I watch the politicians and the media portrayals of the candidates with disappointment and a touch of bewildered amusement. I listen to their words and I feel in my soul that they live in a different place. The America that they talk about is a comic book fiction. In my America, we still represent the greatest country in the world, the beacon of freedom that it has always been. Is our country perfect; of course not. We are a hodgepodge of 330 million people and since each one of us as a human is inherently flawed, why would anyone think as a country we would also not fall far short of perfection.
Nonetheless, I see a country made up of amazing people. A country that has historic accomplishments and does not rest on its laurels. We are still creating, building, supporting the weakest in this country and in the world. We are still striving forward and trying to be the beacon for those who yearn for freedom, economic opportunity and safety from persecution and war.
The politicians do not see this as this does not serve their narrative. They want to pray on our individual fears and prejudices. They want to divorce ourselves from common sense and dredge up feelings of loss, bitterness and some sense we can return to the past. There is always a yearning for the past that somehow it was better 10, 30 or 50 years ago. That is not America, we as Americans always look forward. The future has always been better and there is no reason to believe it won't be better still. No greater luminary than Warren Buffet recently said as much in his annual shareholder letter.
What we need to do is harness all of us to bring that future to a reality. Immigrants, legal or otherwise, are our assets. So too are the old, the disenfranchised and individuals who have fallen out of the mainstream of work and citizenship. We are a community of people and we shall find the path together. For those who have fallen behind, we will attempt to pick you up. For those with their best years ahead, lead us to the brighter future. Pushing us into discrete groups at war with each other will not lead us to the promise land. We must succeed together or fail trying.
My policy prescriptions are simple:
1. Reform government, it has taken on too much responsibility. Layers upon layers have been built that inhibit government from doing the truly important tasks starting with the security of it citizens.
2. Simplify the tax code and lower rates for all; take away the advantage of the elite by eliminating all special rules that favor the rich and the powerful. No one should be paying 20% when others making the same are paying 40%
3. Not only find a path to citizenship for those who are here and looking to be part of our community but find a way to invite many others with special skills that this country needs to create the best America
4. Capitalism is our key to success but it creates winners and losers in a sense so we need a strong safety net system to cushion the fall and give those an opportunity to try again. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, and continued health insurance are imperfect solutions but assist the neediest citizens and provide a cushion against life's worst crises
5. Push education reform back to the states, the federal government is too far away from the citizenship. By making this a local effort, we are better-placed to reward those who are creating the most successful educational systems
6. Rebuild our infrastructure across the board; roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, rail systems, water and electrical systems, etc... This not only creates the infrastructure for the 21st century but is a massive jobs program for the craftsmen of America
7. Create a more libertarian society where choice of individuals is fostered and promoted not just when it comes to economic matters; love who you want, embrace any religion, minimize our citizens being sent to jail for senseless victimless crimes, promote gun safety, not gun control (and let states, cities, and towns choose their own path). I do not want the government or any other citizen standing in the way of my free exercise of my God-given (and constitutionally-protected) rights.
This country inarguably has its challenges but we can construct solutions to those challenges. We must pull together and not have the politicians pull us apart. There are enough smart people on both sides of the aisle to fashion solutions if we choose to take up these challenges together. But if we build walls between different factions within the country we will fall far short of our best future. I ask all sides of the debate to drop the personal attacks, stick to the policy prescriptions and try to fund the ideas and solutions that work without regard to the genesis of such ideas. Unite the country behind the best ideas and we will continue to lead the free world.