Winning the Future

08/01/2006 12:00 am EST

Focus:

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker, US House of Representatives

In his plan for redefining the future for America, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and architect behind the 1994 Republican Contract with America, sets out his strategy to rework government from the ground up.

Sounding very much like a platform for election, Mr. Gingrich's plan touches on all of the–hot–subjects very much in the news today. But unlike many politicians, he actually offers concrete suggestions for improvement.

Unfortunately, his prediction for the War in Iraq is dire. He expects that the war will not be won anytime soon–maybe for years–because we are fighting not just a war on terrorism, but against an Islamic insurgency against the modern world. His suggestions include boosting the funding of federal agencies such as the FBI, Border Patrol, and the Coast Guard to help prevent border erosion and improve intelligence; support the rise of democracy by communicating our message more effectively; capitalize on new military applications; create a better homeland security system; and implement a more successful foreign policy.

On the domestic front, Mr. Gingrich first tackles what he considers the wayward three branches of government. Opining that our Supreme Court has long ago altered its focus from interpreting the Constitution to remaking the Constitution, he suggests a road map for getting America back to its constitutional beginnings.

His primary aim is to return to a system of checks and balances wherein no branch of the government is all-powerful, insisting that all three together should be scaled back to be effective. In other words, Washington, DC has become too powerful and it's time for a grassroots citizen movement to take back their power, which includes accepting personal responsibility.

Mr. Gingrich's plan for reassuming personal accountability encompasses many of the policies that define the Republican Party platform. They include: transforming Social Security into personal savings accounts; controlling our borders; reforming our legal system; and remaking our healthcare system.

His suggestions are interesting, and deviate from the typical solutions being bandied about. Mr. Gingrich is an enthusiastic supporter of technology and believes that greater funding of research and development, more efficient development and delivery systems, and the sharing of knowledge and communication through the Internet may be our salvation for most of the problems that plague America today?whether they relate to our environment, alternative energy, healthcare, or teaching new immigrants what it means to be an American.

And he has a point. He remarks upon the technological prowess of other nations such as China and India, and he fears that we will be left behind.

One aspect that I really enjoyed about his book is this: unlike so many politicians, he doesn't foreign-bash. Instead, he suggests ways to take advantage of worldwide knowledge–from inviting foreign scholars and educators into our country, to participating in common projects, and to sharing our wealth of information via the Internet.

And although you may not agree with his politics, his book brings up issues that our country has been ignoring, or fixing with band-aids, for too long. If nothing else, Mr. Gingrich's book should stimulate conversation–and hopefully–constructive action–that we, as individuals need to take to do our part in winning the future.

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