By DENNIS REGAN
This once-great nation is in serious trouble regardless of who wins the upcoming election. The American empire is crumbling from within, not from some outside enemy force. We've lost our moral compass, and many of us, including myself, have stayed on the sidelines far too long hoping things would improve.
We're going down the wrong road on so many issues that it's time to take a stand. I'm neither Democratic nor Republican just an old-fashioned, no-nonsense American patriot! I'm fed up with "Politics as usual" at the federal and state level, and I'm not going to take it anymore!
If you're a person who's easily offended, I'd advise you to stop reading right here. Being "politically correct" is of no concern to me. That's actually part of our problem: our so-called "leaders" too often fall into the category of self-serving hypocrites, and it's time for this behavior to stop.
My hope is for a decent future for my children and possible grandchildren, and my suggestions are simple and straight from the heart.
Start by clearing out every single lobbyist from the state and federal level - give them 48 hours to clean out their desks and "get out of Dodge." Our lawmakers have been influenced far too long by the special interests, and it's time for them to start doing what's right by the American people.
Abolish the IRS and convert to a consumption tax to fund our government. It's an absolute disgrace that we've put up with a tax code that now contains over 16,000 pages. Everyone pays under a consumption tax - there are no loopholes! Corporations would assume their fair share by paying this tax on any raw materials used in producing their product.
This country doesn't have a revenue problem - it has a spending problem, and it's time to re-direct how those resources are spent. Addressing the welfare problem is enormous - how about limiting welfare benefits to a two-year maximum. No more lifetime benefits (unless there are disabilities involved). During this two year period, make it mandatory to attend free training for marketable job skills, English and reading classes, and provide free child care as well. If the client doesn't attend these classes...they don't receive any benefits!
How about bringing home the troops from foreign soil and stop fighting "resource wars" like the ones we fight now for oil? Don't tell me we're in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our "national security" - we're not, and the sooner we bring our young men and women home the better off we'll all be.
Charlie Reese, whose column used to appear in the Dunkirk OBSERVER, said it best: "Do not hand your one-of-a-kind children over to cynical men who will squander their lives without blinking an eye. It is a sad thing to die for another man's profit."
Let "big oil" protect its own interests overseas by hiring mercenary troops to watch over the oil fields. They could easily afford this by diverting several millions of dollars they now spend on over-paying their chief executives.
As far as political unrest goes, let the United Nations assume the role of "world policeman." It's time for us to re-dedicate our resources to developing our own country, and stop interfering in the affairs of foreign nations. The only politicians we should be concerned about are our own.
The bottom line here is we find ourselves in a mess that is largely self-inflicted. The points I've raised can be partially attributed to "men behaving badly." It's time for more patriots to step forward and make it known that maintaining the status quo will NOT be tolerated any longer.
The call has gone out for a return to fundamental values like discipline, courage, hard work, and the ability to prevail - to "stay the course" in the face of obstacles. At the top of the list I would place the phrase that sends shivers down the spines of so many Americans ... personal responsibility.
We were once a great nation ... whether we're able to return to that high place will only be determined by the actions of men and women like you. And we don't have time to waste on the distractions of the day - every minute we waste brings us closer to our untimely demise.
Dennis Regan is a Gowanda resident.