The Most Crucial Issues

By Bauer, Gary L. | The World and I, March 1997 | Go to article overview

The Most Crucial Issues


Bauer, Gary L., The World and I


Americans have begun to evaluate governmental policy on welfare, education, and health care in terms of how it affects their families.

Would you die for a balanced budget? Would you die for campaign finance reform? For term limits? Would you die for a trade opportunity on the other side of the world? Of course not. Would you die for your family? Of course you would.

Americans care about economic policy, about foreign policy, about government ethics, and related topics, but we care more about our families. Indeed, we view nearly all these issues through the lens of how they affect our families.

That's why, despite a strong economy and job growth, many Americans feel badly about our country and where it's going. For more than 20 years, one-half to two-thirds of the American people have been telling the pollsters that America is headed in the wrong direction. They said that when George Bush was in the Oval Office and the Democrats controlled the Congress. They're saying it this year, with the Democrats in control of the White House and the Republicans in control of Congress.

The reason for this statement is bigger than the last election returns; it's bigger than the economy; it's bigger than the strength of our military. It's about our heart and soul. It's about who we are, where we're going, and what kind of country we will give to our children.

Our fellow Americans get up every morning and they read the same stories you and I read: a mother strapping her children into the backseat of a car and sending it to the bottom of a lake in South Carolina, a little 7-year-old in Chicago thrown from a fifth-story window because he wouldn't agree to shoplift for two 11-year-olds. Two college students from upper-class families going to a hotel room, where the woman gives birth to a child whose tiny skull they allegedly smash and whose little body they then discard in a trash can outside the hotel. A family in Los Angeles making one wrong turn, and, before they could get off that street of killers, seeing their 3-year-old child slain by sniper fire.

There are different ways to measure a great nation. You can measure it by the size of its economy, the strength of its military, or the gleam of its cities. But you can also measure a nation by how many of its families are broken, how coarse its culture is, and how big its virtue deficit is.

The fact of the matter is that all over this country, too many children are without their fathers' arms to comfort them. Too many children are exploited by drugs or pornography or sexual abuse. By those measurements, America is in danger of becoming something much less than a great country.

At stake is nothing less than whether this great experiment in ordered liberty under God can survive. That issue should have been debated in the last campaign. If this nation and the ideas on which it was founded are to survive, we must return to family values.

First, our national soul will continue its moral decay until we acknowledge the sanctity of human life. This nation must protect its innocent, unborn children. Opinion polls consistently show that most Americans oppose most abortions. Thomas Jefferson said, "The protection of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

The "silent scream" of every aborted baby proclaims that the country that has lit the path toward freedom for the rest of the world has failed at the fundamental function of any good and just government. Moreover, it shouts that this country does not even value its children.

The self-destructive behavior of America's young people--suicide, drug abuse, and so forth--shows that our children have bought into society's view of them as worthless. We see further in alarming crime rates and shocking killings the inevitable results of the cheapening of human life.

We must enact specific prolife legislation, such as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, a bill that would limit a particularly painful and gruesome late-term abortion method.

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