13 Aug


In his first speech after being introduced as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential  pick, Rep. Paul Ryan(R-WI) spoke from his heart when he said the following:

But America is more than just a place…it’s an idea.  It’s the only country founded on an idea.  Our rights come from nature and God, not government.  We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

No one can disagree with this eloquent statement. But, it hides the flawed goods being sold by the Romney/Ryan ticket. It denies our history, our darker selves, and our greatest accomplishments.

VP Candidate Ryan misses a key point in his assertion, rendering it inaccurate and insufficient to explain what President Barack Obama refers to as American exceptionalism. While natural rights,what many deem God-given rights, are inherently every person’s birthright, it is government which secures those rights. Ask any African-American, woman, member of the LGBT community, American labor unions, American workers, immigrants how they obtained their right to be free of enslavement, their right to vote, their freedom from unsafe workplaces at unfair wages and right to job protection from unscrupulous employers, right to marry a person of a different color or gender, right to create a family,right to an education and fair competition. Ask Mother Earth who protects her streams,rivers and oceans, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the medicine we swallow, the parkland we enjoy.

No American expects an equal outcome to another, but all Americans expect an equal opportunity. Equal opportunity may have been enshrined in our constitution by our founding fathers but it took hundreds of years of blood, sweat, tears, toil and even death by many of our citizens until government was able to secure those rights individuals, employers, companies and localities denied them. It takes a strong government,true to its ideals and cognizant of its history to maintain the exceptional accomplishments for which it is known.

This unwillingness to adhere to the truth of America’s history, its reliance on slavery and continuing racism to secure the economic dominance of the world, using the blind adoration to the Second Amendment to cover its position as arms dealer to the world, its effort to privatize all endeavors of our communities-even education and health care-under the guise of growth and autonomy while destroying the middle class…all this and more is what underlies VP candidate Paul Ryan’s budget. This is what he does not say, but merely implies when he describes government as our enemy.  It is not our enemy; it is the enemy of those who would dominate us and our communities for their personal gain.

Government is not our enemy, it is us. WE THE PEOPLE are the government. Unfortunately, too many of us can’t see ourselves in the face of our African-American President and First Lady.  Rep. Ryan is wrong when he says, “This idea (our liberty) is under assault.” From whom? How? I have lost no freedom under President Obama. My freedom is more secure than ever in history. I can expect equal pay for equal work. I can expect the ability to afford and purchase a health insurance policy despite having multiple pre-existing conditions. I can be recognized and rewarded for my military service, cared for when injured, rehabilitated when disabled. I can walk freely,talk freely,use the internet freely,read books freely,and assemble freely. Yes, some efforts to protect the nation from terrorists foreign and domestic make it harder to board a plane, but also make it safer to do so. I still can board the plane when I want, with whom I want, and go where I want. How has my freedom been compromised? I can pray where I want when I want, follow whatever religious dictates I choose. it is not my government which attempts to restrict me in this regard but my own religion which does so. It is definitely not President Obama who restricts me in any way; nor would Rep. Ryan give me any more freedom than I already own by right of citizenship. Rep. Ryan’s budget and philosophy would restrict those rights and freedoms I now have.

Rep. Ryan gave a good speech. He just doesn’t seem to understand what he is really telling us about our country, ourselves, or our government. He has fallen short, missed the mark. Great commercial; but, we should not buy the flawed goods he is selling. America is so  much more. President Obama has been telling us so, and demonstrates it for us every day he is in office. Let’s keep him there.


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