Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer

Tom in Iraq as a Military Observer
They sent me here just to watch...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Recalled to active duty.

On November 7th, 2012, 4 men need to be recalled to active duty for 60 days of government service.

They are Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.  Each may bring 3 assistants with them.

Why would we do this?

To build an independent task force to prioritize and strategize on how to address this nation’s problems and how to realize the opportunities before us.

Why recall presidents?  Why not experts?  Why not technical experts?

Because these 4 men have all been the chief executive and know that no campaign agenda will survive fully once in office.  These 4 men have no further political ambition.  We have seen former presidents work together to produce excellent results before.  The burden of the office is lifted.  There is no election at stake.  There is a lot of hard earned experience that could be leveraged in the name of statesmanship and patriotism instead of party loyalty.

Why 60 days?

So the plan may be before the president and congress by the time everyone is ready to get to work in 2013.  There will be some familiar faces and some new ones in our government.  We won’t have the scorecard completed until the election is over, but we could have a bi-partisan plan in place by the time they all took office for the term to which they were elected.

Politically and philosophically, this country is split in half—or so nearly so that compromise, tradeoffs, and perhaps even a little synergy and creativity will be needed to get anything of substance done in the New Year.  This is not such a bad thing.  Our representatives will have to talk to and listen to each other to get anything done.

Would it not be easier if they were handed a blueprint for the first steps?
Would it not be more expeditious if 4 men of presidential stature proposed the give-and-take in advance?
Would 4 men who held the oval office not be the best equipped to move beyond politics to solutions?

There have been bipartisan commissions before.  Sometimes their recommendations were followed and sometimes their efforts were squandered.  Sometimes the bipartisan group could not produce anything of substance.

But would 4 former chief executives settle for anything less than something workable—perhaps even something excellent?  Would they not work together to produce the best possible strategy for a nation struggling to maintain both liberty and an economy?  Would they not be the wisest counsel available for addressing our current wars and those conflicts which seem to be looming on the horizon?  Could they not come up with the best approach for job creation and deficit reduction?

I say, let’s recall these 4 men to active duty for 60 days and have them work out the basics before the next terms begin.

Let’s jumpstart the cooperative process in our government before the new government convenes.  Let’s give them no choice but to hit the deck running.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Get to work

Do you remember the days when someone hired you to do a job and you were actually expected to do the job?  I know that there are some old enough to remember.  It wasn’t but a decade or two ago when work, team work, and completed work were still words active in our vocabularies.

On Tuesday, 6 November 2012, those registered voters so inclined to exercise their vote will do so if they have not already availed themselves of an early voting option.  After the continuation of the process in the Electoral College, we will likely have a president for the next 4 years.  It may be the one we have now or a new one, but if the miracle of our republic continues, it will once again come without bloodshed or tanks in the streets.  Congress will surely be full once again with some old and some new faces.

To say that this process comes at a price is to slight the term understatement.  We pay an incredible price in vitriol and acrimony.  The election process widens the chasm between parties and within the electorate.  There are no clean hands here.  Politics is dirty business and we have become exceptional business men in this trade.

But the campaigns will end. 
God willing, they will end.

And when they do, it is time for the citizens of this Grand Experiment to send a clear message to all of our elected officials.


No blaming.
No posturing for the next round of elections.
No excuses.

Regardless of the faith of our representatives, all of them could take heed of the words that Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23-24.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Our representatives need an immediate reminder that they don’t work for themselves or their party or the President or the Speaker of the House.  They need to be reminded that we don’t need any more politicians.  We do have a need for statesmen.  We have a need for men and women who will honor their values and the values of this nation and work together with other representatives from other areas of our nation to preserve the blessings of liberty not only for ourselves but for our posterity.

While the election will soon be over—none too soon for many—the process of self government continues for each of us.  We must inundate inboxes—physical and electronic--- of our officials with letters, messages, and notes that read:  GET TO WORK.

Some cynically say that we get the government that we pay for.  It’s easy to get caught up in that game especially with the nature and finance of modern campaigns.  The problem is that cynicism leads to self-pity and pretty soon we are all victims.

 Victims of what? 
The system?

No, we become victims of our own choices; specifically, the choice to stop being involved.
Sometimes I wonder if God isn’t shaking his head saying, “So you guys want to try self-government, do you?”

We say we do, but we vote and forget, or maybe it’s vote and complain.

But will just telling our elected officials to GET TO WORK be enough?

No, but it is a starting point.  With such divergent views represented, they are also going to have to learn to listen to each other.  This is a tough task as they had to do a lot of talking to get elected.

For most of my adult life, I have preferred the proactive approach.  So why don’t we all go ahead and fill out the body of the letter or email that we will send to each of our officials once we know who they are.  We can add the names later.

Go ahead and start writing.  What to say?  How about:

Get to work.
Listen and learn.
Learn and listen.
Grow into a statesman.
Don’t shrink into a politician.
Yes, that means working for a greater good.
Yes, that means working for the best interests of this nation not for any special interest.  The nation is the only special interest, and we are very special.
Sometimes you may have to compromise on approaches, but never on values or integrity.
Sometimes you may find that synergy is attainable and it is always better than compromise.
Never forget that you are privileged to serve.  You are not entitled to anything special.
This nation is a Grand Experiment.  We expect nothing less than your best while you are its servant.
Learn to love the name servant.
If you can’t do that, you will become a politician and you just need to go home.
But we have great expectations for you.
We are praying for you.
We are praying that God will guide you and equip you to do wonderful things in the service of our nation.
Now get to work!