The SOTU and the American Spirit

Here is the part of Obama’s speech that I liked.

“So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember – for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.” – Obama


America needs to realize that it can think big and kick butt. We have a confidence gap in this nation. We have the edge and the national character to lead growth for all.

But it won’t come through central planning and welfare. It won’t come from imperialism. It only comes from individualism. Each citizen needs to realize that they are responsible for themselves, their family, and their local community.I watched a documentary on IFC the other day entitled “Ready to Work: Portraits of Braddock, PA.” It’s about a town devastated by the end of a steel mill, and it’s revitalization begun by it’s citizens. Where the rest of the world saw a hopeless situation in the wreckage of the modern economy, its Mayor saw hope. He then started encouraging artists, Gen X and Y members with energy and enthusiasm, slow food advocates, and the more spirited citizens to stop whining, and build something new. He didn’t network with other Mayors and City leaders. He LED.

As a result, Levi’s jeans saw the town’s spirit, and made commercials and this documentary detailing their hard work. Yes, it’s a marketing opportunity for the corporation, but the town got $2 Million for several necessary projects.

What’s the problem with private capital? After all, Indianapolis has benefited greatly from the entrepreneurship of Eli Lilly and his predecessors. Over 100 years ago, a Billionaire decided that libraries and knowledge were important. He founded my hometown library, and probably yours. In fact, the first Carnegie library was built in Braddock, PA. It’s just about the last building from that area that hasn’t fallen in to total disrepair.

ONE of Braddock’s citizens put his mind to saving the landmark. He never had doubt that he would raise the capital and manpower to save it. He didn’t let road blocks or the easy excuse of a comfortable life stop him. There wasn’t “If” or “Try.”

Here are just two people that saw a wrong, and worked to fixed it.

If Braddock, Detroit, or New Orleans are examples to learn from, the promises of politicians to fix your problems are often hollow. (I humbly say this to you as a professional politician.) If you’re waiting for a government to do it, then expect a situation to stay the same by the time you draw your last breath. With the impending local and state bankruptcies and federal budget cuts, they can’t. Even when times were good, they couldn’t. We just need to demand our government regulate equality and justice, and get the hell out of our way.

So as we call for the government to shrink, we must be prepared to meet the necessary needs of our local community. We are a capable, caring people that are being challenged. What are YOU prepared to change?

To kick butt you first have to get off it.

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