Phil_UT has given us permission to post his piece here as a guest post.
Growing up in Colorado, I was richly blessed with parents that had a great love for this country, nature, and the freedom we so often take for granted. Each summer we would pack up in our car with a small tent trailer behind and head off to explore this great land that we live in. Through National Parks and Forests, my parents taught me to love and appreciate all that America has to offer. At each stop, mom would explain the history of the area and would constantly drag us through obscure museums and shops. At the time we protested, but to this day I have to thank my parents for giving me such an appreciation for the beauty, the majesty, and the history of this great nation.
It is no wonder that as my wife and I began our family that I would want to continue this summer tradition. So, with little kids in tow, we would head off several weeks each summer revisiting all the old trips that I took with my parents. On one such trip after we had just left Mesa Verde, I wanted to take my family on the Durango to Silverton train. So, up we went over the million-dollar highway to Silverton. When we got to the National Forest campground, it was full so we decided to camp in an open area next to a stream. As we pulled in and started unloading, we noticed about halfway up the mountain across the road there was a cave. It actually looked so close that we could easily get to it. As we unpacked, my children’s imagination started to expand about what great treasures must surely lie inside that cave. As often happens, their banter about treasures and mysteries inside the cave became infectious and soon my wife and I were joining into the speculation. As we finished setting up camp, it was decided that since that cave was “so” close, we would hike up and discover the great treasures that surely awaited us. With four small children in line, we headed up the mountain.
One hour later, what had appeared to be a short easy hike was turning into a considerable effort. However, the dreams of mystery and treasure in the cave continued to drive us forward and upward. Another hour passed and it seemed that we were barely making any progress. I made the decision to leave the tree line and head across a rock slide flow to see how close we were. As I stepped across the loose rocks, my apprehension began to build as it was very unsteady, but yet I continued forward. Fifty yards onto the rock flow; I turned around and in horror noticed that two of my children had followed me out onto this unstable ground. My wife and the other children had continued up the safer tree line and where almost out of earshot as I called out to them. Looking up, I noticed that the cave was only about one hundred yards above us, so with very little clear thinking, I herded my children up the steep and unstable slope. After all, great treasure awaited us just above. Another half hour passed and finally we were almost to the final ledge that would lead us to the cave. As we rounded the corner, great disappointment entered our hearts and thoughts, as the cave was not a cave at all. It was just a fold in the mountain face that was covered in shadow giving the appearance of a dark entrance. No treasure, no mystery, just disappointment and a separated family as I could no longer hear or see my wife and the other children. Panic began to set in as the afternoon was waning and we remained separated. I took the two children with me down the steep rockslide and back to camp. Yelling all the way to try to find where the rest of my family was.
Now, you may ask, what does any of this have to do with the challenges that face the United States as we head into the next election? Actually, it is quite simple. A little over three years ago, a man came upon us during the beginnings of very troubled times for this great Nation. He yelled out “Hope and Change” as a battle cry and so many people, looking for any life line, grabbed onto this mantra and elected him to the highest office in the land, President of the United States. Now, three years later; 15 trillion dollars in debt; years, not months of unemployment over 8.5% (even including fuzzy math); the downgrade of America’s credit rating; the collapse of the dream of owning a home; the rapid failure of the economic mainstay of our country, small business, as government regulations strangle their ability to succeed; the increasing dependency on foreign energy; the apologies to the world for this country and all we have done to help the down trodden and oppressed; the turning our back on our friends and allies including the almost total alienation of Israel; we have now come to realize that Hope and Change was really doom and despair.
Just like my family’s excitement over that cave on the side of the mountain, the American people bought into the charismatic style of Barack Obama only to be led, just like our discovery on the mountain, to empty promises of a greater life (treasures) and instead of positive change, the destruction of freedom and liberty. I once again feel that I am rounding the bend on the ledge with great hope and expectation only to see a shallow fold in the mountain covered in shadow. Like my family on that fateful day, this country has become separated and fragmented and all the shouting and searching has not succeeded in bringing us back together. We have become a separated nation, a weaker nation, and a nation that has lost hope and bound by the darkness of despair.
Is it possible, that like other great civilizations, that this country has seen its highest heights, has dreamed its last dream and is now in a state of decline? NO, I say, NO. Now is the time and opportunity for America once again to overcome adversity and to climb to newer and higher heights. How can this be done? It is impossible say the pundits of great wisdom. Let’s just have the government take care of us and we will be fine, shout the liberal media. Let’s grow the government, reduce liberty and freedom and become a nation that expects, no, in fact is entitled to have everything done for us. Where is the American spirit, where are the patriots that can lead us back to greatness? As we evaluate this, let us not forget:
Still one thing more fellow citizens – a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities. – Thomas Jefferson Inaugural Address.
No political truth is certainly of greater intrinsic value, or is stamped with the authority of more enlightened patrons of liberty than that on which the objection is founded. The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. – James Madison 1788 – Federalist No. 4
Our founding fathers repeatedly sounded the cry that the government should not be the answer to all things at the risk of the loss of our liberty. For, with the loss of liberty we lose our inventiveness, our creativity, our will to try and to strive for the new, and the dreams, which have made us a great nation.
So where lies the answer to this point in history, the crossroads that America is facing? Will we fall into decline and obscurity? Or will we rise above, accept the challenge and move to even greater heights and prosperity as a nation? To me, the answer is clear. We must take the latter part and choose to rise above the challenges we face and to do that we need a leader that has the skills, the ability, the desire, and the strength to face the many challenges that are present today.
Therefore, the final questions must be; is there such a leader available to us today; and who is that leader. Well, I know a man. I know a man who has lived his life with honor, integrity, humility and that understands the most fundamental precepts of being a true conservative.
I know a man that honors fidelity in his relationships with his wife, his family and his fellowman:
“We could see that she had real balance problems, and she didn’t have feeling in places she should have feeling, and [the doctor] stepped out of the room and we stood up and hugged each other,” the candidate told host Chris Wallace as he described the moments of uncertainty in the doctor’s office that day. “I said to her, as long as it’s not something fatal, I’m just fine.… I’m happy in life as long as I’ve got my soul mate with me.”
”America’s culture is also defined by the fact that we are a religious people. We recognize our God not only in our Declaration of Independence, but even in our currency. And we are also unique in that we recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of American society.“
”America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home.“
I know a man that believes that to be strong, we must have a strong military:
I’m recommending that we add 100,000 active-duty personnel to our military. We’re right now at about 1.5 million. Take that up to about 1.6 million. We found in our state that we were losing enrollees for the National Guard at about 6% per year. And the legislature and I got together and passed something called the Welcome Home Bill. We said if you’ll sign up for the National Guard, we’ll pay for your entire education for four years. We put in some other benefits as well–life insurance and other features that we decided to pay for. The result of that was, the next year enrollments went up 30%. So if we want more people to sign up for the military, we have to improve the deal. Our GI Bill has gotten a little old. We need to update our funding level for that, so that young people who go into the military get a full ride as they come home and get to go into college.
“I want to be so strong that they know that America is not only right, but that we have the might to make sure that those who would do things that are totalitarian and contrary to the interests of humanity are things that we can stand up and prevent.”
I know a man that has the skills to bring back jobs, economic stability, and growth:
Job and income growth can only come from a growing, successful private sector. Of course, government can create innumerable public sector jobs, but in doing so, it supplants the private sector and ultimately depresses the prosperity of its citizens. A pro-job, pro-prosperity government works to create the conditions that enable businesses of all sizes to grow and thrive. These should include aligning corporate taxes with those of other developed economies, eliminating special corporate tax breaks that lobbyists have inserted over the years, and preserving the Bush tax cuts — especially for small business
“President Obama didn’t cause the recession, but he made it worse and caused it to last longer. From the outset, he inaugurated the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs policies we have seen since Jimmy Carter. Further, the White House has still not crafted any discernible plan to put Americans back to work.
Creating good, lasting jobs will require the following:
•A tax policy that rewards savings, investment, entrepreneurial risk-taking and exports.
•Free, open and fair access to foreign markets, with a focus on constructive trade reform with China.
•Elimination of the federal bureaucratic and regulatory stranglehold on business.
•A market-driven energy policy that encourages investment in America and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
•A commitment to fiscal responsibility through budget restraints and entitlement reform.”
I know a man that understands that we cannot tax our way out of this problem:
Let me talk just briefly about my tax philosophy. One, I was the first candidate for president to sign the Norquist tax pledge. Two, of course we have to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Three, of course we have to abolish the death tax. It just isn’t fair to tax people twice. Well, three times. Once, when they earn it. Second, when they invest it and pay dividends or get their dividends interest and capital gains. And then a third time when they die. Four, I proposed a savings incentive plan. And this is a plan that basically says we’re going to let people of moderate income save their interest, their dividends and their capital gains tax-free. No tax whatsoever on capital gains, interest and dividends. Lower marginal tax rates for all Americans. Get taxes down. Make them simpler, and flatter and lower. And finally, make our corporate tax competitive with the rest of the world.
There’s a good deal of rhetoric today from liberal politicians who say that we need to heavily tax those corporations that ‘send jobs overseas.’ I’m afraid they don’t understand that companies with subsidiaries in other countries are doing business in those countries and that they pay taxes there. Requiring them to pay still-higher U.S. taxes would make them less competitive in those markets, making it bad for their business overseas, and also for jobs here. Sales made by subsidiaries of U.S. companies are often supported by high-paying jobs in finance, accounting, research, and management here at home. And if a company’s tax burden under such legislation grew too high, it could simply move overseas to avoid it — resulting in a loss of tax revenues for the United States, not a net gain.
I know a man of faith who believes in divine guidance:
“That’s not my responsibility as a candidate, and the church could do a better job describing that than I,” Romney said. “But perhaps the greatest is that the real name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We consider Jesus the Son of God without parallel.”
“There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.”
I know a man that believes in the constitutional belief of limited government:
We know the source of America’s strength. It is the citizens of this country, and all that a free people can achieve. Free, hard working, family oriented, risk taking, opportunity-seeking, patriotic American people have always been the source of our strength, and they always will be. And here in Washington, the best policies are those that expand their freedoms, broaden their opportunities, allow them to keep more of what they earn, afford them better education, let them choose their own healthcare, and turn loose the free enterprise system to create more jobs.
I know a man that has and will support our allies:
Democracy is not defined by a vote. There have to be the underpinnings of democracy: education, health care, people recognizing they live in a place that has the rule of law. And that’s why our effort to spread democracy should continue, not to just spread votes, but instead to encourage other people in the world to have the benefits that we enjoy and to welcome democracy. There’s no question in this country, we need to reach out, not just with our military might–although that we have, and should keep it strong–but also reach out with our other great capabilities.
My concern extends to our entire foreign policy. If the U.S. government engages tyrannies and autocracies — countries like Iran and North Korea, Syria and Russia, Sudan and Zimbabwe — based on the conviction that we are dealing with common interests more than competing interests, it will not end well. Keeping our word to our allies is a matter of honor, but it is also a matter of self-interest. The United States needs allies for economic, political and national security reasons. Good allies and strong alliances allow us to share the burdens we carry, complement and supplement our efforts and present a united front against those who wish us harm. When we treat any ally in a desultory manner — and especially if we act in a way that causes them to question our reliability, our resolve, our commitment and staying power — then they as well as our other allies, all of whom are watching closely, will turn to others for their security.
I know a man that will stand with Israel:
“The right course is to show that we care about Israel, that they are our friend, we’ll stick with them. If I’m president of the United States, my first trip — my first foreign trip will be to Israel to show the world we care about that country and that region.”
“I believe our relationship with Israel, a nation which shares our values and is our best friend in the Middle East, should be of support and confidence rather than criticism and blame.”
I know a man that loves America:
People, not government, are the source of America’s strength. There is no place that is more important to the future strength of America than the American home. The work that goes on within the walls of a home is the most important work that is ever done in America. And if we want to strengthen America, we need to strengthen the American family.
What is it about America’s culture that’s led us to become the most powerful nation in the history of the world? Well, we believe in hard work and education. We love opportunity. Almost all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants who came here for opportunity. Opportunity’s in our DNA. Americans love God, and those who don’t have faith typically believe in something greater than themselves, a purpose-driven life, if you will. And we sacrifice as Americans everything we have, even our lives, for our families, for our freedoms and for our country. These values and beliefs of free American people are the source of the nation’s strength, and they always will be.
The threat to our culture comes from within. In the 1960s, there were welfare programs that created a culture of poverty in our country. Now, some people think we won that battle when we reformed welfare. But the liberals haven’t given up. At every turn, they tried to substitute government largess for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever.
Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is culture killing. It’s a drug. We’ve got to fight it like the poison it is.
The attack on faith and religion is no less relentless. And tolerance for pornography, even celebration of it, and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare, have led to today’s grim realities: 68 percent of African- American kids born out of wedlock, 45 percent of Hispanic kids, 25 percent of white kids. How much harder it is for these kids to succeed in school and in life. A nation built on the principles of the founding fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home. The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and a father. Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of the nation.
I know a man that not only has what it will take to lead this country as President, he will be the next President. I know a man, his name is Mitt Romney
Stay tuned for part 2!