axis-of-evil-obamaGeneral Fabius Maximus was a famous successful Roman contrarian warrior leader. His strategy and tactics were stealthy using delay and gradualism to thwart and win even against the odds.

America was ripe for the Obama revolution of change and swept into the aura of a new brand wrapped in the appealing values and vision of change for the good of all the people and especially the disenfranchised. How could any caring American not resonate to that hope?

The timing was perfectly ripe and ready for a paradigm shift to a people’s movement given the disgust for partisan gridlock in Washington, Congressional oversight gone amuck in regulation of banks, mortgage companies, financial markets, and a war in Iraq that was premised on faulty intelligence or misguided assumptions relative to readiness for a US brand of democracy. The climate was ripe and perfect for a new flavor of almost any alternative even radical that could offer the promise of hope and change.

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One of the greatest lessons of history is that we have not learned the lessons of history. Milton Friedman captured the essence, “Governments never learn, only people learn.” America’s true greatness has been premised on the value of every individual and their right to the pursuit of life, liberty, opportunity and happiness. The source for experiencing those rights is in the ownership by “We the People” and not the “We the Government.” Government is to protect and serve the people’s rights.

President Obama has adopted the Roman General’s Fabian strategy of gradualism with his leverage for brand change by unprecedented Executive Orders which he justifies by blaming the inaction of an unpopular gridlocked Congress. He has appointed 32 leftist czars, played the race card, divided Americans and bypassed the US Congress. The 17 trillion dollar question is how is that working for you and We the People? Tragically the answer for most is that they don’t know yet. That sets the stage for the perfect climate for delay and gradualism taking us to someplace we may not all want to go and where the “hope and change well” is running dry and democracy as it was conceived is killing, not so softly, the American dream.

Conditions are ripe for change with growing poverty, a vanishing middle class, overwhelming CEO greed and ruthlessness, mounting public scandals, corruption and incompetence. The plethora of scandals and the demoralizing war in Iraq and Afghanistan has triggered angry voters pushing closer to taking back the ownership of change. This breach of trust has seeded what could be a coming revolution. It is not too late for economic and political reforms to come about without such a catastrophe.

It the 1970’s, Ravi Batra wrote a book called The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism—One down, one to go. In his current book, The New Golden Age, he concludes: “All of the symptoms that you would expect to see before the start of a rebellion are now here. Anticipate many social and economic cancers, such as abysmal wages, growing poverty, rising homelessness, educational decline, family breakdown and loose morals. They are all here, so revolution may not be very far away.” Batra contends in his new book that the coming revolution, need not be violent nor bloody.

In a true democracy, power and responsibility for it belong to the people. To effect constructive change forget partisanship and think of yourself as a victim of the misrule where self and vested special interests have eclipsed the ideals of your Constitutional rights. Better yet, think of yourself as a catalyst for changing the trust lost and proactively engage in molding and shaping the course of events to restore the principles and practices of democracy as it was conceived. Whatever you dislike today in society stems from the excessive greed and materialism of the ruling class. The cycles of history and revolutions shout the degenerated condition of the nature of man disconnected from the original designed purpose.

Thomas Jefferson the author of the US Constitution said, “When people fear the government there is tyranny. When the Government fears the people there is liberty” No one knows the fine line between the gradualism of liberty lost and anarchy to preserve that liberty. May Henry David Thoreau words echo down the corridors of power, “Government is best that governs least.”

This author’s highest honor was to serve as a White House appointee to the Senior Executive Service in the Reagan Administration. President Reagan was first an American and then a Republican. Unfortunately our leadership in Washington have put partisan and special interests ahead of serving first the interests of the people. President Reagan had many things to say about government, “Government does not solve problems it subsidizes them” and ” Government’s fist duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. Man is not free unless government is limited.”

By a process of elimination more Americans of all stripes are coming to a viewpoint relative to the nature of man is the condition that needs change. It is a change from the inside out rather than the outside in. If the values, attitudes, choices and character can be transformed by a higher authority which is the governor to hold in check the degenerate nature of man we will see sustained hope and change. A founding father, James Madison, left us with an important point to ponder, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

Nothing inherent in the free-enterprise system compels people to conduct their business irresponsibly. Greed, dishonesty and moral compromise are reflections of individual character and not an economic system. The problem is not in the economic system, but in moral degeneration. We are dealing with too many leaders that are egocentric, selfish who have lost their moral compass or GPS. If there is any lesson to be learned from history, it is that moral and spiritual degeneration are the greatest enemies of society and stable economic, political and social systems. The seemingly invincible Roman empire crumbled not from great armies or armaments but from internal moral decay gradualism.

The challenge is to see the transformation of that carnal nature into one which comes under the authority of God and then only do you have the prospect of building a more perfect democracy and a future with hope. Note that our pledge still states One Nation Under God even though that too is under attack. Again President Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” For each person this is a choice so it must be so attractive that it compels others to want to come under the transcending authority. You can determine for yourself if there is merit in considering the validity of the claims for a true north or “GPS” for living that is failsafe.

Abraham Lincoln leaves us with timeless treasured words of hope. The question is, will we the people rise to accept the challenge and restore the trust broken by our government so

“… that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth”

May these words forever guide us in the ownership of a future with hope by restoring the trust and preserving our liberty. Taking ownership for a future with hope is the formula for success. Seize the day!

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Robert Lincoln “Bud” Hancock is the author of Designed for a Purpose, a counselor/coach to business people, ministers and laypeople. He was formation consultant to the founder of Opportunity International, former Executive Director of Opportunity International, co-founder and former CEO of Enterprise Development International (now; founder and President of Providence International Foundation, FaithWorks, Restoration Enterprises, Stewardship Trust, Set Free Services, Inc. and President of Stewardship Trust. His passion is business/non-profit partnership development. He was a White House appointee to the Senior Executive Service and served in the Reagan Administration.