Forbes urges four changes in direction
Published 10:41 am Friday, June 6, 2014
FRANKLIN—Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on Thursday suggested four ways that Americans can turn the country around from what he said many perceive as an increasing decline in its strength and values. His presentation took place at the Cypress Cove Country Club during the annual luncheon, which was given by the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce and Franklin Rotary Club.
Forbes said that when he’s asked if there’s any hope for the United States, he tells people of his father-in-law who 4-1/2 years ago had been diagnosed with a Stage 4 cancer. The question was whether or not to take treatments that could work, but would be difficult to endure. Initially, the man was going to forego the therapies and enjoy the remaining months left. But on asking Forbes what he’d do, the son-in-law said, “I would take the treatments.” That apparently changed his mind and the father-in-law is today enjoying life again and with more energy.
The congressman acknowledged that for the country to improve there would need to be similar strong medicine.
“It’s worth the price tag,” he said, and offered four major directions “we have to go.”
Comparing the struggle to a switching station, people are fighting over which direction to pull levers. The first that’s not popular, said Forbes is to have the attitude that, “It’s OK for America to be the best in the world. I want someone distinguished and superior to build a bridge that won’t collapse.”
Leading to the second point, he referenced former Virginia Sen. John Warner’s call in the early 1980s for the country to maintain “maritime superiority.”
Today, said Forbes, “our Navy is declining, but all around the world theirs are going up. So goes the Navy, so goes the United States of America.”
Though urged to go along with cutbacks that would affect the fleet, he’s called for building more ships. But the congressman said he’s encouraged of late that with support the nation is “turning the corner” in that regard.
“Faith and religion are under attack, and it’s a dangerous course we are going to go,” said Forbes on the third direction. “I’m going to push the lever for freedom of religion and liberty.”
He told of an Air Force cadet who was taken to task for putting a Bible verse on a whiteboard on the door of his dorm. When the matter was brought to Forbes’ attention, he called out the cadet’s superiors on their punitive reactions, noting many had religious references in documents and awards in their own offices.
“We’ve got to be careful not to pull the lever the wrong way,” said the congressman.
The fourth direction he called “vitally important. Whether to choose the rule of government versus the rule of law. Governments change, the rule of law keeps us stable. We have to fight like we can to fight for that lever of rule of law.
“Finally, why is this important? The gift of freedom. That allows us to create and produce. It allows people to produce extraordinary things.”
Before making his speech, Forbes had pointed out several students from Franklin and Southampton high schools in attendance.
“You owe something back to the country,” he told them, and gave a personal example of how a principal years ago had believed in him as a student and raised money from businesses. Those funds paid for Forbes to attend the first Presidential Classroom, which later encouraged his interest in leadership.
“We want to whet your appetite so that you’ll come back [after graduating] and make changes for the better,” he told the students.
Those students were: Brianna Karmilovich, Shamar Ballard and Armirah Stephens of Franklin High’s Student Government Association; and Nicole Brown, Rachael Brown and Ellis Cofield of Southampton High’s SGA.
Following the talk, the congressman was asked what could be done about the country’s $17 trillion dollar debt.
He proposed that priorities should be set, analysis is needed and the budget should be balanced.
Another idea that Forbes presented was, “We have regulated ourselves out of competition. I think we need to turn that around.
“Americans really are special people.”