Every now and then the presumptive candidates of the Republican and Democratic Parties take a break from hurling accusations of "flip-flopping" at each other.
During these breaks, they indulge in what can only be described as a competitive "pander fest" whereby each describes the multitude of goodies that will be distributed to favored groups by a beneficent Federal Government. What is entirely missing is any discussion of the hard choices that need to be made in the next four years: energy, education, health care financing, Social Security, Medicare, infrastructure, rogue states, the Middle East etc.
The fault is ours. We have allowed ourselves to become indulgent and selfish whiners to whom much must be given and from whom little may be asked. Addressing another generation, John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address, made this oft quoted, but rarely acted on, statement:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
JFK demanded that we recognize the duties that complement our rights and the obligations that accompany our privileges. We will not long remain a great country if "gimmee, gimmee" replaces e pluribus unum as our national motto.
For those who think that government should be an endless cornucopia of benefits - whether earned or not - Thomas Jefferson also offers some valuable advice:
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.