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My Point of View: Democrats are focused on participation trophies for all

My Point of View by Brad Kramer

America is a beautiful country, rich with opportunity, resources, natural beauty and grit. We have not always gotten everything right in our history, but we are a nation worth loving. America has never been content with allowing one group to rule in perpetuity, or to protect wealth and resources for aristocrats.

Brad Kramer

On the contrary, this beautiful American experiment has written into its foundations the ability to allow people to fail and rise again with the very intention of promoting the ideal that anybody, from any background, with the right mix of determination and whatever skills they may possess, may prosper.

If you look at how our tax codes are written, they allow business owners to write off losses, and reward them for providing what society needs. For business owners who can’t make a business work, we allow bankruptcy. At the time of our nation’s founding, many other countries had debtors’ prisons. While some states did have them initially, both nationally and in many states, the momentum was to end that practice to promote entrepreneurship.

What does this have to do with today’s political column?

Since our beginning, America has been the place where you can come with nothing, and if you’re willing to work hard, have unlimited opportunity. This has created more opportunity, wealth and advancement than anywhere else in world history.

Throughout our nation’s history, we didn’t always get everything right. Our nation is blemished with the mistreatment of many people. However, the American Dream has always been within reach of our people.

It takes failure to learn and succeed. It is not until the child has fallen many times that they learn to walk and then run. Similarly, none of us succeed as a practice until we’ve failed many times. And the ability to try, fail and try again is why business ownership has been such a successful way to build our nation. Main Street America is filled with examples. Many business owners fail on their first attempt, and while we provide numerous resources to business owners, we tolerate failure because few get it right on the first attempt.

Throughout our history, many Americans who were born with nothing have been able to procure prosperity, freedom, success and noble pursuits. Some of our nation’s most prosperous citizens were born penniless, and even orphans.

Today’s Democrats seem intent on eliminating this ability for anybody to succeed. The call to socialism by many in the Democrat Party would appear to come from a soft place in their heart to provide a safety net and equal footing to all people, but in practice, socialism never achieves that.

Too broad of a safety net keeps people docile and comfortable. Letting people starve is cruel, but it is just as cruel to provide for people’s every base want without them earning it. That promotes a docile population that loses its desire to accomplish great things. There is a saying among entrepreneurs that says, “stay hungry.” While we only need to turn on our television to see the lives of the rich and famous cruising in their massive yachts and owning their multi-million dollar homes, many of them are on top of the world one day and filing bankruptcy the next. They are the ones who failed to stay hungry.

In our own communities, there are many millionaires among us, driving pickup trucks and living in normal homes. These are the men and women who remember the words “stay hungry.” They do not grow complacent and make great shows of their wealth, but they keep creating opportunity — jobs, opportunities, sponsoring worthy causes in their communities, keeping their hands callused.

Socialism strips men and women of that dignity. While it’s important to have a safety net to protect the most vulnerable and prevent misery, it does us all a great disservice to take away all our figurative hunger. 

While certain kinds of welfare are compassionate and necessary, many of the initiatives being championed by the Democrats are nothing more than participation trophies being given to buy votes and keep people from being hungry for something real. My generation received participation trophies. I’ve always been competitive, so the ribbons or trophies I received that were not earned had no place next to my beautiful Pinewood Derby trophy that was earned by actually winning it in Cub Scouts, and even then, I always knew that trophy was not fully mine because a loving parent helped build the winning car.

Universal basic income, universal health care, college loan forgiveness — these are the many participation trophies you’re being handed to keep you from being hungry and wanting what is your birthright: The American Dream. Will you put your participation trophy on your mantle and idolize it, or will you throw it in the garbage and earn a real trophy?

Brad Kramer is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party.