We took the junior high and high school boys rock climbing and rappelling Sunday at Whipps Ledges just north of Akron. What a great demonstration of life for them. That first step backwards off the edge of the cliff almost 30 feet in the air and nothing but the rope, your gear, and your partner belaying you from below. Ultimately, you have to trust that everything will work properly and that your partner will be there to catch you if you stumble.
It is the same in life. We need to know who we can trust and learn to develop the skills to properly check our surroundings. This is why it is important to have strong families and good close friends who have positive impacts on our lives. If you have a friend that is leading you down a destructive path you need to get out of that situation now. It will only end badly for you.
But I’m afraid our culture continues to turn to the wrong friends to trust. In a speech at Fort Stewart on Friday, President Obama said the following:
”And we can do it again. We face some tough times. We’ve gone through the worst recession since the Great Depression, two wars. But you know what, we’ve faced tough times before. And all of you know something that America should never forget: Just as you rise or fall as one unit, we rise or fall as one nation. Just as you have each other’s backs, what has always made America great is that we have each other’s backs. Each of us is only here because somebody looked out for us. Not just our parents, but our neighbors and our communities and our houses of worship and our VFW halls. (Applause.) Each of us is here because we had a country that was willing to invest in things like community colleges and universities, and scientific research and medicine, and caring for our veterans. Each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, had our backs.
This country exists because generations of Americans worked together and looked out for one other. Out of many, we are one. Those are the values we’ve got to return to. If we do, there’s nothing this country cannot achieve. There’s no challenge that’s too great for us. There’s no destiny beyond our reach. As long as we’re joined in common purpose and common resolve, better days will always lie ahead, and we will remind everybody why the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.”
What the President is asking us to do is to place our trust in the government and we will be great again. The President is wrong. Just look at the successful men and women from our history. Who had Thomas Edison’s back? How about Henry Ford? Or Steve Jobs? Our greatness is not based on the government having our back as the President is implying. Our greatness comes from the dreams of individual men and women who have a drive and a vision and share them with others to fulfill a need or want for their fellow human beings.
If the President’s collectivism ideas are what made the country great, the Soviet Union would have been an overwhelming success rather than a miserable failure that died almost two decades ago. There is no intrinsic motivation for government to be successful. It is not what government does that breeds success but a culture that allows us to dream and then try to pursue those dreams. Sorry, Mr. President, you cannot “guarantee success” as you suggested in an earlier speech last week.
Who do you trust your family and close friends or a bureaucrat in some government agency? Just like in rock climbing, I want someone I know well and can trust to be holding the end of that rope in case I fall.