I am truly scared right now for the future of our country. I know that I have said that before but this time I think that our political system is so fractured and split that both sides are willing to plunge us into fiscal chaos just to prove a point. As you read this column we are only four days from the so-called "fiscal cliff" that threatens our whole economic structure and baring a miracle I don't see a solution in sight.
On the one side we have a president that campaigned, and won, on the principles of class warfare – let's tax the rich and give to the poor – and thinks bigger government is better government. And, on the other side we have a Speaker of the House that has a small group within his own party that is so anti-tax that they will not give an inch, even in the face of a fiscal Armageddon.
Let me make something perfectly clear, I think that our nation's fiscal problems stem from too much spending. For far too long we have seen government expand its reach and with that expansion a greater appetite for more and more tax dollars from American citizens. Both parties can certainly share in that blame but facts don't lie that in the last four years our national debt has skyrocketed exponentially until we are now at a point from which I'm not sure we can return.
While I would like to think we can cut our way out of this mess, I have to be pragmatic and know that in the short term there is going to have to be additional tax revenue. But, I also think that we need a plan to cut spending or else we will never see the top of this mountain of debt. The problem is that both sides seem to be so dug in with their positions that I truly think they will let our economy fail just to prove the other side wrong.
So what can we do as an average citizen? Sadly, not a lot right now. It is now in the hands of our political leaders in Washington and frankly, I don't see a real leader stepping forward to broker the compromise that we so desperately need. All I see is a lot of political posturing. I guess that the best we can do is pray that some how, some way a deal is made. I know that's what I'm doing.
While a lot of us are scared for our country, I am somewhat ashamed that I am so fearful. I have placed far too much trust in our political leaders and far too little trust in my spiritual leader – Jesus Christ. Man fails every day but my God never fails. I know that He has a plan bigger than any one person or any one country and I need to trust more in Him and realize that His leadership is all that should really matter.
Page 2 of 2 - We place so much emphasis on fiscal concerns, both personal and governmental, that we often times forget what is truly important in life. The news media hypes Black Friday and Cyber Monday and focuses so much on the materialistic meaning of Christmas that the true meaning is often lost. But, thankfully it isn't lost on everyone. The various community dinners around the area, including an outstanding one here in Neosho, proves that there are still individuals in this world that care more about service to others than they do about service to self.
As the family gathered over the holidays, we were watching television and the movie "City Slickers" was on. In that movie Mitch, the character played by Billy Crystal, is searching for the meaning of life on a cattle drive. The drive boss, Curly, played by Jack Palance, asks Mitch if he knows the secret to life. Curly then holds up his index finger and says "this." Mitch is confused and Curly tells him that it's "One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean nothing." Mitch asks, "What's the one thing?" Curly replies, "That's what 'you' have to find out."
How true that is of each of us. It seems that we depend on material things to satisfy our desires and make us happy and we never search within ourselves for the true meaning of happiness. As Curly states, that one "thing" is unique to each of us but as for me, besides, my Christian faith, that one thing is family – both blood relatives and friends that are like family. For me, you can have all the "things" in the world but if you don't have your family then you really don't have anything.
My prayer for you this coming year is that each of you can find that one "thing" that gives you meaning in your life. May God bless each of you and have a Happy New Year.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.