Another Republican presidential debate is history, and while I was not overly impressed, I was struck by one outstanding feature.
Remember when they used to talk about how a kid in America could “grow up to be president”? Well, this presidential race, at least on the Republican side, is all about that – descendants of immigrants, men and women, small business owners, business people, blacks, whites, Hispanics, rich, poor, former governors, congressmen, senators.
What, if any, is the common thread that runs through their stories? Whether or not they are what some would call “advantaged”? No. It is this: They know you can be anything you want to be in America – a bum or a billionaire.
Is it easy? No. Few worthwhile achievements are. In fact, if it were that easy, there would be a lot more “advantaged” walking the streets. The common thread is, while it not easy, it is possible; if one strives, dreams can come true in the U.S. This is America; thus far, still the land of opportunity.
Having had the privilege of visiting a number of countries on four different continents where I experienced different cultures, I developed a deep and abiding love and respect for America. No, America is not perfect. It has its faults; though, if truth be told, they are relatively few in number.
We were once told, “Study, work hard and you, too, can be successful.” We were taught to emulate, not envy. I am not sure people who are born and reared in the U.S. today and have never been outside its borders really have any idea just how fortunate they are to have been born in America.
Just ask Marco Rubio, senator from Florida and son of Cuban immigrants; Ben Carson, a violent former “class dummy” and son of an illiterate single mother; Carly Fiorina, a former secretary who became CEO of a Fortune 500 Company; Bobby Jindal, first Indian-American to be elected a state governor; or Ted Cruz, son of Cuban political prisoner.
Or how about Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico and the first female Hispanic governor; or Nicky Haley, the second Indian-American governor in the country and the youngest current governor, and first woman, to serve as governor of South Carolina? Does anyone remember Condoleezza Rice? She overcame pervasive, rigid, legal segregation to become the secretary of state and a confidante of the president of the United States.
Keep in mind there are countries in the United Nations where today these women could not appear without a hijab (face covering) or speak in the presence of men, much less hold positions of power and responsibility. I have visited countries where women still must walk a pace or two behind men and sit outside a restaurant with the children while the men go in and spend time.
Ben, you said all that to say what? With the Republican and Democrat presidential races in full swing, there are a couple of major considerations. Our primary focus – and vote – in the upcoming elections should not be merely as a Republican, Democrat, libertarian or independent, but as an American citizen.
The United States of America was not founded upon the concept of political parties but upon the right of a free people to determine their own destiny. We should vote principle not party, rectitude not race, and freedom not fear.
I believe everyone should be properly registered and identified before voting. And for those who argue otherwise, saying such demands disenfranchise the minorities, are you telling me that blacks and Hispanics, who also must produce ID to buy booze, are too stupid to apply for, and secure, proper ID to vote?
No one cashing a check should be able to pretend they are me and withdraw from my account or use my credit card without proper identification; it is equally important that the person helping to determine the destiny of my children and grandchildren be who they say they are and prove it.
Voters are determining the destiny of a great nation, and this should not be based on error, ignorance or illegality. People have died to secure and defend our right to vote. While there will be no armed soldiers at the polling places in November, they should be well guarded by conscientious citizens armed with voter registration rolls and the knowledge that the future of the country is in the hands of the properly identified registered voters walking in front of, beside and behind you to that voting machine or booth.
In the upcoming elections, local and national, I will cast my vote not for a politician, but for the future of my country, my family, my friends and for my freedom with this simple, silent heartfelt prayer: Please God, bless America.”