As the present melts down in the midst of the worst economic debacle in modern American history, I am thinking back to what it felt like during the nightmare that was Jimmy Carter’s “malaise.” At the time I was a recent college graduate working at a large old-fashioned corporation that was known for its tight-fisted employee pay policy. But in 1980 this company gave all of its employees an unheard-of thing, a bonus! And it was an eight percent bonus of all things. Along with the check was a letter that explained that this one-time largesse was provided because the company was aware that inflation would hammer all of us with much more than that percentage of our salaries.
Being young and naively optimistic I wasn’t worried about the economy. But at the same time as the economic crisis, the Iran Hostage Crisis was occurring. And at about the same time as that bonus we heard about the failed rescue attempt that Carter’s military team botched. Helicopters collided in the desert outside of Tehran and dead American soldiers were left there to be pawed at by the Ayatollah’s henchmen when they reached the site of the crash. That was the lowest day I had experienced as an American in my short life. And I remembered thinking, “This can’t go on. Someone has to fix this.” And later that year that man appeared, Ronald Reagan and over the course of his presidency it appeared that he fixed a lot of what seemed to be wrong with America under Jimmy Carter.
So here we are more than forty years later and damned if we aren’t in much the same situation we were in back then. But now it’s so much worse. The changes we have to make are not incremental. They’re gargantuan. Our opponents aren’t misguided but loyal Americans. They’re traitors and criminals. And we’re no longer a unified dynamic powerhouse of innovation. Our industrial base is in ruins. Our people are at each other’s throats. And just to top it all off, millions of illegal immigrants are pouring over our borders every year. It sounds like a lost cause.
But by the same token, it’s only because things are so dire, so dark. It’s only because people are so desperate that there is the chance to make a radical change. If a visionary thinker emerges who has thought of a path out of this nightmare we’re trapped in, I believe people will roll the dice and try to save themselves by trying something radical.
What it requires is someone who can communicate simply and convincingly how we get ourselves out of this trap. Reagan was called the “Great Communicator” because he could help common people visualize the economic and monetary problems we faced with simple images. This is what the next man who comes along to fix this broken country will have to do. He will have to communicate to this country what needs to be done and how and why.
So far, I don’t think anyone has come forward with a clear explanation of how we fix things. We have so many problems that instead of a simple solution it seems like mission impossible. We have to balance the budget, end illegal immigration, safeguard the elections, defang the Deep State and return the industrial base back to the United States.
But as I said, because things are so bad, I believe this is precisely the time that people will be willing to allow drastic measures to be used in drastic circumstances. But where is Superman? Who will step forward and be the hero? Honestly, I’m not sure there is a hero. We’re looking for an Augustus. Someone very smart and very brave and very tough.
But things are so bad that I’ll have to add one other quality that our hero will need. He’ll need to be very lucky.