True leadership, not fear-mongering is what America needs
By Mark Sharpe
It’s the 4th of July so in respect to those who put it all on the line to create a new nation some 235 years ago – I make my own declaration.
I am committed to working with anyone – Republican or Democrat, independent or tea party, vegan or meat eater, straight or gay, black or white, Hispanic or other ethnic origin so long as they are equally committed to answering America’s challenges and putting us on the course to greatness once again.
Some among us butter their bread dividing America or launching irresponsible invectives against their opponents.
I commit myself to eschewing fear-mongering or labels which attempt to identify the “other side” as unpatriotic or worse, preferring rather that we get on with the hard tasks of putting our country back on a sustainable path of economic prosperity and opportunity for all.
I declare a commitment to forge ahead with those who want to deal responsibly with our financial woes and check our unsustainable and poorly thought out military commitments. Working together we will make America great once again; a nation powered by the principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and so brilliantly enabled in our Constitution.
James Madison would boldly declare 20 years after the Declaration of Independence that the U.S. Constitution was “nothing but a dead letter until life and validity was breathed into it, by the will of the people.” He recognized then that our uniqueness was embedded in a core conviction that the American people could be trusted to self governance, a then revolutionary concept.
Today some seek answers in Washington, but my sense is that Madison had it right when he looked to the states and the people for their concurrence to the new Constitution. Thus plans for dealing with the national debt, reforming entitlements, improving healthcare or disengaging from Iraq and Afghanistan might originate from the policy shapers in D.C., but it’s a “dead letter” until a concordance is established with the American people.
Continued fear-mongering by “placeholders” in Washington who will fight any attempt at reform with wretched scare tactics to ensure their brief political survival, is as abhorrent as those talk radio pundits who seek to squelch any attempt to work together to solve our problems as unprincipled appeasement.
The founders who bore the brunt of building a new nation had little use for loud-mouthed demagogues who cast stones from the safety of the sidelines, recognizing then, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christies does today, that “principled compromise” is critical when drafting a Declaration of Independence, when forging a Constitution, or when solving our current federal debt crisis.
Madison joined with other Americans who decades earlier risked it all on the front lines in the drafting and signing of our Declaration of Independence, by bravely venturing into what Teddy Roosevelt would later describe as “the arena” to build a new nation. We therefore need a new commitment by all today who seek to join our founders “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence” to “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” in forging a renewed America.
America can successfully deal with our debt crisis and unshackle our military from unwise or dated overseas entanglements, but it will take a mature dialogue and principled dedication to real reform.
My declaration is to begin this discussion and follow its course by showing true leadership not fear mongering, partisan bickering or political pandering.
Mark Sharpe is a Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner who is expected to run for the U.S. Congress next year. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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