Election Year – Back to the Future (’92)

(Originally written October, 1992)

Yesterday was a really tough day for you. You started early and got some details done at home before rushing off to work. Coming home two hours later than usual, you finally get a bowl of soup for dinner. After an evening of the necessary household chores you fall into bed at 10:35pm. In this exhausted state you slip into a deep sleep…You can clearly see the headlines of the local newspaper for November 4, 2000, which is eight years in the future. In a stunning election, all but seventeen members of Congress have been defeated. A new grass roots party has elected the U.S. President for the first time.

Still in your dreamy state you turn the page and are reminded of the two previous elections. In 1992, Clinton edged Bush in a closer vote than many predicted. While Bush had won the war, he had lost the economy. He had had us “read his lips” right before he and congress raised our taxes in 1989. Many Americans believed Bush did not represent or understand the expanding minority population or the blue collar worker. Only 46% of the adults eighteen and over had voted in that year. Clinton took control quickly in 1993 and increased spending to help the economy. The new tax the “rich” plan increased the taxes for all families making $37,000 or more. The new national medical insurance program caused most doctors over age fifty to quit. By 1995, the medical schools were only half full. Many more college grads went to law school which caused another 18% of U.S. corporations to fold in 1995 due to lawsuits. By 1996, inflation had risen to 13%.

Then four years later on November 6th, 1996, Perot topped Qualye by 41% to 36% with Clinton getting only 23% of the votes. Just as they had been with Bush, the public had little patience with Clinton.  Adult Americans showed apathy again by having only 31% even care enough to vote. Congress reluctantly chose Perot by a 51% to 49% because no one got a majority of the Electoral College. Civil War nearly erupted. Instead of increasing spending, Perot slashed the federal budget 20% a year for two years. By 1998, these sudden cuts led to the first real depression since the 30’s. Perot couldn’t get along with Congress and the political “establishment”. They tried to impeach him but their vote in 1999 barely failed. So that led to the election of General Schwarzkopf in the election year of 2000.

The American public finally realized that even three well meaning presidents could not be miracle workers with a “spend-thrift” Congress.  The grass roots movement had started in Oklahoma in 1992 when normally conservative small business owners voted out their conservative congressman. He had voted 94% right on their “conservative” issues. But he couldn’t even balance his own checkbook or keep his family intact. Discouraged voters finally said let’s vote for leadership that sets an example and provides a role model regardless whether we get our special interests projects passed.

The “grass roots” party vowed to cut each congressional personal budget from $1.9 million to $150,000 and limited their office staff to one person. Their platform called for term limits of 6 years and elimination of all professional lobby groups. The new party encouraged voters to have local churches, hospitals, and school districts get back into helping others and not expect the federal government’s help, which was now broke. Local groups were far more effective with funds than was the large federal government.  Beside the military, all federal agencies were cut by 75%. The depression had caused Americans to sell or stop using half of the automobiles, and neighborhoods became close again.

The article went on to say that in the election over 83% of adults had voted. It’s amazing what happens when times are tough and people have to pull together. Back in the mid 90’s prescription drug abuse had topped the illegal drug problem. But with the depression, people had no money for drugs and had returned to their churches in droves. During the boom years of the 80’s, Americans had expected the government to feed, clothe, and care for them from the cradle to the grave. But the government became large and corrupt, the businesses became rich and greedy, and the workers became lazy. All segments of society saw that Capitalism and Democracy with selfishness and apathy were not much better than Socialism and Communism. Finally, the article concluded that maybe Americans have remembered what a popular president in the 60’s once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country!”

You awake and sit straight up in bed. You quickly try to remember what year it is and realize this was only a dream, or rather a nightmare. Since the election is only days away you know that you need to study the issues from all the candidates and not just for the presidential race. Because you haven’t voted since the 70’s, you decide to check your registration. The dream made you realize that no one man is perfect or a miracle worker. A government needs a large group of unselfish workers who are committed to a common goal. You decide to start tomorrow to change your attitude towards government and be a “giver” not a “taker”. Finally, you vow to never be apathetic again.  Finally, you peacefully drift off to sleep.

Sweet dreams,

Kent Humphreys

P.S. This has been written not to tell you “how” to vote but to encourage your participation in the process. Even more important than the one person who serves us is our “attitude” towards the institutions of our Democracy.

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

2 Responses to Election Year – Back to the Future (’92)

  1. Guy Madison says:

    Excellent post Kent…loved it! Makes you really ponder about the things that are important. Because of differing ideologies, we seem to be an irreparably split nation. A nation divided against itself cannot stand. Gee, where did I hear that one? 🙂 We as a nation must unite again for one cause…the survival of our blessed nation! At this point, it seems that only the Lord can make that happen. There are so many enemies from within. Only God knows the outcome for America. Either way, all things remain and are still possible to those who love Him.

  2. Cathy Westm says:

    Some in this great arena have taken the focus off of truth and placed it on this over promising and under delivering sweet lip trickery. This place is filled with people who can… but won’t. Are we really so lazy to roll over and allow mediocrity? I just don’t accept what’s happening. Thanks Kent. Blessings… vote, vote, vote… not just for change… but for POSITIVE change. Mercy.

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