As a teenager, my mom sent me to a Catholic getaway for teens called a SEARCH. That weekend, about 20 of us were locked in a building from Friday night until Sunday night. Girls slept on one side, boys on the other. That weekend we had such a blast, but at the same time, we had to take a serious look at ourselves as people. That following Monday at school, I was still a bit emotional. Somebody put a paper on my desk, I crumbled it up and threw it at the guy next to me, and I cussed in the process. The teacher sent me to the principal’s office where I got into a debate with the principal whether cussing was appropriate. He finally said “G#D Damn it, it’s not acceptable.”, and then sent me home. I’m not sure if I won the debate, but my point was made.
But that isn’t the end of the story, that was the beginning. That weekend, I shed so much of my youth, or maybe it the burdens I carried in life. Sure the story can end with the principal sending me home, but it wasn’t the end, it was the beginning of a new path. A path of character building that would last for many years later. I didn’t want to go to that SEARCH, I wanted to go party with my friends, but I am now ever grateful for that.
Over the last couple of weeks, I had a very similar incident. For several days, I have been completely alone and I have had much to face. Mostly, I have had to have a self realization of who I was. The things that separate me from the average Joe. The things that make people look up to me, respect me, and dare I say with humility, admire me. Honesty and a righteousness builds character. Honesty and Righteousness leads to effective decision making. Effective decision making leads to character. Character leads to honor and integrity. Honor and integrity lead to self respect. Self respect leads to a better life. A better life leads to happiness. By the same token, dishonesty and sinfulness destroys decision making, which determines character, which leads to ill-repute and disrespect, and that in turn causes worse decisions, and those decision lead to misery and a mind of poverty. Respect is earned, it’s never given. Reputations are earned, never given.
These past couple of weeks have given me the opportunity to face my burdens, my temptations and sins, and the core of it, my failings. Fortunately, I was able to face most of these matters in private, and do so in a personal way. Nothing had a more devastating and residual impact on my recent life than the failures I had, that I carried. It was devastating to the point that I drunkenly waltzed with incompetency and demoralization. At several points it shook my self confidence.
So how is any of this related to politics? It’s not, except it is. You see, here in lies the core values that separates Conservative thinking from Liberal thinking. Conservatives believe in picking yourself up by the bootstraps, Liberals think in terms of being “saved”, preferably by the government.
We all have to face our failures, and when we don’t, those failures will eventually come back to haunt you. The Conservative ideology is to embrace our failures as opportunity for growth, for learning, for improving ourselves. Liberals believe that all failure should be avoided, and ironically, failure should be praised.. Ex. President Obama’s economic policy.
Among my biggest errors may seem to you the slightest of things. I have bad mouthed others to cover my own failures. Though it may seem to you no big deal, it has been an excuse to ignore my failure, to shift the blame, and to not embrace my short comings. While I was busy taking advantage of looking for excuses, I failed to make the necessary improvements in my life.
In this, Barack Obama’s biggest failure isn’t the spending, though it’s folly hasn’t been equaled since the Great Depression. No, his biggest failure was shifting the blame on Bush, rather than lifting the American people. I remember shortly after Obama took the oath of office, I was busy buying stocks. Buy low, sell high, and stocks were low. When I saw Barack Obama tell the American public that the economy was much worse than they had expected, he lost my confidence in his ability to revive the economy. When Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush took the oath of office, the each “inherited” their own recession. Reagan instilled confidence with tax cuts. Clinton instill confidence by praising every good economic news before he took the oath of office, saying things such as “Economy is turning around in anticipation of my presidency”. Laugh if you want, but people bought into it, and the economy roared. When President Bush took office, he reignited the economy by sending out tax rebate checks. All of these things got people believing in the future, and in turn got them spending money.
Just as my failures were exasperated because I blamed instead of adjusted, so does Barack Obama, who at the end of his term still faults his predecessor.
Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, all were too busy leading to place blame.
Just as I blamed and failed, Obama blames and fails. The difference is, even I eventually adjusted.