I started writing this OpEd before the terror attacks of Friday, Nov. 13. I planned to argue that inadequate reporting by the network and print media in the United States has led to in an ill-informed citizenry. In fact, that’s still my argument.
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “peace is best preserved… by giving information to the people.” So what information do we get? We hear and read endless stories focused on the peripheral, sensational issues like “global warming,” the latest moronic societal curiosity ( Caitlyn Jenner’s voice training, for example) and Deflategate. While it is possible these peripheral matters may someday have an influence on our lifestyle, the far more important and imminent issues we face are terrorism (ISIS), our out-of-control national debt (a soon-to-be $20 trillion “mortgage” against our future) and cyberattacks.
Most of the atrocities committed by ISIS have been getting a good leaving-alone by the media and the Obama administration. Unless it is a U.S. citizen who is beheaded, the story, if there is one, is a scant mention of the body count. Hopefully, the bombing of the Russian passenger plane and the Paris attacks have caused us to pull our collective heads out of the sand. We can fight ISIS where they live today or here on our soil tomorrow. And we had better not send the JV team to do the job.
Federal spending is out of control; therefore, our national debt continues to increase. The debt service on our debt — expected to grow soon to $20 trillion — is on track, in just a few years, to exceed the amount we spend on housing, transportation, education and veterans’ benefits, especially as interest rates return to historically normal levels. Debt service is expected to account for a quarter of our spending growth over the next decade.
Quite simply, our bloated debt is a disaster waiting to happen. When is the last time this story made the news?
The third issue, cyberattacks, is so far under the common man’s radar that it probably sounds like science fiction. But it is not fiction. It’s happening now and is the form of warfare we are least prepared to address. There have been congressional hearings on cybersecurity and, according to Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, the nation’s electric grid has been targeted more than 300 times since 2011, with no suspects identified. We have been lucky so far.
Ted Koppel’s new book, “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath,” may finally get the media to focus on this subject for a few days. But then, it will probably be back to stories about sharks attacking swimmers. Now, that’s news!
So who will lead us as we confront ISIS, the debt mess and cyberattacks?
Hillary Clinton? Her lack of judgment (her personal email server, philandering husband, the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of millions of dollars from foreign governments while Clinton served as secretary of state) combined with her history of tall tales (Benghazi, evading sniper fire at Tuzla airport in Bosnia, trying to join the Marines) disqualifies Clinton as a candidate for any office above dog catcher.
Wait. This is not a partisan attack.
Dr. Ben Carson, while reportedly a great surgeon, has some pretty strange beliefs. Beliefs, after all, are important indicators, and Carson has stated he believes the pyramids were built to store grain. Citizens are entitled to their beliefs, delusional or not, but we cannot have a president who operates in an alternate reality.
And then there is Donald Trump. While he probably has it right in many cases, Trump suffers from the same “my way or the highway” personality as Maine’s governor. I am not sure his style would be effective in Washington, D.C., but I am confident Vladimir Putin ain’t routin’ for Trump.
Mitt Romney anyone?
Randy Poulton lives in Winterport with his wife Deborah. He is trying to retire after a long career in the Bangor-area design and construction industry.