After the State of the Union Address, the various Republican responses, TV and print punditry nonstop — I thought of Cicero’s observations toward the end of the Roman Republic: “Antonius hastily agreed that the budget should be balanced, that the Treasury should be refilled, that the public debt should be reduced … that the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt, that the mobs should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence, and that prudence and frugality should be put into practice as soon as possible.”

Actually that was not Cicero, but the novelist, Taylor Caldwell, putting those words in Cicero’s mouth in her 1965 novel, “The Pillar of Iron.” It can be debated whether these ideas applied to the Rome of Julius Caesar and Marcus Tullius Cicero. Perhaps it can even be debated whether they applied to 1965 America. But can anyone argue that they do not apply to America today? I do not think so. While we as a nation are faced with financial ruin, Mr. Obama proposes even more spending and expanding more “entitlements” while dishonestly calling them “investments.” We are burdened with a president who has shown by his actions for two years now that he cannot even begin to understand what Taylor Caldwell was having Cicero say. More than Mr. Obama could possibly know — today we truly do need change we can believe in.

Ed Willneff
Oak Park

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