing money for years and never attracted big audiences. According to the Nielsen ratings, just over 40,000 people watched it on average each night. Yet Mr. Gore and his partners were very picky about potential buyers. Consider this from the Wall Street Journal:

"Other suitors who didn't share Current's ideology were rebuffed. Glenn Beck's The Blaze approached Current about buying the channel last year, but was told that 'the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.'"

Apparently the pro-Islamist Al Jazeera network is more aligned with Al Gore's views than is the conservative Glenn Beck!

A Dark Year For Religious Freedom

For many Christians in America, 2012 will be remembered as a year of intensifying attacks on the right to practice their faith according to their consciences. Most prominent among these attacks came from the administration's push of abortion-related policies in Obamacare.

While this unprecedented attack against Christians' Constitutional rights caught the eye of many concerned people of faith in 2012, little noticed was how Christians across the globe are experiencing unprecedented levels of oppression. Events during the Christmas season highlight just how pervasive the persecution is. Read more in my latest Human Events column.