Dream reborn: The real message of this campaign: In which direction do we head next?
It is unfortunate, but sometimes it seems that Republican candidate Mitt Romney could use someone who follows along behind him explaining what he really meant.
And that is an unfortunate side effect of a man who is used to saying what he thinks, even if sometimes it doesn't come out the way he heard it in his head, and not what is politically expedient.
But there has been a lot of talk about the 47 percent comment -- and how that translates into what kind of president you can expect to see if you check the box next to Romney's name.
And while we would suggest that there was a much better way to say what he said, the message behind Romney's comment was really one that should resonate with anyone who works for a living or who has worked hard for a living.
Truth is, this nation is facing a crisis -- a crisis fueled by those who think that all they have to do is wait for the next handout, the next program, the next freebie -- and those who benefit from handing them out.
Some of those beneficiaries do not seek to improve themselves, to get the education necessary to get a good job or to stop bad behavior that has led them to a cycle of poverty.
They feel that they have a right to expect others to provide health care, housing, food and other necessities -- and, now, some non-necessities like a cell phone. They know the system and they use it.
And they are not going to vote for anyone who would shift that focus.
There are many people in this country who are hard workers who face obstacles that keep them from getting ahead.
They are not part of that minority.
There are millions of senior citizens who have earned the right to retire and to receive benefits they have earned.
They are not part of that group either.
And there are millions more who are fighting to change their lives and who are using government benefits to get the start they need and who are determined to build a life for themselves and their families.
They are not part of that designation either.
But a truthful analysis reveals that there are plenty who are fine with someone else paying the bills.
And this country simply cannot afford that -- not anymore.
By realizing that this contingent exists -- and that there are cheats and thieves on both sides of the entitlement coin -- we can devise a way to care for those who need us and to weed out those who are merely avoiding taking responsibility for their own lives and decisions.
We can provide more day-care options, more grants, more training programs -- and, more importantly, more jobs that will allow those who want to live the real American dream the chance to do so.
And we can demand accountability. We can make being drug-free a prerequisite to receiving benefits, and monitor where money meant to provide food for families ends up, and get stricter on who spends it.
And we can reward those who use the benefits for what they are supposed to be -- a hand up.
There are good people in this country struggling. They need a boost and a start. But there are others who see entitlements as a career and a whole bureaucracy that is centered around keeping this system that doesn't work flourishing.
If you don't believe it, look at the reports of Medicaid and food stamp fraud. And then check out some of the statistics about those who have received both for generations.
Sure, Romney could have said it better, but what he meant was that there are some who are fine with the way it is -- and they will never vote to change it. And, by the way, they are not just recipients, but providers, too.
He wants to be there for those who are the children of immigrants who came here with $5 in their pockets and learned English and built a life.
He wants to be there for those who worked hard at whatever career they chose and who are teaching their children the same values.
He wants to reward those who have put in the time, the education or training and who have taken the risk and made their own way.
He wants you to help others, sure, but he wants them to be accountable for the assistance they receive -- and to pay it forward through hard work and a genuine effort to change their lives.
He wants the American dream to be hard work and reward, not a check.
That is what he should have said.
And that is really what this election is all about -- or what it should be all about.
Published in Editorials on October 6, 2012 11:12 PM