Friday, December 28, 2012

An American Hero Falls

Last time we spoke I was lamenting the decline of leadership in our country.  Well, of the few that are left, we lost one of our great leaders and true American heroes yesterday, General Norman Schwartzkopf.  "Stormin' Norman" came into the limelight and our living rooms as the voice and face of the first Persian Gulf War while serving as Commander of U.S. Central Command in Desert Storm.  He became the star of the first 24-hour news cycle war, fostered by the cable news networks, and a man who commanded respect wherever he appeared and whenever he spoke. 

Most people had never heard of General Schwartkopf before he commanded the U.S.-led international coalition troops who pushed Saddam Hussein's supposedly-elite Republican Guard from Kuwait City back to Iraq with their tails between their legs in 1991.  After that brilliant victory, his became a household name and our fighting troops regained the respect of all Americans that had been lost during the Vietnam war.

Schwartzkopf was a hero in Vietnam, rescuing an entire platoon caught in a mine-field by personally leading them to safety.  For this action and many more he was the recipient of a Purple Heart, the Silver Star, a Bronze Star medal and many Commendation Medals, just to name a few.  He was a man of strength, courage and valor.  He was a man of integrity and determination.  He was a visionary leader and his leadership will be missed.

Norman Schwartzkopf was the kind of man we need in Washington.  We need his kind of leadership in the White House and in the Congress.  What we have instead are, for the most part, a bunch of self-serving, egotistical, even borderline narcissistic men and women who put the needs of American people and our future second to everything else, especially their own re-elections.  The only way for us to fix that is to vote those who do not represent us and who do not exhibit the courage to make the hard decisions to solve the difficult problems we face today out of office.  Someone once said that all politicians are like baby diapers, they need to be changed often and for the same reason.  Well, it is time to change the stinks!

Like the General, however, who would never have asked his troops to do anything he wasn't either willing to do or had not already done himself, we ALL have to make certain sacrifices.  To get out of this massive budget deficit, we are ALL going to have to pay more taxes.  We are ALL going to have to do with fewer services, fewer entitlements, fewer hand-outs.  We are ALL going to have to tighten our belts and learn to live with less....not just the super rich (all those "millionaires and billionaires" the President keeps demonizing) but every American citizen.  Those who incurred the debt need to pay the debt. It is the only way to keep from mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren. 

In my opinion, neither political party has a flawless strategy or a clear plan to turn our economy around and set America back on the path to prosperity.  Neither has the perfect solution to our problems nor the backbone to stand for what is needed and what is right.  Neither has the leadership skills of a Norman Schwartzkopf and, for that, our nation should mourn all the more. 


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