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Dear Mr. President -- Let's Start Using Critical Thinking

11/08/2012 12:34 pm ET | Updated Jan 07, 2013
  • Steve Siebold Author and expert in the field of critical thinking and mental toughness training

Dear Mr. President:

Congratulations on your election victory. While you prepare for another four years in office, I ask you to step back and look at our country's most pressing issues through critical thinking, which means reaching conclusions devoid of emotion. Unless this happens, we are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Some examples:

Gay marriage
Voters in Maine and Maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, becoming the seventh and eighth states in the nation to legalize gay marriage. Additionally, Minnesota voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.

Critical thinking says it's time to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states -- something I am confident will happen in the next ten years. While this election proves we are heading in the right direction, American society is still suffering from its puritanical roots, and many of our citizens refuse to accept anything that contradicts our cultural norms. It's time America grows up and welcomes everyone into our society as equals. Thank you, Mr. President, for supporting gay rights.

The Fiscal Cliff
The fiscal cliff is perhaps the most pressing issue Washington will need to address right away, because starting in January, the nation will start to feel the effects of $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts over a decade. Other issues involved: reductions in both defense and non-defense spending; the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts; the end of a payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment benefits; and the onset of reimbursement cuts to Medicare doctors.

The decisions that are made regarding the various components of the fiscal cliff will affect the economy, the country's credit rating and U.S. debt. If nothing is done, the Tax Policy Center estimates that a typical U.S. household would face an average of a $3,500 jump in taxes.

Mr. President, critical thinking says it's time to put aside our partisan differences and seek a feasible debt solution, stop ignoring the fiscal cliff as many in Congress have done so far and get our fiscal house in order before it's too late.

Marijuana legalization
Washington State and Colorado voters have legalized the recreational use of marijuana -- and it's time for other states to follow suit. Just the fact that alcohol is legal but marijuana isn't is proof of how screwed up our legal system is. How can you justify one and not the other? If alcohol and marijuana were animals, alcohol would be an anaconda and pot would be a pussycat. Yet pot will land you in jail but you can drink alcohol in the White House. Marijuana creates a softer effect than alcohol, yet our jails are full of people who love to use and sell it.

Mr. President, it's astonishing that for over 236 years Americans were smart enough to change the world through innovation, technology and independent thinking, yet our own government doesn't believe we are smart enough to manage our own lives. Didn't we learn this lesson during prohibition? The 19th amendment outlawing alcohol was as big a failure as the drug war; the only difference is we repealed prohibition after 12 years. Where is the critical thinking in believing the drug war would be any different?

Foreign Occupation
Mr. President, I applaud you for finally pulling our troops out of Iraq, and soon Afghanistan. My critical thinking question for you when it comes to foreign occupation, is should the United States of America be the policeman of the world? The United States currently has troops in 135 countries with 900 military bases, and we justify their presence in a multitude of ways. Not only is it a question of right or wrong, but also one of money. We're broke!

Critical thinking says it's time to bring all the troops home, secure our borders like Fort Knox, and reduce our foreign policy to negotiations, trade embargos and other fiscal restrictions.

ObamaCare
In Alabama and Wyoming, voters approved measures to amend their state constitution to prohibit people from being compelled to participate in ObamaCare.

Mr. President, critical thinking says you and your Democratic colleagues succeeded in ramming through the most massive health care legislation in American history. Forcing people to purchase health insurance is a clear overreach of government. ObamaCare will require the creation of over 150 new bureaucracies, agencies, boards, and commissions to oversee and operate it. The consequences are staggering, including: higher taxes, lower quality care, runaway government spending and higher deficits.

If other states don't follow the examples set by Alabama and Wyoming, the liberties we will forfeit overtime will extend far beyond health care.

In conclusion
Mr. President, the political philosophy that will catapult America back to the top is one of smaller government; a true separation of church and state and a doctrine of non-interference in the personal affairs of our citizens. In short, the government should protect us from foreign enemies, provide a reasonable safety net for the less fortunate and enforce laws that punish people for hurting others.

In essence, Mr. President, government should refrain from providing services people can provide for themselves or that can be delivered by the private sector. America is a country that was founded on independence and free thinking, yet somehow we've lost our way.

I urge you, Mr. President and members of congress, to rise up to the challenge and take control of the direction of our beloved nation.

Wishing you the very best in your next four years in office!

Steve Siebold