Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whos dream are you living?

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Like many people, I've been following the election. I can't recall so many people involved in the election, and, of course, everybody is saying this is "the most important election in my lifetime". I know I sound cynical, but I'm old enough to have heard that before. For many years election turn outs have been less than 50%, so I think the passion is a good thing. Passion helps motivate us, and helps us get nostalgic for what we used to dream about when we were younger.

When I was younger, I had any number of dreams. I dreamed that one day I would be a photographer, and take all kinds of great pictures. Another time I dreamed that I would be a luxury car dealer, since, like many young boys, I thought cars were pretty cool. As time went on though, the dreams turned to other things. The dreams turned into doing well in school (that never really panned out!), and then getting together with some of the "hot chicks" (that never really panned out either!).

Many people are following the election, and saying that "our prayers have been answered", or "it's a dream come true". I can't get there. It's not that I don't support a candidate, I did. It's also not that I don't believe one candidate is better than the other: I do. However, I refuse to believe that my destiny is going to be impacted by the election of one or many candidates: I don't believe that. My dreams may have changed, but they have never changed to the point that I dreamed that one politician is going to live my dream: I am. No politician is going to manifest my dream: I am.

My destiny, and the destiny of all American's have been tied to the individual effort of each of us. Collectively America has accomplished many great things, but all of those great things were the result of somebody's individual efforts. Whether it be the man who decided I'm going to take the perilous journey to try and strike gold out west, or to the man who said I'm going to fly to the moon. Those dreams were made by the individuals that lived them: not a government that mandated them.

For two politicians right now, one of them is going to achieve a dream: to be President of the United States. If it's Barack Obama, he will have achieved one or many of his dreams, and God Bless America for letting that happen. If John Mccain is elected, God Bless him for what he sacrificed to get here. God Bless America for, in effect, paying him back for the sacrifice he (and so many others) made. Either way, two men have been able to achieve the "American Dream".

Here's where I have a challenge with either of these two men, and many politicians: they are trying to impose their dreams upon on a whole lot of us Americans. I never voted for any President, so that he could make me dependant on the government. I voted for a leader of the government. I never voted for somebody who told me how much I could achieve, I voted for somebody who would protect the system that allowed me to achieve whatever I was capable of achieving.

The leaders of today are taking away our dreams, and replacing them with their dreams. I believe in the good intentions of either man, but I don't believe their prescriptions are what are best for the citizens of this country. Collectively we have become so reliant on our "leaders" that we have sacrificed our dreams. People are so afraid that the government won't rescue them, that they become paralyzed. The government has to "stimulate" the economy with money, so that people will spend again. Never mind that our government is adding debt to the future generations, so that they can stimulate the economy now. It's not fair to the future generations, and it only avoids confronting a problem that eventually will have to be confronted - by generations that may or may not yet exist.

Are we so selfish that we are willing to "screw" future generations of children, so that we don't have to make sacrifices today? Are we willing to give up our dreams of success, and become reliant on a government that has mismanaged Vietnam, Iraq, social security, medicare, Katrina, etc., and, in the process, forego those feelings of success when we achieve our dreams? Remember that first escrow closing, and the feeling that your hard work led to a commission? Remember the satisfaction of achieving that dream?

I have virtually no faith in the leadership of today, and I'm not sure how that is going to change. You have leaders who claim to say they are going to look out for us, but are all too often turning a blind eye against people who are lobbying them. Whether it be the likes of a Ted Stephens or a Christopher Dodd (one a republican and one a democrat), our leaders will tell us that they will take care of us. Both men were bribed, and the pork continued to flow. We follow these fools, and our dreams continue to fade away. Democrat or Republican, we are being betrayed by humans who are all too often proving their human frailties, but at the expense of all of us: it sure as hell isn't them since much of the crud is swept under the rug.

There is much that is right with America, but there is much that is wrong. People are using the government for their own selfish interests, and taking away the ability of future generations to achieve their dreams. I don't know what it will ultimately take to realize that our dreams are what our government should be fighting to save, not theirs. I'm confident that America will once again flourish, but I'm quite confident that the answers to America's problems are not being offered by our current leaders - either side of the aisle.

I want leaders who will fight to make this a country that a place where every individual has the ability to achieve what he wants: not what he is allowed by the government. Find me the leader who believes that an individual should be free to achieve without interference of the government or somebody who "knows better" what is best for that individual. Should you find that leader, clone him or her: because we need a whole lot more than that. After all, it's our dreams: not theirs.

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