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That is what America faces today. For too long, the decent American majority of citizens who are productive and hardworking (and those many millions now sincerely, desperately looking for jobs) have sat by while others have tried to usurp our liberty to enhance the power of government, have taxed and borrowed from those who produce to transfer to those who neither work nor produce nor seek to produce nor maintain their private virtue.

Now all these conflicting interests and passions are funneling into Washington. These next 24 months - beginning now - are the decisive period.

Can the rot that has begun to eat at the ship of state be cut out and replaced with solid timber? Can the will and impulse of the majority assert itself in its capital? Can the grounds for optimism be sustained?

Louder and louder must the public voices of private virtue be heard in this Anno Domini 2011.

Tony Blankley is the author of “American Grit: What It Will Take to Survive and Win in the 21st Century” (Regnery, 2009) and vice president of the Edelman public relations firm in Washington.