In 1962, Richard Nixon published “Six Crises” a book about the top political situations that he had to deal with in his political career. It was written in response to Jack Kennedy’s “Profile in Courage,” a book written by his speechwriter but attributed to him that detailed the political careers of eight United States Senators in history who took unpopular positions in the face of angry constituents.
Including in Nixon’s Six Crises were his election loss to Kennedy, his infamous Checkers speech (where he refuted charges that he was a crook) and his efforts to get Alger Hiss thrown in jail for spying for the Communist Russia.
One man’s crisis is another man’s opportunity.
Indeed there are two definitions offered of the word “crisis” in the dictionary. One is profound danger. The other is a turning point in a disease that could either lead to recovery or death.
Nixon’s crises were political turning points for him. What didn’t kill him made him stronger. And soon, he went from a political loser to a two-time Presidential winner, an impressive feat for a man who was hated by the media for taking on the Communists at the State Department.
But political crises are different than real crises.
Political crises as defined by somebody like Richard Nixon had more to do with his political future than it did the future of the nation.
And real crises have real consequences.
The national media likes to cover the latest so-called political crises dealing with Donald Trump, the Russians and whoever his son might have met with during the campaign.
But all of that is non-sense, especially when considered in light of actual crises.
What are some actual crises?
Well, how about the opioid epidemic that has swept through rural, suburban and urban America?
I read a story earlier today about a Cathedral in Philadelphia that has transformed itself into a heroin den. Hundreds of junkies have parked themselves in the abandoned church and shoot themselves off with a particularly potent blend of drugs.
This is a true crisis and it is sweeping the nation.
Another crisis is the daily slaughter of black children in the streets of Chicago, Baltimore and other urban areas.
The left likes to blame lax gun laws, and maybe it is too easy for gang bangers to get guns. But this isn’t at heart a gun problem. This is a character problem. These children can’t resolve their disagreements without losing their minds and using whatever weapons they have available to them.
If it is not guns, it is knives, and if you check the numbers, I betcha the number of people stabbed to death in these communities is just as high as those who get shot.
This is a real crisis.
We are going to have a debt crisis in this country.
It’s not going to happen this week or this month or this year. But we are running out of money and when we run out of money and run out of creditors, it will have a real impact on real lives.
Congress can’t agree to slow the growth of Medicaid to a more manageable number, mostly because so many people on Medicaid are addicted to opioids or heroin.
But if we don’t control our entitlement spending, we are heading for a huge fall. This is a crisis and the media ignores it.
Another crisis? Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the cost of taking care of an elderly population that can’t take care of itself.
You want to know why Medicare keeps getting more expensive? And outside of opioids, why Medicaid keeps growing in enrollees. It’s because people are living longer but their kids aren’t having enough kids to pay for their Social Security benefits.
This is another crisis.
Is North Korea a crisis? It is. And it might become a bigger one. Terrorism? Sure, we should be somewhat concerned about that.
But those issues aren’t what impacts most people at the local level.
What impacts the bulk of the American people is an economy that is not properly balanced with enough growth to fortify the middle class and with an adequate distribution, so that the poor aren’t stuck in poverty for their whole lives.
That, of course, requires proper education, but also the kind of family arrangement that makes it easier for kids to thrive.
You know what is a real crisis in this country? The breakdown of the nuclear family. This hits the poorest the hardest. The upper middle class stays together, stays married, takes an active interest in their children, creates wealth, makes the kids stay in school, stays off drugs (mostly, but not always), and otherwise does smart things that make things better.
David Brooks has a column in today’s New York Times which basically blames the Upper Middle Class for ruining America because they have good habits. Here is his theory:
“Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.”
This is all liberal pablum. We shouldn’t be tearing down the successful for being successful. We instead should be examining why those at the bottom can’t get their sea legs in life, why they can’t stay in school, stay off drugs, stay married, and stay employed.
The crisis in America is not a crisis of the successful being too successful. The crisis in America is about how the poor can’t stay on the right track. It’s not just about economics. It is not just about race or discrimination, although that certainly plays a role in some places. And it’s not about the rich climbing up the ladder and pulling it up behind them.
We have a crisis of bad habits in this country and it is killing us literally and figuratively.
We should focus more on the real crises and less on the manufactured political crises manufactured by the media elite.
John Feehery is President of Communications and Director of Government Affairs for Quinn Gillespie and Associates, Washington, D.C.’s top public affairs firm. He is also a frequent commentator on the political landscape, widely quoted around the country and often seen on such television programs as CNN’s The Situation Room, MSNBC’s Hardball, and Bloomberg Television’s Money and Politics. He is also a columnist for The Hill. His writing appears regularly on Political Storm.