Information age produces less knowledgeability, less stable America

In the paradox of the century, the age of information through the Internet, so-called smart technology and instant communication has actually created a more stupider generation than those of its antiquated past. The reason is simple: we just don’t read anymore, and it’s affecting more than our professional fields. America’s apathy is placing our entire country at stake.

Before texting addictions became a national epidemic, before TV was the permanent new member of the family, or before the Internet became a staple of life, folks young and old would read. Books. From the library. (Imagine that.)

President Harry Truman read all the books in his home library by age 14.

One half of the Truman home library in Independence, MO (I want one exactly like this someday!)

I’ve seen that library and can tell you there are at least 250 books gracing its rustic shelves.

Staffers and members of the press used to joke at the wide array of books President Theodore Roosevelt would read.

Teddy Roosevelt, with one of his many animals, caught once again with his nose in a book

He once took a bathroom break during a train ride across America and was gone so long one of the attendants began to worry. After knocking on the lavatory he found the president engrossed in a book on the geography of America’s Great Plains. He wasn’t caught with his pants down, he was caught with his nose in a book.

Going even further back in time, there is, of course, the impressive Thomas Jefferson library, seen today in only a fraction of its original glory.

The remnants of Jefferson's home library, dedicated by Jefferson to the Library of Congress and still on display there.

Most of it burned in devastating fires during his own lifetime. He read in at least two different languages and owned books spanning nearly every imaginable topic.

I’m not trying to pull a Laura Bush, or tell you world peace will be solved if you read more, but if you want to go places and make a difference, begin by educating yourself.

Instead of reading news articles, we watch reality television (I must admit I am guilty of watching a few shows – Millionaire Matchmaker cracks me up every time). The world is at our fingertips, yet people log in to Facebook to catch up on who’s status’ are causing the greatest buzz that day. Why we care if Joe Brown just told the Facebook world that he trimmed his toenails is beyond me, but somehow it’s more interesting than the European Union declaring water as an inadequate means of hydration, a bizarre decision that will go largely unnoticed by most Americans. … Bring on the toenail pictures.

There is some hope, though. Americans are waking up, and it isn’t coffee people are smelling: it’s the stench of a government sinking its talons into education, energy, entrepreneurship, the freedom to fly the flag, the right of defending itself, the familial structure … the list could blow up an Internet server with its monstrosity. People are making the effort to meet and discuss the fundamental values this country was built on, and how they can re-establish them before it’s too late. They’re doing this not by reviewing episodes of Bill O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” or anything else, but by READING.

Knowledge is power. The more we know, the more potent our actions become when  rehabilitating this country. Obama would prefer us to lazy and soft. He’d prefer us blinded to all that moves behind his smoke and mirrors. But taking the initial strike can prevent us from being blind-sided again in 2012. We must arm ourselves with knowledge!

We need to read the U.S. Constitution. Again. And again. We need to read the Federalist Papers, the letters sent between George Washington to other Founding Fathers, and from the Founding Fathers to the First Congress. We must study America’s presidential histories, and after reading we must then discuss what we’ve learned with others. Instead of hours spent on cyber chatrooms debating whether a desperate housewife spent her husband to bankruptcy or not is time we could be spending pouring over reading material in a coffee shop with friends.

The job of legislative oversight belongs to our elected officials, but they’ve failed that job. It’s up to we the people to read legislation, old and new, and decide what it means in our lives. More Americans read the 2,000+ page health care overhaul of 2010 than did members of Congress. That kind of battle must be waged in order to protect our freedoms.

Let the reading begin.

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Cain missing the mark

Unfortunately, Herman Cain doesn’t quite know how to play the political game. In the wicked  world of politics, it’s a whack-a-mole game to keep scandals – whether true or fabricated – from disrupting or destroying a political agenda. Cain took a business approach to the sexual harassment claims, and though it may have appeared the more sensical route in the business world, Cain jumped that train a long time ago. Business smarts don’t exist in Washington (a tragic reality in its own right).

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Mr. Cain. When potentially fatal rumors arise one must squelch them before they kill you first.

Yes, it’s possible the women making the claims are being paid to lie or embellish upon a mostly forgotten story from long ago, but the media does not care. During general election years, any bone from any closet will do.

Cain’s campaign can actually gain ground if he comes forth and tells the whole truth before the alleged harassment victims do. He cannot sweep this one under the rug. In the race to the White House, every speck of dust is examined under a microscope and turned into a mountainous heap of steaming manure. Cain can take this speck of dust and keep it at a minimum pile of crap if he addresses the issue head on and attacks the accusations with the truth. Because chances are, most of A.D.D. America will forget the hiccup by January’s primaries.

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Trying to Take Occupy Wall Street Seriously

By guest blogger and fellow liberty-lover Ashley Gill.

Think about what you know about Occupy Wall Street and,

Forget the racism.

Forget the violence.

Forget the lack of perspective.

Forget the revolting antics.

Forget the union involvement.

Forget the hurting local businesses.

Forget the differences from the Tea Party.

Forget the anti-FoxNews rhetoric.

Forget the support from Democrats.

Forget the anti-American sentiment.

Forget the sense of entitlement.

Forget the celebrities pretending to be part of the 99%.

Forget the thousands of arrests.

Forget the hypocrisy.

Forget the absence of an agenda.

Forget the media’s influence on the movement.

Forget the creepy human microphone.

Forget the clueless protestors.

Now maybe you can take Occupy Wall Street a little more seriously and think of it as a “peaceful,” “informed,” “grassroots,” “patriotic,” and “non-partisan” protest. Although the movement still lacks a unified agenda, the most widespread message I have heard from occupiers that understand and/or are capable of communicating it, involves dissatisfaction with crony capitalism (keep in mind that plenty of protestors have confused traditional capitalism with crony capitalism). Wonderful, now if only they would stop fornicating in public and selling heroin in their tents…but wait a minute…why would these kids be camping out on Wall Street? Crony capitalism takes two to tango. Surely we can all agree that the government allows wealthy corporations to remain unaccountable to their consumers. Doesn’t it make more sense to target the root of the problem? Herman Cain gets it. Most Americans get it. Why can’t occupiers wrap their minds around the concept? My message to “the 99%”: Take a page out of the Tea Party’s book and carry your signs to Washington. Or better yet, join us informed voters in these next elections and let’s fire the politicians who care more about their loaded cronies than their struggling constituents.

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Bloomberg-Washington Post Republican Debate

The debate at Dartmouth University last night focused on the economy, presenting to America eight candidates to pick apart and analyze. The roundtable forum, complete with cozy coffee mugs and continuously bubbling laughter from Michele Bachmann, was yet another successful step toward narrowing the field to a single Republican presidential ticket in November 2012.

That ticket will be Mitt Romney as the GOP candidate with Herman Cain as his stalwart veep, a match made in heaven. You have the moderate conservative from Massachusetts and the Tea Party hero from Georgia. The Mormon and the protestant. The political prestige and the business brains. Romney is dry. Cain is hilarious. I don’t know why I didn’t think of the pair before. Oh wait – I was counting on the Texan.

No, not Ron Paul. He’s all but completely out of the running. I’m talking about Rick Perry, the guns n’ smoke, rip-roarin’ poll phenom that had the whole country topsy turvy long before August’s Iowa State Fair.  Where is he now?

Gov. perry is trailing Romney and Cain in the polls, and last night, he may have even dropped to fourth place.

Gallup shows Perry in third place

The immigration issue discussed in last month’s debates, as predicted, severely injured Perry. What hurt him in the first primary state was his actual performance. He appeared groggy, even slow. The RNC may fear giving constituents a candidate reminiscent of President George. W. Bush, but at least Bush provided a steady flow of usable sound bites. Gov. Perry is more conservative than Romney, but his chances to prove that to America are thinning.

The spotlight beamed on the Godfathers Pizza CEO and the governor from Massachusetts. The topic of religion may harm Romney in the Republican primaries, but it won’t make a difference if voters remember who they’re voting against in the general election.

Over all, Romney won the debate. He cleared up the hot topic issue of institution bailouts by differentiating between bailouts and preserving the national currency and the US financial system. The issue was instigated when moderators recited a previous quote from Romney saying the bank bailouts saved the country. In an atmosphere breeding the likes of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, that quote – and the issue behind it – could kill him with the youth vote. But, if that demographic listens closely and applies reason (I won’t hold my breath), they may understand the important distinction Romney was making.

“I’m not interested in bailing out failing institutions … Bailing people out is a terrible idea,” Romney said.

Not surprisingly, Cain agreed. Both seemed to purport a care for the American people over the interests of giant institutions. Romney’s simple solution of the night was to protect American jobs, just say no to bailouts and fight China with everything we’ve got.

“If you’re not willing to stand up to China, you risk getting run over by China, and that’s what’s happening,” Romney said, and later reiterated. “We’ve been played like a fiddle by the Chinese.”

If Obama was Bachmann’s main target, China was Romney’s. And according to political analyst Dick Morris, it was an affective strategy. We should expect an upsurge in the polls on behalf of the Romney campaign if this topic is capitalized in the media over the next few weeks.

On the other hand, Cain’s suggestion to fix the economy revolved around his silver bullet point encircling the 999 Plan, succinctly outlined thusly:

  • Business Flat Tax – 9%
    • Gross income less all investments, all purchases from other businesses and all dividends paid to shareholders.
    • Empowerment Zones will offer additional deductions for payroll employed in the zone.
  • Individual Flat Tax – 9%.
    • Gross income less charitable deductions.
    • Empowerment Zones will offer additional deductions for those living and/or working in the zone.
  • National Sales Tax – 9%.
    • This gets the Fair Tax off the sidelines and into the game.

In fact, the first hour of the debate felt like a 999 Plan commercial. Utah Gov. Jonathan Huntsman jokingly said of it, “It’s a catchy phrase. I actually thought it was the price of a pizza.”

Bachmann jumped on the band-wagon with her own, more devious, attack on what’s become as popular as coffee in conservative homes across the country. She told us to flip the 999 Plan around and take a second look.

“The devil’s in the details. … The 999 Plan isn’t a jobs plan, it’s a tax plan.”

As a tax attorney, she would know.

The New Hampshire debate was a necessary grappling point for Bachmann in the final countdown toward the primaries next year. Though I love her to pieces, it’s only a matter of time till she drops out of the race. And when she does, her ideas will only enrich another candidate. She’s not ready for this election, but she may very well be in 2020.

Newt Gingrich was strong, but for some reason wasn’t given enough air time. That was disappointing. However, he made a good show in blasting Ben Bernanke and the Dodd-Frank law, the economic version of Obamacare. He was joined in his volley of disapproval by Bachmann and Cain. Gingrich even said the Dodd-Frank bill is the real culprit for the downfall of Wall Street.

Though I prefer Cain’s unwavering conservatism, the debate’s crown and scepter go to Romney. He is consistent and strong with clear cut answers. Cut federal spending. Introduce a Balanced Budget Amendment. Repatriate our dollars from overseas. Throw away Obama’s jobs bills – according to Newt, they’re “stupid”. Cut back on scale of government. No new taxes. Create jobs.

Romneycare worries me, but not as much as the whole of our current president. We have to focus on who can actually beat him, and a Romney-Cain ticket might just do it.

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God bless them

That’s exactly what Nancy Pelosi said about the so-called Occupy Wall Street protestors this week. “God bless them.”

Ignoring the fact that Pelosi is seemingly allowed to invoke God’s name and other members of the state cannot, let’s focus on comparing a few videos so we can better understand the plight of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This is a George Washington University student of law. He is mad because “the bank” took his parents’ home. His message encapsulates one of the key sentiments of the protests in New York; protestors are blaming the banks and big corporations for the economic fallout and their own economic misfortunes.  You’ll be shocked to hear why this student believes his parents should not have lost their home.

His parents are highly educated. I don’t know their story, but a bank does not spontaneously take somebody’s property without a reason. Many people lost their homes over the last four years, and it wasn’t because they had a bachelor’s degree, master’s or doctorate, it’s because a majority of them were irresponsible. Common sense can tell you not to spend money you don’t have, which includes loans you cannot afford to pay back or homes in which you cannot afford to live. Unfortunately, financial responsibility cannot be taught from a book.

There are countless videos all over the Internet displaying the exuberant anger demonstrated by the protestors. Much can be said, much as already been said. But what are they protesting? Wealth. Greed. Corporations. Over-spending. Foreign aid. Why are they protesting? This picture sums it up:

Pop quiz question: What’s the difference between the group above, and the group below?

Answer: The group above is protesting on the sidewalk.

Those are Tea Party demonstrators. What did Nancy Pelosi say about them?

She calls the Tea Party participants “reckless,” part of an “astroturf campaign“, and accused their company of mixing with racists, secessionists, militias and neo-Nazis.

Without even comparing videos of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party movement, we can already see the differences – and they’re not what Pelosi would have you think.

Ideological differences aside, there are no videos of Tea Party participants getting arrested and shouting, “F*** you, man! We’re peaceful!” The TP demonstrators have no need to yell those things: they were never breaking the law to begin with. The OWS demonstrators were crowding the Brooklyn Bridge. Under New York City traffic code, that is illegal (click here for all traffic violations). And resisting law enforcement is a big no-no wherever you go. All the protestors retain their rights to scream expletives and call names, but when they break the law, they must pay the consequences.

Because I promised a video comparison, here it is. This is what happened when a tea party group protested in Quincy, Illinois. President Obama was visiting the town that day and the movement held a large group to protest the over-spending practices and socialistic policies they believe he supports. Protestors were asked to move off the streets by riot police – who were padded to the gills – called into action by President Obama’s own Secret Service.

And you know what they “yelled” at the top of their lungs? “America the Beautiful.” Yes, Mrs. Pelosi, very militaristic indeed.

Further reading material: To be fair, I’ve included an account from “the other side” of what happened in Quincy that day. You have this journalistic account and the actual footage to make you the decision yourself of what actually happened. Here is the article: “Quincy Tea Party Protest Draws Police in Riot Gear During Obama Speech.”

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Fear to Faith: A New Generation of American

I was 12 years old when al-Qaeda terrorists wreaked havoc on our country that serene September morning 10 years ago. I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend how in a matter of hours, my entire world was changed forever.

My age group has been dubbed the technological generation. We are the children of the Baby Boomers. Sometimes we even find faded photographs of our parents wearing blue and orange bell-bottom jeans coupled with Farrah Fawcett hair-dos. Unfortunately, we face far more frightening trends in the years ahead.

This year’s crop of college grads takes on a different America than the one our parents inherited at age 21. Acronyms like IED, WMD or DHS aren’t unfamiliar, just like the names Guantanamo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Taliban are in our everyday lexicon.

Some differences are apparent. While there was once a day when you were frisked only under suspect of illegality, it’s now a daily occurrence in our airports’ TSA lines. Or, instead of fighting for the best job, we’re fighting for any job. The examples could go on, but in a word, ours seems to be a future of fear. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

If adults my age let fear overtake us, we’re doomed, and the terrorists win. The battle did not end with Usama bin Laden’s death. The war on terror rages at home as well as abroad, and it is fought in the hearts of every American.

We must never forget the deadly day of Sept. 11, 2001. The day we do will be a tragic one indeed. However, we must never let the gloom of the threat hold us back. As Americans, we’re engineered for things far better than holding back. That’s not who we are.

We are a nation of many, united under one banner and one God. Together we have worn trails across undiscovered lands. We’ve spilled our own blood just to remain united as one country. When the terrors of World War II haunted the future of an economically crippled country, we charged forward anyway. Refusing to remain cowered in our bomb shelters, we as a people landed on the moon. On the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, we stood united, not only ready to lend a shoulder to cry on, but to offer a hand of hope to those who needed it most.

Dedication of 9-11 Pentagon Memorial

On the day after the attacks I remember counting 64 flags during my drive to school. The count only rose as the week progressed. It had a lasting impact.

Despite political battles or societal barriers, we should all remember the one bond tying us together: our heritage of tenacity.

I was only 12 when the planes hit the Twin Towers, but I was old enough to learn our country will always rise to the occasion and stand for hope and freedom both at home and abroad. From fear to faith, ours will be a new American generation, the one of unfettered courage and resolve.

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Proof Obama’s Not a Real Socialist

In his usual briefings and talk-back session with the press last Monday, President Obama responded to a reporter on the debate over raising the debt ceiling. Keep your ears open for the word “professional” in this clip:

“Well let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large,” Obama said.

So to all you Tea Partiers, shame on you! Obama is clearly not socialist, he is a Neo-Marxist! Socialism was so last century. Obama is into the new-age Saul Alinsky codes on community organizing and the radical political economic theories developed by socialist wanna-be’s.

Confused? Don’t worry, you’re supposed to be. It’s all part of the grand revolutionary plan. But, as Thomas Jefferson always said, education is one of the most crucial keys to freedom, and I’m going to help alleviate your confusion.

Excerpt of a letter from Jefferson to W.C. Jarvis, 1820

Karl Marx wrote the “Communist Manifesto” in 1848 describing class struggle and the need for revolution by the proletariate workers (lower economic class) against the bourgeois (upper economic class). He did not believe in individuality or private property. He demanded universal economic equality. Capitalism was the work of the devil (and yet, necessary on the road to communism).

No, Obama is not a pure Marxian socialist, as is clearly seen and heard in his demeaning discount of the American people compared to their “professional” counterparts in Washington. Does he forget that these people too were once members of the unwashed masses? Yes, and we pay his salary, too. If Obama was indeed a true blue socialist, he would not imply himself as a big wig; he’d call for all to unite under one class, one banner – there’d be no distinctions between the so-called uninformed, apathetic Americans and the president and Congress.

So if he isn’t socialist, what is he?

Our president follows the ten commandments of Saul Alinsky, community leader in Chicago during the 1930s. Alinsky wrote “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.” Alinsky adopted the ideas of Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci (fun little factoid: Mikhail Gorbachev also hitched a ride on the Neo-Marxist train conducted by Gramsci).

Saul Alinsky

Within “Rules for Radicals,” Alinsky emulated the socialistic agenda of equal distribution of wealth as Marx, but sought that end through power, instead of bloody revolution, as Marx did. This power was to be attained at whatever means necessary. Read below:

“The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth cost; of means, only whether they will work … The real arena is corrupt and bloody. (pg.24 of ‘Rules’).”

And then there’s this rule! Check this out:

“The tenth rule … is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments ….” (pg.36 of ‘Rules’).”

This one I find rather apropos.

“Change comes from power, and power comes from organization. (pg.113 of ‘Rules’)”

Change … no matter what the cost. If that means squashing the middle and lower classes to elevate yourself to a professional status, then it shall be done. That’s not Marxist socialism, but it’s just as dangerous. That’s Neo-Marxism, the secret weapon of socialism combined with subversive societal organizing.

Then Sen. Obama meeting with ACORN members

Mr. Obama, Americans don’t want the debt ceiling raised. We want to cut spending. We want to reduce our debt. We want jobs. We want oil from our own shores. We do not want any version of socialism. We do not want community organizing. We do not want power. We just want to return America to its former glory. And yes, we do our homework, and we’re watching you with eagle eyes. And we won’t eat our peas … until you do.

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GOP Debate in a Nutshell (in case you missed it)

The first Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire seemed more like an open forum town hall meeting, and though I think it was suitable, it was also a bit chaotic. With so many candidates on the stage and CNN’s John King constantly asking biased questions and interrupting each answer, I only found myself yelling at the screen. Over all, it was a decent kick-off to the great race of 2012.

Political commentaries, advisors, columnists (S.E. Cupp, Dick Morris, “Stu” from Glenn Beck) and staffers from the candidates’ themselves posted incessant Twitter updates on the debate’s progress. Michele Bachmann trended No. 8 on Twitter, right up there with a couple Hollywood movie stars and Dad’s Day Tweets. She – of all candidates – seemed to gain the most attention. Even Rush Limbaugh was in awe today.

Bachmann commanded the event with a sense of cool-headedness and ease. She absorbed every punch thrown her directions, including the more difficult questions garnered toward tripping her up, such as those concerning gay marriage, states’ rights, the tea party influence and abortion. Her best line of the night? In my opinion: “Principles over party.” Enough said. She’s had five babies and raised 23 foster kids. How many femi-Nazis can say they’ve done that? Shoving watermelons through a garden hose is no job for a sissy. Bachmann is tough and sharp as a whip. She wants to cut way back on spending, including repealing Obamacare and eliminating the NEA and EPA (complete wastes of American tax dollars). She’ll have to fight to stay on top though. Her conservative values paint her as “extreme” by the left. Then again, it’s the non-extreme voters that landed us in a deep recession with unemployment over 9 percent….

Then there was Ron Paul, whose answers to some of King’s ridiculous questions were equally quotable. “Individual rights” take precedence over everything else, he said. And when it comes to the state of the economy (“It’s the economy, stupid”), Paul could only say one thing: Blame the Fed. We must invite capital back into the country, quit printing money, and repatriate funds. In addition to Bachmann’s ideas on legislative cut backs, Paul advised we severely reduce NASA spending. Bringing NASA onto the debate floor was a mistake to begin with, but one all candidates were forced to handle. Why talk space when we have three war fronts? But that’s just me.

Cheryl Senter, NYT, June 13, 2011

Job creation was a fun topic. Few candidates actually answered the question – how can you in 30 seconds? – but we were fed a few morsels to munch on.

Herman Cain worships the private sector, wanting to repatriate profits and fuel them back to the people. Mitt Romney pointed his finger at Obama, Tim “TPaw” Pawlenty spiced up his vanilla and fired off a round of available options, including cutting taxes, reducing legislation and initiating pro-growth agendas that would promote an actualization of pro-American-exceptionalism. When Rick Santorum turn rolled around the momentum was rolling. And just as soon as it began, he brought it to a close with his skirting of the question. He ate up his time blaming the Democrats for their oppressive legislation and ideas, all the while never answering the question. If Santorum were a flavor of ice cream, he’d be sorbet: sweet and good looking, but lacking in substance.

Health care proved interesting, as always. Bachmann, the first member of Congress to issue a full scale repeal of last year’s health care bill said, “I will not rest until I repeal Obamacare.”

TPaw made took a clever, non-vanilla jab at Massachusetts’ health care program, demanding something better for the rest of America.

“A better plan and a different plan [from Obamney Care] is needed.”

Romney smiled wilily and bit back brilliantly. He seemed to agree with TPaw and accused Obama of not calling him first before initiating a similar program to see what worked and what didn’t. But can we afford mistakes like those seeping from the Oval Office? Washington is full of good intentions, and we can literally not afford any more mistakes.

Other topics included the influence of the tea party, the right to work, the return of manufacturing jobs to the U.S., government assistance to private enterprise and food safety (an easy topic for Mr. Cain).

I’m rooting for Michele Bachmann. She took care of her family and keeps her faith number one in her life. Secondly, I choose Tim Pawlenty. Is it a coincidence both are from Minnesota? I think not. The land of 10,000 lakes produces hard working, sincere, hardy, honest people. I should know. I came from that state.

And that’s a wrap. ;)

 

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Olympic flames douse political fury

Overcoming political bias during the Olympic Games is a challenge for me. This Olympic year has taught me something new. I’ve held the sentiment of American favoritism my whole life. Go Team USA! Every other country can take a hike. Of course it is only natural to root for your home country, but some would label my competitiveness a quirk leveling on the side of extreme competitive nationalism. I can’t help it, especially when it comes to the Winter Games.

When I watch other countries’ athletes march out during the opening ceremonies, my first impulse is to compare their government with ours or measure their standing on the global stage in relation to economics, military might, or level of democracy. It’s a sickness, I know. But the first step is admittance…right?

This year was different. This year’s Opening Ceremonies cooled down those heated contesting sentiments. I won’t lie – I still shouted “Go USA!” embarrassing my friends eating with me at On the Border while watching Team USA march across that beautiful stage in Vancouver last week. But this year I truly appreciated the peaceful representation of so many countries in one place.

Part of stretching our perspective to make more educated judgments on new situations comes from placing ourselves in paradigms other than those we are naturally incline to adopt. In my case, this meant looking at the 2010 international skiers, speed skaters, curlers, luger sliders, figures skaters, skate boarders and hockey teams simply as athletes united in the peak of their careers. They all hold several things in common: they love their countries and their sport, and they have all sacrificed in their own unique ways to get to this point.

Pakistanis and Israelis are competing under the same five, multi-colored rings as the French and the Germans. It’s incredible how fiery political issues are checked at the door in exchange for a pair of figure skates, skis or a sled.

Our government officials could learn a lot from the Olympic spirit. We could accomplish a lot more on the House and Senate floor of the U.S. Congress if we checked greed and political competitiveness at the door. Instead, we take sides and refuse to acknowledge other ideas. The least we could do is momentarily take off our rose-colored glasses.

It seems all we hear is, Go Nancy Pelosi! Go Health Care Bill! Go Scott Brown! Go Republicans! The competition seems as fierce as any Olympic event. When two lawmakers disagree, they disregard each other as if to say, “Go take a hike,” then go along their merry way in pursuit of personal victory.

When will we again hear “Go America”? When can we expect to witness an American spirit united in the pursuit of a common goal? And what is that goal? It is the will of the people. The lust for power, money and a spot on top of the political podium has replaced the spirit and will of the American people.

Instead of chasing that American dream together, we are chasing it apart. E pluribus unum. In other words, as Benjamin Franklin prophetically said, “We must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.”

Let’s remind our team leaders to listen to their teammates – us, their American constituents. The hope and change promised by one person cannot begin accomplishing those dreams without the combined efforts of the rest of the team. Change begins here, and it begins now.

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