I Am Proud To Be An American: Happy Birthday America!

Since the election I have been thinking about a lot of different things. Partisanship, big government-small government, Trump, Sanders, Alt-Right, and Alt-Left are things that continually run through my mind; am I political, not political enough, do I care about those who have not had the wonderful opportunities I have, or does it matter? I do know I believe in the right of people to own their own property, and I believe in the right of business people to own their own businesses and experience the reward of owning said business. In that case I am a Democratic-Capitalist. I also believe that business people can get a bit greedy, and therefore someone needs to watch how business is conducted. This is not government overreach, at least if it is done correctly.

The above is not what I want to write about, but thoughts associated with Democray. I just finished Condoleezza Rice’s wonderful work on Democracy. Democracy: Stories From The Long Road To Freedom is an excellent look at the messiness of Democracy. Rice states in the chapter entitled, 2016, “Democracy’s story is ever evolving. There are always new challenges, new responses, and new possibilities – good and bad.” I thought about this comment on the golf course today, especially in light of what is occurring in our country right now.

Many in our country think that our politicians do not represent our aspirations and fears. Rice emphasizes this is why the United States and Europe are facing strong populist movements. I remember during the election when I said I was not voting for either major party candidate, one side would tell me not voting for their candidate is a vote for the other, and the other side would say the same thing. Thus, I agree with Rice. “Some write darkly that these trends constitute a threat to democracy – if not the end of it as we know it. That seems alarmist and premature. Indeed, democracy is built for disruption and its institutions, its checks and balances, and its shock absorber – the ability of people to change their circumstances peacefully. People are exercising that right – at the ballot box, in the courts, and some in the streets.”

I have to believe that our system will prevail in this tumultuous time. As much as I tire of the negative rhetoric coming from both sides, and have even taken part with name-calling, I have to believe that the Democracy of the United States will prevail. Rice encourages by reminding us, “The statesmen who inherited the broken postwar world of 1945 built a system that trusted free markets and free trade to create an international economy that would grow . . . Countries would find comparative advantage, trade freely, and all would benefit.”

I also agree with Rice when she states, “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – populism, nativism, protectionism, and isolationism – served neither democracy nor peace very well the last time around.” We cannot allow the fear associated with these horsemen to overwhelm us.

Even today, July 3rd, as we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July, some of us feel like this is not their holiday. I am sorry for that, so we still have work to do. Also, not everyone is participating in the economic prosperity, therefore new jobs programs and apprenticeships should be created to help these folks win the millions of jobs not being filled today because of the lack of job skills. Rice argues, “The postwar global order need to admit that there are those who have not shared in its prosperity and are troubled by its rejection of more traditional values.” She also states, “the trend toward dividing people into ever-smaller groups, each with its own particular grievance and narrative, comes at the expense of the unifying identity that all democracies need.”

Tomorrow will be July 4th, the day we celebrate independence from an authoritarian regime led by George III. Tomorrow we all come together as one nation to celebrate the fact that we are all Americans. Several years ago I asked my Uncle why my grandfather never made a big deal about his coming from Russia. My uncle said that my grandfather wanted to be known as an American. Not a German-Russian American, but an American. That is what I am today and for my humanly existence. Democracy is a wonderful thing. It is one thing to create Democracy and another to keep it. Lets keep it simple and be American. Happy 4th.

And this is my thought for the day!