The Unanswered Question

Tell me what you think.

Here is the question: to what sacrifices should we be called to lift this country out of the mess it is in?

That question was asked last night at the presidential debate, and the only answers the two candidates offered centered on what action the federal government might take.

Most of us have little faith in our federal government. They have led us into this economic quagmire, and nothing they have done in the last two weeks has convinced us that they have the wisdom or courage to lead us out. But in this terrifying mess one simple question opens the door of hope for most of us; it is a question put to the presidential candidates last night at the debate in Nashville by a woman in Chicago: what sacrifices will you ask of the American people?

We the people don’t believe in Washington; we believe even less in New York; we do believe in ourselves, the American people: our capacity for work, for imagination, for cooperation, for sacrifice, for success. The future of America lies not with the ability of government to raise or cut taxes, to launch or curtail programs, or even to start or end wars. As long as we think along these lines it matters little who sits in the White House.

What we need is a leader who can inspire us to do something. Lincoln and the war, Roosevelt and the depression, and Kennedy and the moon: these are the men who come to my mind. I was eleven years old when Kennedy spoke into the American conscious those words: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” He went on to say: “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.”

We were in the Cold War, and that reality dominated all of his inaugural address. We are in an economic and social struggle every bit as severe; it will take an equal amount of service and sacrifice from us, the American people, for the nation to defeat this economic enemy and reestablish our position as a place of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

So when Obama and McCain were asked last night: what sacrifice will you ask of the American people, they faltered and failed. Obama mentioned in passing “volunteering” and McCain had not one thing to say. I got the impression neither had even thought about the crisis from this perspective.

I have my own ideas. Later, I may write more about these things—but you tell me what you think. How can we the people collaborate in sacrificial ways to lift our great nation out of the economic and moral mess into which we have sunk?

Email me at or simply post a comment to this blog. 25


2 comments so far

  1. spiritualway on

    Dwight, a very, very powerful post! My thought processes are already coming out of my days and days of gloom. I will be commenting futher on this as I think about what I can do to help resolve this mess!!!

  2. Pastor M on

    You are not alone in your thoughts, as David Broder, columnist, noted this, and the gang on Morning Joe, made up of both “conservatives” and “liberals” said the same thing.

    I recommend the advice of John Wesley: “Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: