Let's face it. Americans are momentarians. What do I mean by that and what makes an American a momentarian?
A momentarian is a person that lives in the present at the expense of the future. He or she is consumed with the here and now and has little or no regard for their future or their children's futures.
It may not necessarily be their fault, however. Many Americans are fixated on the present, because their circumstances demand it.
Today, it is so difficult for millions of families in America just to make ends meet, they can't be bothered with the future. With unemployment still hovering near 9%, gas prices rising, home foreclosures soaring, wars raging and inflation rearing its ugly head on consumer products and food stuffs is it any wonder that Americans cannot be concerned with their long-range future?
In the most recent polling by Rasmussen in March, 2011, Americans were asked if the United States is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction. Americans responded as follows: Right Direction: 26.8%; Wrong
Direction: 64.6%. How does this number break out in terms of party affiliation?
Confidence that the country is moving in the right direction is at 40% among Democrats while only 8% of Republicans and 20% of Americans who do not consider themselves affiliated with any political party share that concern.
What this poll tells us is that regardless of party affiliation an overwhelming majority of Americans are worried about the future which makes them even more likely to ignore it.
Great societies are perpetuated not only when they provide for the moment but plan for their future. Therefore, America can never allow herself to surrender to momentarianism.
Now is the time for all Americans to rediscover a sense of duty and purpose for our own and our nation's future. While we face many difficult challenges ahead, there is no challenge we cannot meet and overcome if we put our collective minds and hands to it.
America in 2011 is a dry desert. We thirst for leaders whounderstand the challenges we face and who are willing to take them on with the sole purpose of accomplishment.
Our nation faces tough problems including, high unemployment, energy challenges and dependence, national security threats, immigration, our government spending too much, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and businesses that lack confidence.
Many of our woes are self-inflicted. Over-extending family budgets, skyrocketing personal debt, failure to plan for our energy needs has made us irresponsible. It's too easy to blame government for all our ills. Many of the challenges we face are a direct result of our momentarianism.
Today, America is in search of leaders, people who will work in good faith for the greater good and lead us with the same sense of vision, hope, and optimism exhibited by Presidents Reagan and Kennedy.
In the early 1960s President Kennedy declared that America would have a man on the moon by the close of the decade. At the time he made that statement our nation did not have the technology to achieve such an unthinkable goal. Yet while
many Americans scoffed at the president's bold claim, but many more were inspired.
Our nation was put to the test. Government was incentivized and business delivered. And the consequences are far reaching: Look at how many of the products we use today that were developed out of that effort.
Even though Kennedy was not alive to see his vision become reality, he still gets the credit for having achieved it. Kennedy was a visionary not a momentarian.
President Reagan was an eternal optimist who preached that America¹s greatest days were ahead of her when he said the following in his first Inaugural Address:
"Can we solve the problems confronting us? Well, the answer is an unequivocal and emphatic 'yes.' To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy."
President Reagan went on to state, ³Well, I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children and our children's children.
Our leaders today must possess that same vision, hope, and optimism of Kennedy and Reagan. We want to be led. We want to be inspired. We want to be hopeful. We want to be challenged. Our elected officials must seek bold accomplishments not just for his time in office but for future generations of Americans.
When Senator Harry Reid, (D, NV) the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate recently said the following with regard to fixing Social Security he is a
"Two decades from now, I'm willing to take a look at itŠ..but I'm not willing to take a look at it right now."
When Congressman Paul Ryan, (R, WI) the ranking member of the House Budget Committee unveiled his ³Road map for America¹s future² and said the following, he was a statesman:
³It is not too late to take control of our fiscal and economic future. But the longer we wait, the bigger the problem becomes and the more difficult our options for solving it.
The Road Map promotes our national prosperity by limiting government's burden of spending, mandates and regulation. It ensures the opportunity for individuals to fulfill their human potential and enjoy the satisfaction of their own achievements‹and it secures the distinctly American legacy of leaving the next generation better off.²
Our immediate and long-term future requires our attention and action. If we are content with living for the moment then we have to resign ourselves to the fact that the best days of our country are to be found in history books.
A call to action is what is needed. That call must come from leaders with the experience, vision, and determination to get things done without regard to political and personal cost. It is easy to be a politician but it is hard to be a statesman.
I submit that no great challenge is without hardship and that no truly great leader was appreciated in his or her time. It is only after the passage of time that greatness can be truly identified because that greatness does not lie in the moment and that the hardship endured was worth the bounty of the reward.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion.