John Edwards lost his presidential ambitions in 2008 to Barack Obama's ascendancy and now has lost his Father of the Year ambitions to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he was right on about one thing:
There are two Americas.
Of course John Edwards meant that there is an America made up of Haves and Have-Nots. But the truer picture is that America is composed of Knows and Know-Nots. That is, those who know and live what made the United States the greatest country in the history of the world, and those who don't know that, but do live off it.
In John Edwards lottery-winning trial lawyer world, the Have-Nots are hopelessly oppressed and can only be saved by smarter people like him. In truth, this class warfare take on America is the essence of the Know-Not world. It is fueled by an ever growing underclass of people who thrive on being victims and who look to the government for everything in life from their cell phone service to their health care, coupled with a fat upper class of over-educated, over-served, self-idolizing manipulators like John Edwards (in the best tradition of Teddy Kennedy and Bill Clinton, leading straight through to Barack Obama) who are using the ignorant, malleable masses to maintain political power.
In the middle between those two extremes lies the "real America," the one that rebelled against British oppression, that settled the Original Sin of its nearly perfect Constitution in a civil war, that snuffed out European Nazism and Asian empiricism by shedding its own sons' blood, and then defeated Stalininism with moral and economic superiority. The real America is a collection of self-reliant individualists who get up with an alarm clock, go the extra mile, have strong faith, adhere to a strict moral code, and are good neighbors. The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in real America because the American system of freedom and opportunity and limited government makes everyone an over-achiever.
As a business owner, I must by nature be an optimist. But also as a business owner I must be a realist. I don't easily admit defeat, nor do I keep plodding on starry-eyed in the face of defeat. Even if I wanted to, the bottom line reality of running a business would keep me from doing so.
So as an optimist I do think that ultimately the individual human spirit will prevail but here is the realism that I think we all must now face:
The battle for America is lost to the Know-Nots.
Even if a conservative candidate wins the presidency in 2012, even if both houses of Congress are won by conservatives, the moral compass of the country, the hearts and minds of the plurality of its population if not of its electorate, has been corrupted so thoroughly by the Know-Nots that we will not recover before America has lost its place as the leader of the world and we have become a third world country. And in such a weakened state, we are ripe to lose our sovereignty. Anything could happen. China looms. Russia crouches. Islamists theaten. The prospect is bleak.
The evidence of our decline is too great to enumerate in detail, but just a sampling of the news suffices, I think, to bolster my point:
We have a president who refuses to embrace victory, won't protect our borders, despises capitalism, bows to foreign leaders, and pointedly eschews the exceptionalism not only of America but of Judeo-Christian civilization altogether. We have a politically correct system that rewards poor performance and punishes excellence. We have a government that is growing in leaps and bounds, paying higher wages than the private sector, spending us into bankruptcy, and enacting a spider web of oppressive federal laws that dictate the very light bulbs and washing machines we can purchase! It is taxing the producers and redistributing the wealth created by their sweat and toil to the 50% who pay no tax at all. And we have every possible class of minorities demanding special treatment such that even sodomists are winning forced acceptance of their sexual perversion on par with traditional marriage and parenting. The rates of divorce, abuse, and addiction among society as a whole are debilitating, draining billions of dollars a year from the economy and creating children who grow up more often than not it seems rootless, insecure, spineless and anything but ready to take on adult responsibilities.
I could go on, but won't. If you are among the Know-Nots, you won't get it. If you are among the other America, you will find no end of examples yourself.
Here's my bottom line:
Even if the war for America is lost for the country as a whole, those of us who love it for what made it great should fight on anyway. That way, though America as we have known it may be defeated in this century, the American spirit will never die. And my faith tells me that even after America falls flat on its face, the American spirit will bring it to greatness again.
That is not what is known as liberation theology! It is, rather, a messianic faith in the resurrection of good over evil.
John Edwards' fall from grace serving as just one example of exactly how that works...