In pursuit of this goal, one might ask the following question: What is America's greatest export? Is it oil and gas? Is it weapons of war? Is it technology? Is it capitalism? Or what other tangible thing?
It is none of the above. Our greatest export is, and has been for many decades, our democracy.
It began with an invitation: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free." That was followed by waves of immigration and an onslaught of ideas that swept us into a bright future of innovation, invention, growth and tolerance. Then the country was riven with a civil war dividing north from south, a war that is still being fought on some fronts.
World War II was a major threat to this growth period, with many citizens preferring an isolationist position to one of spending blood and treasure. Fortunately, with the help of our Allies, we were victorious in that long bloody battle.
A new market for export was also born in that era, one that Dwight Eisenhower warned us about: the military-industrial complex. We paid him no heed and lurched into wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, none of which we won.
Many other unnamed conflicts embroiled us. Many were fought in the name or our "national interest", a colloquialism for corporate greed that not only loosened our grip on democracy but shattered the lives of millions of people caught up in the false patriotism that is a mark of today's false sense of security.
And now one might ask the following question: "Who governs us?"
Clearly the world is wondering the same thing, and clearly not all news is "fake news."
Who is this man in the White Castle? What are his credentials to govern? Why is the United States Congress in neutral? Where are our statesmen and women?
One thing in common with democracies is that they are bodies of compromise. They are not oligarchies. The United States is not a kingdom. The man in the White Castle promises greatness while disregarding that our Constitution actually establishes three separate groups, independent from each other, to offer governing with a sense of balance.
Whether one is a Democrat or Republican, a foreboding sense of being on the wrong path pervades reality. With the war on school children at a new high, the NRA (No Rules Allowed) tightens its hold on the pretense of a Second Amendment that was written when a gun was a single shot weapon that took minutes to reload.
The NRA's weapon is money. One solution offered is to arm teachers, train them how to shoot and expect them to deliver excellence in teaching while they are already underpaid and overworked. What insanity is that?
If this man in the White Castle is such a brilliant businessman, wealthy beyond belief in his own view, where is his income tax statement to support this? In his self-proclaimed status of being a leader in managing great projects, why have more than 60 high-level members of his team left in the first year of his leadership? Why does his approach to Congress lean heavily towards demands rather than suggestions about how to bridge the divides that occur normally in the discourse over complex issues?
Honest, deliberative answers to these questions may eventually come to light, but it is hard to believe that may occur with the current body politic.
Use your vote!
Ken O'Neil lives in Valdez.