John Greenleaf Whittier wrote those words
160 years ago, but they are just as relevant today. Indeed, they serve as a guiding light for the decisions I make every day, whether as a father or a husband or a businessman or a public servant. And in less than one month, those words will guide my decision as a voter.
Four years ago, I watched our country miss a tremendous opportunity to vastly improve our national well-being when we re-elected President Barack Obama and shunned Mitt Romney.
To this day, I believe the United States suffered on every measurable level -- economically, societally and internationally -- because of that decision, and I suspect many of my fellow Americans retrospectively agree.
Compared to the undeniable chaos of the last four years, a Republican presidency would have delivered a dramatically better reality for our citizens and for the world.
Domestically, dozens of serious jobs bills would likely have been signed into law; the Environmental Protection Agency's war on American energy, especially coal, would likely have ended; the Keystone XL pipeline would surely have begun construction; comprehensive tax reform could have lowered rates for everyone and made our tax code fairer; corruption at the IRS would more likely have been properly condemned and punished; the Little Sisters of the Poor would no doubt have been left alone to keep caring for the elderly instead of being forced into court for their survival; and so much more.
Abroad, the war on terrorism could have been waged with resolve, not reluctance; the Islamic State would have been taken seriously at its infancy and exterminated without restraint; the Iran nuclear deal would never have happened; Vladimir Putin's resurgent Russia would have been seen as the geopolitical threat it is, and likely would have been deterred before victimizing our ally Ukraine; even the situation in Syria may well have looked more positive than its current state of agony.
Yes, these are hopeful hypotheticals. But I don't list them to express useless regret. Instead, they should be seen as affirming that, as much as ever, elections have consequences.
The course of the next four years is completely in our control and should not be permitted to resemble the last eight years. The challenges of those years still exist, yet for now, so do many of the opportunities. Time will not stand still if we wait to seize them.
It is abundantly clear that a President Hillary Clinton, bound to a ruthlessly left-wing base, will simply not be able to break from the Obama trajectory and thus provide the stronger leadership these tough times demand. Only a unified Republican government, unbeholden to the status quo, is capable of confronting today's reality and securing a more prosperous and hopeful future for all Americans.
This, of course, means making Donald Trump our 45th president.
To be sure, I've read the big-name newspaper endorsements of Mrs. Clinton. I hear what Hollywood celebrities are saying. And, yes, Mr. Trump's secretly recorded comments remain unacceptable. But I care far more about actions and products than words, and in government the most important product is policy.
Alexander Hamilton told us
, "Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government" and that "[a] feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government."
Donald Trump is not feeble, nor without immense energy. And when it comes to what actually matters -- policy -- he will use his energy to empower those outside of Washington, not in it. Only a Trump presidency can undo the current damage caused by explosive government growth and chart a new direction.
As Obamacare keeps imploding and working families keep suffering, Mrs. Clinton will focus her efforts on patching up the law and keeping it on life support; Mr. Trump has pledged to sign repeal legislation to end the disaster and start fresh.
New federal regulations, which reached a record high under President Obama (more than 20,000 new rules and an increase in total annual costs of $100 billion since 2009
), will undoubtedly keep suffocating our economy under a Clinton administration; a Trump administration would be far more likely to stop the bleeding and let small businesses breathe again.
And when the unaccountable regulatory state inevitably gets challenged before the Supreme Court, Clinton-appointed justices will ignore the Constitution and let the red tape keep flowing; Trump-appointed justices will do exactly the opposite.
When it comes to the most urgently needed policy overhauls, a victory for Donald Trump next month would be a course correction for our entire union. The tragedy would come in 2020 if Americans -- worn down from more division, more anxiety and more stagnation -- have to look back at another four wasted years and think those saddest of words: what might have been.