As we approach the election, Americans are faced with a choice more fundamental than in past elections. The choice this year is not just about policy. The choice this year is about who will embrace America in order to save America.
After watching the new movie by Dinesh D’Souza: 2016 Obama’s America, I came to the conclusion that Barack Obama is missing certain qualities critical to the job.
I concluded that Barack Obama is not American.
Here’s what I mean…
I couldn’t help but compare my version of being an American with what I now consider to be Obama’s.
As I write this, my big brown hound dog is asleep at my feet. My expectant wife is laying on the couch studying a list of baby names. My mind turned to this blog after I finished an important proposal for a prospective client. I just finished my work day, and it’s 11:00 at night.
Running a small business is hard.
And through the course of my life beginning long before this night, I have had 40 years of being American.
Quintessentially American, like the vast majority of others in this country - natural born and immigrant alike. Heck, I’m only a generation away from being an immigrant myself.
My earliest memories, I suppose, are from when I was about 3. I remember my Mom wrapping Christmas presents on the living room floor. I remember getting a pair of six shooters and a Lone Ranger doll with a plastic Silver that year. I think I also got the matching Tonto doll and his trusted Paint horse, Scout.
I remember being about five or six years old, when a favorite pastime was sliding down the slope of my front lawn with Danny, the kid who lived across the street. During that same time period I remember riding a large spring-loaded horse, while my Grampa played the William Tell Overture on an old record player.
This was about the time of our bicentennial. I remember a flag with a “76” on it. I also remember telling my little friends Danny and Kristen, “My parents are voting for Ford,” though I didn’t really know what that meant.
I remember the older, high school boys knocking on the back door to our house to ask Mom if they could play football in our backyard - she always said yes.
We moved and lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids. My Dad - now “Papou” - still lives in that house. Growing up, life was one day after another of kickball in the cal-du-sac, building tree forts in the woods with Billy, Jean-Luc, Pat, Brian, the “other” Billy, and riding our BMX bikes.
We spent endless days down at the creek catching frogs and crayfish and building dams. Other days were spent fishing at Fox Lake (we snuck on to the private land).
One day when I was about 11, my buddy brought over a hack saw, and we cut the lock on my dad’s foot locker from when he was in the Army some 30 years prior. We got hold of his fatigues and belts and played war in the woods for the next two weeks.
In sixth grade I remember having a “boy-girl” party. Looking back it was so funny. We played spin-the-bottle. I think we wore out the record player with songs from Chicago, John Cougar and Michael Jackson.
Summers were spent at the pool, on the swim team. I remember standing there in my suit, hand over my heart, as the National Anthem played over a crackly PA system. To this day, I can’t listen to the Anthem without getting choked up. My Mom told me, “Always win with grace and lose with grace,” and made sure I always shook the hand of the kid in the lane next to me, win or lose.
Thanksgiving was usually spent at my Uncle’s house, just across the street from Valley Forge, PA. After watching Aunt Peggy and Aunt Rene cook all morning, the kids got the small table. We all held hands, while one of the grown-ups said grace. At the time it seemed like a pain.
After dinner, we walked the fields of Valley Forge.
And so it was… throughout my childhood, I learned about my family:
- How my Papou - a greek immigrant - parlayed a job in a local store into owning that store.
- About how my uncles fought the Nazi’s in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific.
- My Dad telling me about how his mother - my Nana - would from time to time feed dinner to out-of-work men (he called them “hobos”). They ate their plate of food on the back stoop.
- One uncle built a company that eventually turned him into a millionaire.
- How my Mom lived in a “3 room bungalow” with her 5 brothers and sisters when she was a kid.
My American heritage goes on and on…
Off-Summer season was school, fitting in, getting in some trouble here and there and playing outside. I remember how big a deal it was to get a “Members Only” jacket and two years later, getting a “Levi’s Jean Jacket.”
My Mom taught me how to drive. At 13 years old she let me drive the old Lincoln - a 1966 baby blue Continental - to the other end of the neighborhood. My first car ended up being Mom’s worn out 1979 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon, complete with woody sides.
High School was fun. Maybe too much fun. I did a one year stint at Bishop O’Connell High in order to get my grades up, so that I could get into college. My Mom and Dad always supported me, no matter what I got into. I knew when I screwed up, but I also had unconditional love, and I knew that too.
I’ve got a shoebox in my closet full of the many letters Mom wrote me during college. I wish I knew then what I know now about what a parent really thinks and feels.
Sales jobs took me through my first few years out of college. I was in the Internet business and life was good. In 2000-2001 I got laid off 3 times. I kept right on going. In 2009 I got laid off again.
That was the last time I will ever get laid off.
After losing my job that July day in 2009, I went for a jog. Lumbering down the Washington & Old Dominion trail in Vienna, VA, I made up my mind: I was starting my own business.
And I did just that.
The last three years have been TOUGH. With a new wife and two babies at home, launching a business from scratch was a risky decision.
But it is part of my DNA.
Figuring out what products to sell, how to sell them, writing my own contracts, finding outsource providers, servicing clients, getting paid…
Every month, bills come due and I MUST produce.
This year, I grouped up with another company and pooled our resources to form a larger company. We’re still small and there are only 3 partners, but we’re doing it.
We’re really doing it. We’re growing.
We talk a lot about how to hire another sales person, an account manager, how to handle the new customers, how to scale, how we’re going to get paid more, how we can all become hugely successful and do it with the least risk. For three years, I have been working more hours and for much less than I could earn in the corporate world.
My partner has taken a line of credit that he personally collateralized to help manage the company cash flow.
All this to say, this is an American life.
I was not handed anything per se. My Mom was always there for my three sisters and me. My Dad worked tirelessly to provide for us. They taught us to work, to strive for achievement, to be good people, how to love one another. They taught us the power of self-reliance and the power of family.
Now each of us is teaching our children the same lessons.
We are Americans.
This all flashes through my mind in a patriotic blur. Then I consider the life experiences of Barack Obama and what his American experience was and is, and what his parents taught him.
Obama grew up with a communist mother and experienced childhood in Indonesia. He was always surrounded by communists, marxists and radicals as his mentors, teachers and role models, all at the bidding of his Mother. And of course the unseen force of his revolutionary father guiding his ideals and principles, which were all the exact opposite of the ideals and principles I was brought up with.
The documentary 2016 crystallized what it really means to be American, at least as it relates to considering our current President.
Being American cannot be described in a sentence about the Constitution or the founding fathers, or even about liberty. Being American is a collection of life experiences that are unique. Experiences that are only possible when the government exists solely to protect the freedoms granted to us by God.
This is what makes us exceptional.
Beyond the $1.5 trillion in deficits, beyond the $16 trillion debt, beyond the regulatory over-reach, beyond the 8.3% unemployment, beyond the $3.80 gas…
Beyond all of those failures, I am against Barack Obama because, regardless of his citizenship, I don’t consider him to be American in a certain sense. I don’t believe he has the life experiences and consequently the ideals and philosophies that make one distinctly American.
My opinion is that Obama’s life experiences are not just foreign to the American ideal, but are anathema to the ideal.
Think about your childhood. If you are a new immigrant, think about the reason you came to America. Think about why your parents or grandparents came to America. Think about your experiences growing up. Were you the protege of a communist radical? Did your parents obsess about colonialism and how America was robbing the rest of the world?
Is that what you learned as a child?
So as I sit here and look down at my big dumb dog and while I quietly admire my wife, I realize that my collection of life experiences, thoughts and ideas are what make me American. The freedom I have to conceive, develop and build my business makes me American.
And I realize that my collection of experiences is similar to most Americans.
Whether you grew up on a city block in Brooklyn, NY, or a small town in the midwest, or the suburbs of Washington DC, these experiences are similar. They are what bind us. They are also impossible to have without our brand of freedom.
Then I think about Barack Obama…
And I realize he does not share these experiences.
More than that, these experiences are unseemly to Obama. Because to Obama, all that I have, I have because my family stole it from some poorer family. And as Americans, we have these experiences only at the expense of others across the globe.
Not only does Barack Obama not share my American experience, but he holds it in disdain.
Forget about “being” American. Obama doesn’t know what it means to be American.