Be the world's moral lighthouse


I'd like to say that I would step in front of a speeding bus if that would save my kids, but I don't have to face choices like that.

There are parents around the world today who are making unimaginable decisions and sacrifices on the part of their kids.

We don't have to do everything, but we as Americans do have to choose to be a moral lighthouse in an often-dark world.

When we can do something to stop horrors, we ought not to be reluctant just because those horrors don't appear in our back yard.

Not everything that we can or should do needs to spring forth from and through government.

We need to re-think the important division between government funding and government delivery. It's a mistake we often make in domestic policies (think: public delivery of education versus public funding of education), but it's one we also make often in international affairs.

Sometimes, all the government can or should do is to act like a lens, providing focus on a common mission.

Iowans especially should never forget the role played by Herbert Hoover -- the "great humanitarian" of World War I.

Government can concentrate attention and urgency on a problem, even when it can't execute on the delivery of a reaction.

But we can't let ourselves off the hook. I have it so incomparably easy and there are so many people right now who do not. In the long run, I cannot be shaken from the belief that personal liberty, self-government, the rule of law, and market economics will tend to prevail. They accrue to the dignity of the individual, and I don't think the long march of history will permanently deviate from those.

So we have to push, push, and push some more for the systemic answers to be put into place everywhere. But there are also going to be times when we can't wait for history to correct itself, and we're going to have to do something to pave the way for justice and right to prevail.

It would be a conceit to imagine that I have perfect answers to what's happening in North Korea, or Yemen, or South Sudan, or Syria, or Venezuela -- or even in China or Russia. But turning away from the problems that do exist makes us (at the very least) irresponsible bystanders -- if not complicit.

"America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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