I worry at times about using this column too often to complain about a variety of topics that, seem to me, have our country going in the wrong direction. In expressing an opinion, my goal is to offer an issue of concern and provide an optimistic alternative.
Optimism, like sunlight, creates growth. Americans have always thrived on an optimistic vision of our future. No matter what disappointments, failures or challenges we faced in the past, we knew that if we work hard, stay focused and press forward we can turn the tide for the better. It’s this very sense of American optimism that attracts so many to our shores. It’s the one intangible asset that Americans sometimes take for granted. Our past is full of failures, but history confirms that from our perseverance we’ve grown from the opportunity and found a constructive way to use the failure to better our nation.
Perseverance takes discipline and with a never-say-die attitude, our nation and her people have found creative ways to correct the errors, and chart a course that has made us the envy of the world. With optimism, citizens must recognize that it’s within their reach to accomplish anything they choose. For more than 200 years, American immigrants wanted nothing more than the freedom to pursue their dreams and faith and make a better life for their children and themselves.
With that thought in mind, I was surprised last week when Scott Rasmussen, the man behind the Rasmussen Surveys, warned us in his weekly column to beware of the new elites who are rewriting the rule book, so that special privilege takes the place of hard work.
“The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity where everyone can pursue their dreams,” he wrote. “But those on top today are busy rewriting the rules to limit entry into their club.”
Rasmussen quotes Megan McArdle, who calls them the new mandarins and they think they know what’s best for the rest of us. As a pollster who constantly has his finger on the pulse of the population, Rasmussen is in a position to foresee changes in public opinion that foretell a shift in public attitude.
As Americans, we’ve always had an independent spirit. We need leaders who share those views, leaders who encourage optimism, hard work and far-reaching dreams. If we ever reach the point where we give up our dreams and allow others to dictate our future, we will have relinquished the very core of our being and the concept that our nation was built upon.
In Patrick Henry’s speech in 1775 in front of patriots like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, he convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution to deliver Virginia troops to join the Revolutionary War when he said, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
The vision for this nation and the great experiment in freedom was unique in that era. One needs to understand and appreciate how truly revolutionary this bold move was and continues to be even in this age.
We must constantly be on guard to insure that we never allow our freedoms to be eroded. Our Forefathers understood what they were fighting for and we must never allow that fiery, independent spirit to be extinguished. As we’ve benefited from the generations that came before us, we too must honor the commitment to liberty that we owe to those who come long after us. Our lineage is their inheritance and the union we secure today will preserve the promise and the optimism they will enjoy for generations to come.
We need to look no further than the mirror when we ask ourselves, “Will the next generation be better off than we are today?“ If the answer is no, then we’ve got work to do and we better get down now while the opportunity still exists.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.