As middle-aged people tend to do now and then, two of my friends are going through existential crises. I’m much too shallow to deal with issues of existence, preferring to cavort through life like a cynical, yet fun-loving, otter.

The details are not important. But some of their anxiety I suspect is that of those of us of a certain age who don’t recognize the culture and country we inhabit.

We, as children, were sold a certain bill of goods in the 1960s and 70s. We wanted an America that was good, just, and free. We knew bigotry was inherently wrong and cheered on men like Dr. King. We also knew the world was a better and safer place when America was strong.

Culturally we were tolerant. But we knew the difference between aberrations and norms. Economically we looked forward to careers and lives that could provide for a family. This may not seem like much to some. However, to many raised in the postwar era these were realistic goals available to most citizens. It was a viable version of the American dream, a promised land.

Starting with Watergate and the fall of Vietnam, things began to change and not for the better. Honor was derided, tradition was vilified. Jimmy Carter told us we, not him, were responsible for an America of limits. We were to become a nation shorn of greatness, only another player in the international firmament of encroaching mediocrity.

Ronald Reagan restored our confidence for a time. After that the rot slowly returned. Every president after Reagan until Trump made an accommodation with the rot. They sometimes slowed it, but never rolled it back. Trump was different and would have gone down as great if his personal demons had not overcome him. Thus, here we stand.

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The restoration we seek from the administration of a Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, or Nikki Haley, is not a revolution. For revolutions of any sort tend to be nasty things ending with rule by bayonet. Ours? Not a proper revolution at all. Merely a successful insurgency replacing British gentlemen of the Enlightenment with American gentlemen of the Enlightenment. Ideas and process? Basically the same. That’s why Edmund Burke took the side of the colonists. He recognized kindred spirits.

All we desire is a renaissance of a fair and free America that respects the individual, the family, and the free market. Is that actually too much to ask? There are many Democrats and leftists who would say yes, such is their base hatred for America and all it has traditionally meant.

If a political Canaan is to be achieved, just as in the biblical epoch, it will have to be fought for. The ballot box must be the first and principal way to do that. If other ways become necessary because the situation becomes intolerable, then so be it. But the restoration must happen. Our children and grandchildren deserve a shot at the Promised Land.