What do you think of when you think of America? I think of American ingenuity, American resourcefulness. I think of pioneers heading into the unknown, be it to an unknown continent or into the unknown wild west. I think of American inventions from the cotton gin to refrigeration to the Ford assembly line to the telegraph. I think of Americans walking on the moon, building skyscrapers, making discoveries in science and technology that have changed the world. I think of Americans as staunch allies and generous providers of aid, both financial and military, where and when needed. I think of Americans reaching out to each other a helping hand after tragedies like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and I’ve seen first-hand, having lived for some time in the hurricane-buffetted Florida panhandle, that this willingness to help, this eagerness to aid a neighbor or stranger, is not reserved for only these levels of catastrophe. I think of Americans reaching out with equal empathy when tragedies strike other countries (we are always first to respond to tragedies be they tsunamis or earthquakes, and as we have the most to give, we give the most. Freely. With compassion.). I think of America, still, as the land of opportunity, the one country on earth where you can still achieve the “American Dream.”
What has made all of this possible is that we apply our American ingenuity and resourcefulness to all situations. When industry needed regulation as revealed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, we changed it. When people were being exploited in steel mills, we changed it and improved the working conditions in factories across the country. We have abolished slavery, given women the vote, enfranchised the poor. We have defended freedom, our own and that of others, around the world. We have shared our resources with our allies (and too often with our enemies). We have been a beacon of hope for people around the world. And we have been able to do all of this because we are a free people. We have a limited government that instead of micro-managing every aspect of our lives has instead provided the protections and opportunities that Americans have needed, have been blessed with, to accomplish so very very much. We grew from a rag-tag bunch of misfit rebels into the most powerful nation on earth. In less than two centuries!
When government steps back and leaves businesses and individuals to flourish, flourish they do. We’ve proven that. It’s fact. When government steps in and oversees, controls, and legislates everything–businesses, people, countries, entire civilizations wither and die. We’ve seen that in country after country in our own lifetimes, and it’s been the truth, fact, throughout history. When a people are given hand-outs from the government, they become listless, unmotivated, dependent. Productivity, innovation, even the will to survive decline to an eventual and inevitable stand-still. People shrivel up and die rather than shuffle through life on a meager existence that offers no hope, no nothing. When people are given opportunity and freedom, they bound into action, they become independent, prosperous, and successful. This is truth. This is fact. If people have to work, create, invent, and innovate to survive, thrive, and prosper, they will. All people, not just Americans, will rise to the occasion, meet the challenge head-on. We, Americans, in my not-so-humble opinion, are blessed to have that certain something, that American spirit, that prevails in all things. We are proud people, yes, but we are also independent people. A people who want opportunity, not hand-outs.
We saw this clearly in the fall-out from the Cornhusker Kickback. In order to secure Senator Ben Nelson’s vote on the (first-step, or “starter home,” of the) government takeover of our healthcare system, Reid granted Nebraska a free-pass on Medicaid, the federal government would pay for all of Nebraska’s Medicaid for all time. “The federal government” doesn’t have an income beyond our taxes (and some frantic borrowing and money printing that are getting us closer and closer to a true economic collapse), so that means that 49 states’ taxpayers would be footing the bill for Nebraska’s Medicaid–healthcare for the poor. Forever. We would be taxed for another state’s services, taxed, of course, without representation because we can’t vote there. This caused an uproar across the nation. We were indignant, not only at the idea of footing the bill for Nebraskans while also paying for the Medicaid in our own states, not only at the idea of taxation without representation, but at the idea that a vote on a fundamentally un-American bill can be bought like that. That the concept of America, what it means to be American, is for sale.
The most important part of this story, though, is that the people of Nebraska themselves rejected it.
Pause and digest.
Nebraska did America proud by adamantly opposing the Cornhusker Kickback. They didn’t want the hand-out, they didn’t want the “favor” that would make their lives easier (or at least slightly less expensive than the other 49 states). They refused to be bought off, to be taken under the government wing and “nurtured.” They wanted to stand alone. To thrive and survive, to retain their independence and stand, like the proud Americans they are, on their own two feet. The people of Nebraska were furious and embarrassed, and they booed Ben Nelson out of a pizza parlor, they spoke out against this travesty, and their governor let it be known that Nebraska would not fall, would not hand over their sovereignty, their American spirit to a traitor to our country’s principles. As a result, Nelson has been shamed into asking that the kickback be removed from the bill. But he has revealed himself to be anathema to the American spirit. A traitor, really (how else can you describe someone who so fully misses the point, who so “robustly” misreads the American spirit?), and his political career is likely over as a result.
BO, of course, misread the entire thing, but that’s because he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand–deep-down, intuitively know–what it means to be an American. He thinks that the republicans caused the reversal, he thinks that this is politics. He doesn’t understand that what he is doing, what he wants, what he is goes against the grain of America, that it grates against the grain of the American spirit, of our most foundational principles and beliefs. He doesn’t get that we aren’t a people who want the government to provide for us–that we are a people who want the government to provide only what it is constitutionally directed to provide: opportunity, protection, and representation of the people.
The people, those in Nebraska, and those across this land reject BO and his traitorous horde’s plan to “fundamentally transform” our country, not because we are stupid or that it hasn’t been explained correctly, not because we are political pawns bent on saying “no,” but because we understand very well what is being proposed. We understand that it is anti-American, that if flies (and spits) in the face of who we are as a people. We fly free, we forge paths, we protect and defend. We don’t cower in the shadows waiting for our next hand-out, we don’t slink uninspired and listless through the sewers of life wondering what someone else will do for us. We stand tall, we innovate, we invent, we succeed, we rush to the aid of others because we have not only the wealth and strength to do so but because we are a good, decent people. We are Americans, for God’s sake, Americans.