As I sat in front of my big-screen TV watching the Republican National Convention’s parade of speakers, I noted how many speakers addressed the same problems: unemployment, financial shortages, pressure on businesses, illegal immigration, crime-riddled cities, problems with the Supreme Court, corruption in leadership and woeful disregard for law and order.
As person after person gave their speeches, they told portions of their life stories. If you listened carefully, it became clear that what we heard was the unfolding of the quintessential American dream – real-life working-class folks, challenges met, goals reached. That is the essence of the American dream – not Republican, not Democrat, but American.
They were people who came from nowhere, folks like us: the next-door folks who started with nothing, those who had part-time or minimum-wage jobs, those who overcame health challenges, family tragedies and financial challenges to achieve their goals and dreams. They were people who continued to believe, in America, that dream is still possible.
Remember when they used to talk about a kid “growing up to be president”? Well, this week it was all about that descendants of immigrants, men, women, educated, uneducated, small-business owners, wealthy businessmen, blacks, whites, Hispanics, rich, poor, governors, congressmen, senators.
What, if any, was the common thread that ran through their stories, whether or not they were what some would call “advantaged”? They had the gut feeling that you can be anything you want to be in America – a bum or a billionaire. Was it easy? No! Few worthwhile achievements are. In fact, if it were that easy, there would be a lot more advantageds walking the streets. The common thread is, while not easy, it is possible; dreams can come true in the U.S. This is America, land of opportunity.
I am not sure people who are born and reared in the U.S. today really have any idea just how fortunate they are. Having had the privilege of visiting a number of countries, four different continents and encountering several different cultures, I have a deep and abiding love for America, despite its faults – though, if truth be told, comparatively speaking, its faults are relatively few in number.
Keep in mind there are countries even today where women cannot appear without a hijab or speak in the presence of men, much less hold positions of power and responsibility. I have been to countries where women still walk a pace or two behind men and sit outside a restaurant with the children while the men go in and spend time together. I have visited the prime minister’s office in a country where the men wear tribal markings cut into their faces so they will know who to kill in numerous tribal wars.
My primary concern in the upcoming elections will not be 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. Make no mistake, (D) or (R), if America goes under because of bad policies, we all suffer. Seniors will all suffer if Social Security goes bankrupt, as will almost everyone if the housing market collapses and our dollar becomes the equivalent of the Mexican peso.
Time is quickly approaching to make a choice. In 102 days, we will elect a new president – one who will lead this country into either rectitude or ruin. People are determining the destiny of a great nation, and this cannot rest on error, ignorance or illegality. We must vote for principle, not party – and freedom, not fear.
Everyone should be properly identified and registered before voting. The person voting to determine the destiny of my children and grandchildren should be who they say they are and be able to prove it. (This is racist? Are you telling me that blacks and Hispanics – who must produce ID to buy booze – are too stupid to apply for proper ID to vote?)
There will be no armed soldiers at the polling places in November, but the voting booths should be well guarded by conscientious, informed citizens armed with their voter registration cards and the knowledge that the future of their country is in the hands of those walking in front of, beside and behind them to that little voting machine.
I will cast my vote not for a politician but for the future of my country, my family, my friends and my freedom with a simple, silent heartfelt prayer: “God – PLEASE – bless America.”