So it might be said that American history is a continual warning against confusing theory with reason. Reason may not surface in human affairs as clearly and quickly but, tested by real-life experience at every turn, it may prove far more effective and enduring. Call it a self-correcting system. When government doesn't work, it's changed. Yes, it may take a while, but there's a reason for all those constitutional amendments and landmark
Listening to the jumble of Republican candidates for president debate the other night, if debate is the right term for that random collection of one-liners, sound bites, cheap shots and even an occasional insight, a rough division between two kinds of prospective leaders began to emerge from the clouds of rhetoric:
In one group were the scattershot demagogues like The Donald, whose candidacy remains more about himself than any challenge facing the country. He's a one-man reality show. Then there are the ideologues like
Then there were the voices of candidates as dull as they are reliable. Candidates more interested in solving problems than exploiting them. Once again
The differences between the Republican candidates were particularly pronounced when the long neglected subject of immigration rose to the fore, and Gov. Kasich joined
All three of these candidates had the courage -- and practicality -- to advocate some kind of pathway to citizenship for these immigrants who may have come here illegally but over the years have raised their families, worked hard, paid their taxes, obeyed the law and generally been good citizens without being citizens.
Isn't it time, way past time, that Americans adopted a practical approach to this long neglected problem instead of just letting it fester any further? Those of us who believe in practical solutions, which used to be an American specialty (remember?), would surely respond to such a suggestion with an emphatic Yes!
Other societies were supposed to represent the Wave of the Future from deluded time to time because they had a shiny ideology that was supposed to be the answer to every challenge. But somehow they became the wave of the past. (Fascism and communism, for infamous example.) Back in the 1980s, when
As far back as 1919,
More recently, that popular sage
In the meantime, the good ship America sails on, adjusting its course to weather every new storm, avoiding simple "solutions" to questions not at all simple. No, such an approach may not work perfectly, but it does work. As all those immigrants still flocking to these shores every year testify.
Lest we forget, there should also be a Democratic candidate for president next year, easy as it is to overlook Hillary (The Inevitable) Clinton. That's not just because of her scandal-pocked personal history but because her party hasn't had a new idea since the 1930s and the New Deal, but only more of the same: more regulation, ever higher taxes, and more beneficiaries of government largesse -- whether they're college students looking to dump their debts or union bosses seeking more power.
Ms. Clinton has confused more-of-the-same-thing with progress. It's not. It's just repetition on an ever bigger, more confusing scale. Examples abound: The simple, one-page Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial from investment banking (a nice name for speculation) back in 1933 was one of the great, practical reforms of American history.
But the combination of President
Here's hoping the American people will see through all the political nostrums next year and realize that smaller and simpler is better, and that grandiose plans lead only to a failed past -- not the future of a free and practical America.