09.12.2013 2

America still surprises me


By Rick Manning

After more than thirty years in the political world as a lobbyist, House leadership staffer, anonymous administration source and communications professional, people often ask if anything still surprises me.  The answer is yes.

It still surprises me that President Obama gets away with counting every truck driver who delivers a part to build a windmill as a green job, yet denies his own State Department’s job creation estimates for the Keystone XL pipeline.

It still surprises me that tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of bikers would take time off from work to ride into D.C. on 9/11 to show their love for the United States – what an inspirational and beautiful thing.

It still surprises me that anyone listens to what Al Sharpton has to say about anything.

It surprises me when I drive through the western United States enjoying the majestic vistas turn a bend in the road and see massive windmills dominating the skyline twenty miles in the distance.  It is perfectly okay if farmers and other private land owners choose to make some extra money by having windmills on their land, I do mind having my tax dollars paying them to do so.

It surprises me that the Obama team can be taken seriously on foreign policy when one day our President is arguing that the United States should commit an act of war against the Syrian regime to punish them for the use of chemical weapons, and the next they are embracing a solution which puts the Russians in a place of primacy in the region that actually doesn’t punish Assad.

It surprises me that the Redskins defense was so unprepared for the Eagles’ read-option offense, when they are the ones who really brought it into the NFL last year and even retained a fourth QB simply because he could simulate Michael Vick.

It surprises me that Facebook and Twitter have become prime ways that people get their news leaving the editorial decisions on what news they see to their chosen friends and not anonymous editors.

It surprises me that the DrudgeReport, which is nothing more than a news aggregator site with pithy headlines continues to grow getting around 3 million pageviews a day dwarfing MSNBC’s total audience.  I guess ugly website beats ugly people.

It surprises me when hundreds of people take time out of their weekend to line the streets of a small town waving flags to thank wounded warriors arriving from a local rehab center to take a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay.

It surprises me that after almost eight trillion dollars in deficit spending on top of the Federal Reserve pumping trillions of dollars into the economy, that economists like Paul Krugman have the audacity to call this an era of austerity and demand even more spending.

It surprises me that those union members who work in the private sector making, building or extracting energy or natural resources haven’t demanded that their labor unions disassociate from the anti-industrial environmental left controlled Democratic Party.  Private sector union members who are forced to pay to elect environmental Democrats are no different than if chickens were forced to vote for Col. Sanders.

The incredible courage and strength of the American servicemen and women surprise me.  Enduring hardships that would make most break down, these brave volunteers go to the most inhospitable and dangerous places and serve with dignity, putting their lives in danger so that others might have the chance to live in freedom.

And finally, the decency of the American people as a whole still surprises me.  A goodness that leads many people to roll up their sleeves to help meet others needs for food, shelter or even just companionship.  A willingness to reach out to the “least of these” with compassion and the spirit of providing another chance to those who want it, not by demanding the government do something, but instead by doing something themselves.

With all the challenges our nation faces, these last two surprises are what provide me with a sustaining hope for the future of America.  America is bigger than the government, it is a people who understand that freedom matters, and with that freedom comes responsibility.  Sometimes freedom is hard, because it doesn’t guarantee success, but it gives each person the chance to try and fail, and get up and try again.

I remain optimistic that our great nation’s best days are still ahead of us, and that is perhaps the biggest surprise to me of all.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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