September 29, 2011 – As of today, the U.S. national debt stands at $14.7 trillion and increases by $3.9 billion per day. That total amounts to about $47,249 per man, woman and child (and illegal immigrant) residing in America, which has an estimated population of 311 million.
Ask Not . . . >
More than ever, our country needs informed and engaged citizens who can positively contribute to the national discourse and political process. Most people attribute the quote of the day as belonging to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy. However, the statement is traced back to ancient times when Cicero (106 – 43 BC), a politician, implored Romans to:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.”
VIDEO: Kennedy’s inaugural address
Over 2,000 years ago, leaders from antiquity realized that it was crucial for citizens to make personal contributions in order for society to thrive. We as citizens must be well-informed if our democracy is to function and if we are to make the proper decisions when electing our officials.
According to studies, 15 percent of Americans do not know that the Earth revolves around the sun; half do not know that Genesis is the first book in scripture; about 1 in 4 Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances). Only 1 in 5 Americans know that there are 100 U.S. senators.
Thomas Jefferson said,
“If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”
In our times, the need to understand facts about the important issues affecting our country is as important as ever. We can be confident in asking intelligent questions to improve ourselves. As Cicero adds, “It is a shameful thing to be weary of inquiry when what we search for is excellence.”
Need for Engaged Citizens >
Most of the government’s spending is funded by borrowing from foreign countries, notably China — nations that in the future are expected to leverage their financing capacity on matters of national security. Last month alone, the federal government ran a budget deficit of $134 billion and pushed the budget shortfall to $1.23 trillion from January to August this year. The national unemployment rate currently stands at 9.1 percent but when adding the number of underemployed citizens as well as those who have stopped looking for work, that figure exceeds a whopping 17 percent.
Les us not depend on entitlement programs. Government handouts make us weak because they decrease our motivation for giving our best effort. Individually, we must strive to live out each day to the utmost of our abilities.
As we begin to reach some measure of personal success, we can then be in a better position to focus our attention on service to others. To be givers. To not selfishly ask what our country can do for us. Rather, what we can do for our country and fellow Americans.