Reflections on Election = More Work To Do

| December 2 2012

Like many of you, I was devastated by the Presidential Election.  My first reaction was to say that our country as I’ve known it is finished.  I fear that Alexis de Tocqueville was correct that “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

However, I have had a month to reflect upon the election.  I don’t think that all is lost, though we face a significant challenge to change the country’s direction.  Here are some election facts:

  • President Obama received almost 7 million less votes than in 2008
  • Governor Romney won 2 more states than Senator McCain
  • The Republicans maintained a solid majority in the house

These facts suggest that the country is not lost to those who want “handouts” and believe in class warfare.  In fact, the country moved slightly in our direction in 2012.   However, since we are battling from a disadvantaged position, we must work hard to convince people that America is the land of equal opportunity not equal outcomes.   The question becomes, what can we do to make this happen?

I believe there is a three pronged approach to changing the country back into a country where hard work, achievement, self reliance and accountability are celebrated and rewarded.

  1.  Vote with your feet – If you are in a position to move your family, your business or change jobs, move to a state that reflects your values.  A population shift to other states will add Electoral College votes to conservative states while taking them away from liberal states.  Additionally, this population shift will drive stronger economies in those states.
  2. Use your money to wield economic power – This does not mean that you need to donate money to political campaigns, although that does not hurt.  Instead, this means to spend your money with companies that also reflect your values.  I don’t simply mean to “Buy American”, but rather “Buy American Values”.  Wherever possible buy from companies that reflect your values.  For example, buy from companies that are privately owned and did not need a bailout (e.g. Ford rather than GM).  Buy products from companies that manufacture in states that reflect your values (e.g. Ford F-150, Escape, F250 Super Duty, etc. that are manufactured in Kansas and Kentucky).  Buy from companies that haven’t declared bankruptcies due to mismanagement and provide a quality service (Southwest rather that United, American, etc.)
  3. Get involved – Even if you are in a liberal bastion like Illinois, California or Massachusetts, you can get involved.  Sit down and determine how much time you can give to help sway public opinion.  This might involve running for office, helping good people get elected to office, writing letters and or public opinion pieces, handing out literature or a number of other activities.  Even if you can give only one hour a year, it is one hour more than you were previously giving.  To quote Edmund Burke “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.  Do something and it will make a difference.   If the 59 million people who voted for Governor Romney all do a little more, it can change the direction of the country.

There is no denying that the Presidential Election was a setback; however, it does not foreshadow the end of America.  It does, however, signal that we must do more to get America back on track.  I believe that America has been the greatest force for good the world has ever seen.  This can continue to be the case if we fight to again make America the land of opportunity where hard work, achievement, self reliance and accountability are celebrated and rewarded.

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