03/04/12 — What matters: Don't be dissuaded from the real issue -- who we are as a nation

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What matters: Don't be dissuaded from the real issue -- who we are as a nation

This next election is about something that goes a little bit deeper than who makes the best speeches and who will make the fewest gaffs before Election Day.

And hard as it might seem to believe, it seems many Americans get that -- more so than they ever have before.

Forget the Republican vs. Democrat thing -- those are the diehards. They are always going to be in the fray, making sure their candidate is represented as the man -- or woman -- who has all the answers.

They also used to be the ones with the biggest voices, the most prolific commentary.

Not so anymore.

Americans are figuring out that perhaps they made a mistake when they sat back and shook their heads and giggled at the stupid moves made by the politicians, or when they simply marveled at the corruption that has seeped into the political culture these days, but, yet, are not completely surprised that it exists.

They have decided that perhaps having their own input into the future of their country might be the best way to direct it back to what it should have been all along -- a nation of courage, conviction, opportunity and strength.

And they have figured out they can say that, too.

And that means there is hope.

America can be what she once was -- and very often still is. We can see her once again through the eyes of the immigrants who come here, looking for freedom and opportunity and marveling at how much we take it for granted.

We can have a thriving economy, and have a country where all that it really takes to succeed is the determination to do the work required -- no matter from which part of the tracks you hail. We can reward industry and entrepreneurship and watch it replenish the jobs and hope we have lost.

We can offer our children the chance to be the best and the brightest and to pass on the lessons that were learned at the knees of our parents and grandparents about pride, work ethic and responsibility.

We can care for those who need us and challenge those who just think they do to seek their own dreams and to work their way to a future, and to help their children envision those same possibilities.

We can offer a helping hand without creating dependency and we can stop those who seek to take advantage of the system -- no matter what side of the system they represent.

And we can stand for equality and opportunity without succumbing to those whose agenda and livelihood thrives on division, prejudice and anger, again, no matter which side they represent. We can create a discussion about tolerance and fairness without the interference of those who would rather suggest that we could never be anything but divided.

We can make mistakes as a nation and learn from them without letting them cripple us.

And change does not just have to happen at home, either.

We can build alliances without sacrificing our own integrity. We can be mighty without apologizing and we can take credit for the good work we have done -- and demand respect from those who benefit from it, yet seek to criticize it at every turn.

We can be world leaders and still remember those who cannot fight for themselves.

We can empower through our example of what happens when people control their own futures.

That is what this election is really about.

This is a turning point -- a chance to think differently, a chance to look beyond the posturing and politicking to what matters.

It is not one issue, one tax plan or one really great stump speech.

It is about recovering what we once had (only better), figuring out where we went wrong, and never, ever again thinking that government is the answer -- not in the country that was built not by bureaucrats, but by its people, on the foundation of freedom and justice.

And the candidate who does the best job of communicating that hope, that vision -- he is the one who will be in the White House this fall.

The people will see to it.

Published in Editorials on March 4, 2012 12:18 AM