Looking for a Realistic Optimist

This country needs a realistic optimist as its president.

A realistic optimist would look at all the assets of this great country and all of its debits, and understand that we don’t need a great social revolution or monumental reforms, but some changes here and there to improve what is really a pretty good place to live.

Yes, we are in a war with people who want to take the world, or more particularly their world, back into the 12th century. But let’s face it, we ought to be able to beat these crazy people in the long run. The world is not going back into the Dark Ages. A little more realistic talk would be helpful here.

Yes, we have a problem with illegal immigration. But America is a land of immigrants, and the immigrants come here because America is a great place to live and work. And, like it or not, the work that many of these illegal immigrants do is the work that keeps America’s economy rolling, whether it be picking strawberries in California or working in a processing plant in Georgia. A common-sense policy that makes it easier to have this work done legally would go a long way in solving the illegal immigration problem.

Yes, we have a big problem with entitlement spending. But we also have people living longer and more productive lives. For many, 70 is the new 50. So let’s have a policy that keeps older Americans in the workforce longer, takes away any tax penalty for working past retirement age, and a plan to diversify retirement plans, pensions and Social Security. And for God’s sake, let’s peg the retirement age to life expectancy. If people are expected to live to 100, they shouldn’t retire at 65. Small changes can make a big difference in 50 years.

Why can’t we make schools better without a new federal bureaucracy? Why can’t we bring order to the classroom so that teachers don’t have to double as armed guards? Why can’t we challenge our kids to learn and make sure that they aren’t bored? Why can’t we pay more attention to training the next generation of leaders?

Gun violence is a big problem. But let’s find a way to take guns out of the hands of criminals while allowing law-abiding citizens to continue to have their constitutional right to bear arms guaranteed.

The sky is not falling, despite what Al Gore might say. But we should do everything we can, with economic incentives, to make this country sparkle, to make the air clean, the water potable, to pick up and dispose of the trash, to protect our natural resources. Let’s pass on this country to the next generation in better shape than how we found it.

As a society, we don’t all have to love one another. I think that is unrealistic. But we should all try to respect one another. Respect for different faiths, different lifestyles, different ethnicities, different regions, and different baseball leagues. I want a president who preaches respect. If God had wanted us all to be the same, he would have just cloned Adam and Eve. But He didn’t and we aren’t all the same. That is the reality and also the opportunity. Vive la difference!

A realistic optimist is what I am looking for in a president. Someone who can look at the world as it is, and understand that while this country has big challenges, it also has great potential.

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