I shy away from politics (more or less) in this blog. It's not because I don't follow it (it's part of my day job) or don't have political opinions (I do). I generally don't discuss it here because I want this blog to be about creating the culture of preparedness our nation needs. Commending Candidate A or criticizing Candidate B does little to entice readers to put aside whatever political differences they might have with me and consider the larger public policy and cultural issues surrounding a prepared nation.
I'll venture into those waters a bit this morning, as it's become clear to most Americans that we now know who the presumptive nominees for president will be.
Since we're still six months away from the general election, it's much too early to speculate who will win the election. Polling data will change. Debates may help sway undecided voters. A recession or another terrorist attack may also help swing voters to one candidate or the other. That's not just me saying that: consider this piece in, of all places, Emergency Management magazine.
Nonetheless, we know enough about both candidates that we can start making some plans in our own preparedness efforts at home and in our houses of worship, community groups, and workplaces in anticipation that one of them will become president. The (sort of) good news is that for our planning purposes, the two front runners align similarly on key issues.
Many will challenge me on that last point. Those who do, I would submit, are only looking at the hot button issues of the day: transgender bathrooms, immigration, free college tuition, and tax plans. While some of these issues are quite pressing for our nation, I think it's fair to say both candidates would seek to utilize more government involvement - bailouts, cash and credit controls, restrictions on liberty, increased gun control - in times of crisis and its aftermath.
Note I am not predicting Armageddon if either of these candidates becomes president. I am concerned, however, at the response these candidates might have - given their stated positions and philosophies - in a time of national crisis. I am also concerned that their respective policies will not do anything to improve our readiness as a nation.
To be fair, I believe that the most beneficial public policies that could be implemented to improve readiness would be done at the state and local level - meaning that there's not much the federal government can or should be doing, aside from creating disaster savings accounts and offering additional disaster dollars to those states who implement a statewide building code. At the same time, I don't see resiliency and readiness being policy priorities for either Sec. Clinton or Mr. Trump.
Last fall, Americans were polled as to their greatest fears. What do you think topped terrorism and economic collapse to take the number one fear of Americans? Corruption of government officials.
And not only did corruption of government officials win top honors, it crushed the second biggest fear by over 13 points.
Of course, most of us who feel that way would be quick to claim that it's the other political party to blame and not the one to which we belong.
Given that we now know that we're down to Sec. Clinton and Mr. Trump as our presumptive nominees, what should we be doing from a preparedness standpoint?
I know the popular thing to say in this situation is "it's getting bad out there - buy more guns, ammo and MREs. Hunker down and get ready for martial law." Yes, we need to be getting ready....but we also need to be strengthening our communities. It's time those of us in the preparedness movement quit abdicating that responsibility to others and do it ourselves.
Here's where I tell you what I think about things I think about.