One of the things I hate about the current political climate is that when someone from the opposite party or ideology says something that you should agree with--everyone is still compelled to bash that person and denigrate their position.
Case in point, President Obama's statement last week to Orlando, FL TV station when asked about why the ecnomony isn't pulling out of the recession: "I mean, there are a lot of things we can do. The way I think about it is, you know, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and, you know, we didn't have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track."
Now you would have thought the President had called Americans a bunch of lilly-livered, yellow cowards the way conservatives have reacted to his comments. Rick Perry (OK--a pseudo-conservative) said it was President Obama who "is soft". Most of the hosts on this very radio station bashed the President for "bashing America again." But the truth of the matter is President Obama is correct--we are soft and we have lost our competitive edge.
We don't keep score in youth sports because that would mean having "winners" and "losers". High schools are doing away with Valedictorians and Salutatorians at graduation ceremonies. Instead of teaching our children that underage drinking in illegal and wrong--we host house parties for them. We consider a 26-year old a "child" for the purpose of remaining on their parents' health insurance. We oppose merit-based pay raises. We buy cars that open their own doors, park themselves and now, even compensate for our own inattentiveness behind the wheel. We demonize anyone that makes more money than us. And now we are trying to model our economy after systems that have dragged other nations down into financial ruin.
One of my favorite moments during the time I took off last year to "pursue other opportunities" was visiting a house here in Oshkosh where a father and son were both unemployed. The father--Id' say about 350-pounds--was on disability "you know, because of my back". The son--I'd say in his mid-20's--complained there were no jobs available. I asked him what he did--and he said he was a welder. I told him that FVTC had to add courses last year trying to train welders just to meet demand in the area. He said "Yeah, but all them jobs are in Manitowoc and Marinette--and I ain't going there just for a job."
So I applaud President Obama for speaking the truth (for a change) and for throwing down the gauntlet. Now, how will America accept the challenge?