Allen Fuller: Is this who we were meant to be?

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From the line at the grocery store right across the parking lot to the price tag at the fuel pump, it’s hard not to get frustrated these days.

Life in America just feels harder. It’s harder to get where we need to go, whether on the highway or through the airport. It’s harder to find a job we love. It’s harder to find communities where our kids are safe. It’s harder to find reruns of “Star Trek.”

Maybe our expectations are just too high. Today we complain when our latte doesn’t have enough syrup or our bread has too much gluten. We impatiently snort at our phones when an email takes too long to load, never mind the fact that emails, Web pages and videos are beamed miraculously to us across nothing but air.

Is it human nature to ignore the blessings of life and focus maniacally on the imperfect? Are we just spoiled rotten? Or has something really changed?

Economists tell us that consumer confidence is bouncing back. But to be honest, has anyone ever actually met an economist? Who are these nameless, faceless people? Do they all wear thick glasses and bow ties? Can you really trust someone that good at math?

Whoever they are, they are telling us that consumer confidence is bouncing back. What they’re not telling us, though, is “bouncing back” means 17 percent of people surveyed think things are “good” as opposed to last month when a tiny 16 percent said things were “good.”

This is not encouraging. Where I grew up down South, you could find 17 percent of people to say things were “good” after a tornado blew through town.

They’re also not telling us that amid their algorithms and charts and chalk-stained wardrobe, studies still say 28 percent of us think things are “bad.”

If a politician were running for office and they were 11 points down in the polls, the media would say they were getting trounced. When it comes to the economy, they say “it’s improving.”

Why do so many of us think things are bad? Has it always been that way? Of course not. You don’t have to put Lucille Ball next to Miley Cyrus to know something has changed radically in America.

It’s not all bad. If it weren’t for the ’70s, Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King probably wouldn’t have been high enough to write “Sweet Home Alabama,” which is, statistically speaking, the greatest song ever recorded.

What has changed in America more than anything else is the size of government and the role it plays in our daily lives. If you don’t believe me, close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine a part of your life that is not impacted by government. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Still trying? Don’t hurt yourself.

The impact of government is everywhere, and the minute we start to treat it as normal is the minute we resign ourselves to believing that life in America is just going to be hard. When our ancestors came to America, it was not in hopes that they would find a land where the government would regulate which light bulbs to buy. They were leaving a place where life was hard to find a place where, at least if they worked hard, they could get ahead in life. To leave a better future for their children. For us.

Today, we check our phones for the nearest Starbucks but not for the news. We follow the Oscars but not Congress. We want to ignore the sausage making of government then wonder why everything stinks.

Life in America doesn’t have to be hard. We can chase our dreams. We just have to realize that because something needs to be done, it’s not the government’s job to do it.

Let’s educate our kids, help our neighbors, save for retirement and don’t be afraid to ask the doctor how much something costs.

Let’s step up to the plate and take ownership of the course of our lives, our families’ future and our nation’s destiny.

Let’s be the people we were meant to be.

Allen Fuller is a former congressional press secretary and current small-business owner. He is the chief technology adviser to The Steamboat Institute.

Comments

Brian Kotowski 10 months ago

Careful, Allen. Advocating personal responsibility and voicing suspicion of an expanding government and will get you labeled a racist, and may even compel the Vice President to call you a terrorist.

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jerry carlton 10 months ago

Very well written and true. Left out the most important part in my opinion. This country and its government has turned its back on God. Read the Old Testament to find out what happened to Israel and Judah when they turned their backs on God.

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john bailey 10 months ago

your welcome for the thumbs. never truer statements then what I read right here. kudos Allen for telling it like it is. ~;0) leave the device at home and go outside, far outside.

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Scott Wedel 10 months ago

So we have Miley Cyrus instead of Lucille Ball because of big government? Going to blame high gas prices on big government? So going to ignore that gas is a global market and it is expensive all around the world?

The author lists a bunch of complaints and then asks what has changed and concludes it is government. Well, technology and especially communications has changed more dramatically than government so by the great leaps of logic presented above then we might as well ban technology to get back to a world that some preferred to the present.

Nice example of how Steamboat Institute is part of the problem. A right wing "think tank" that has yet to come up with a good idea that it is willing to promote and work to implement. It shows how it is a better model to drag out the same old political hacks that are liked by financial contributors and are able to attract a reliable audience. It shows that what works is being overtly partisan and not having ideas.

It is a problem for both parties. Both are way to comfortable in their ideology and opposition to the other party and way too little concern with proper governance of following the rules, of not wasting money and of having ideas that work in practice.

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Neil O'Keeffe 10 months ago

Couldn't agree more Scott, thanks for bringing a bit of reality to the conversation. Unfortunately these blogs have turned into a wasteland of ultra conservative griping by mostly old white dudes that just want things to be like they were with Wally and the Beav. But then again many on both sides seem to have their own view of reality and expect everyone else to share that same view. Moderation and compromise are considered obtuse and unacceptable and have been replaced by an insistence of being right 100% of the time regardless of facts and or majority opinion. I always preferred Lumpy over Eddie but these days it's Eddie that seems to get all of the attention. God bless us all!

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

I am missing Scott's "bringing a bit of reality to the conversation". Let's take a look at this statement by Scott. "So going to ignore that gas is a global market and it is expensive all around the world?" Do we know why gas is expensive in Europe. Taxes on fuel. Hmmmm. Where did those taxes come from. Could it be from government? Here is a quote from an article by Mark Whittington posted Feb 2012. COMMENTARY |" President Barack Obama's Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu uttered the kind of Washington gaffe that consists of telling the truth when inconvenient. According to Politico, Chu admitted to a House committee that the administration is not interested in lowering gas prices.. " Hmmmm - government intervention? Neil and Scott - be glad that free speech is still in vogue in the US thus allowing you to call people old political hacks and mostly old white dudes. Speaking of free speech here is a link to an interesting read. http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=921bd9a3-126b-4c9e-a4c6-86e34a9b9a09&ContentType_id=c19bc7a5-2bb9-4a73-b2ab-3c1b5191a72b&Group_id=0fd6ddca-6a05-4b26-8710-a0b7b59a8f1f&MonthDisplay=6&YearDisplay=2013

Rhys, Jerry, John - sorry I broke down.

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Scott Wedel 10 months ago

Gas is more expensive in Europe because of the high level of taxes they put on gas. But the reason gas is not $2 or less a gallon is because oil and gas are world markets and $2 gas is less than the free market wholesale price of gas. If a barrel of oil was valued at $20 then many wells would still be profitable to operate and it could be refined and sold as gas for $2 or so.

But the free market price of a barrel of oil is closer to $100 and no one would consider selling their oil at such a severe discount.

A barrel of oil approached $150 a barrel during the economic boom and dropped to low $60s during the Great Recession. Hardly looks like a market controlled by the USA.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

nice try Scott but you are out of your comfort zone.I was in commodity business for 30+ years. You go ahead and spew your progressive rhetoric. PS: Still waiting to hear from you or Steve or Neil on Fast and Furious

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jerry carlton 10 months ago

Well Neil, if you live long enough someday you will be old. Maybe you will even gain a little wisdom. How about your father? Is he any wiser now than when you were a teenager? Are you any wiser now than when you were a teenager?

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Neil O'Keeffe 10 months ago

I never said that I wasn't an old white dude and yes I try to gain some wisdom every day I am here. Part of wisdom is realizing you don't always get it your way and that change is an inevitable part of life. Where is the wisdom in the ultra right attitudes these days? They offer no solutions other than less government meanwhile they are more than willing to have a hand out when personally convenient and especially unwilling to consider others perspectives or hardships. If that is what you are referring to as wisdom then your house must be made of incredibly strong glass. Cheers Mate!

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Neil O'Keeffe 10 months ago

As a final note, where do you think the seat of wisdom is, does it simply come with age and experience or is it cultivated? Can wisdom exist on its own or must it be accompanied by virtue, compassion, forgiveness? All this talk of our godless government/society just makes me laugh, having been raised an Irish Catholic and attended parochial schools 10 out of 12 grade school year 's I have witnessed my fair share of hypocrisy and hate all in the name of God, Is this what you refer to as wisdom?

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Brian Kotowski 10 months ago

Neil

As a card-carrying heathen, I could give a rip about religious sensibilities, except to the extent that our culture is quite rightly based upon them. We have laws on the books against murder, which advise nothing more ambitious than 'Thou Shalt Not Kill.' That people violate that injunction is not an indictment of religion – it's a recognition that evil exists. Stalin presided over a state which reviled religion as the opiate of the masses, and yet murdered so many people as to make Hitler look like Martha Stewart. Not in the name of religion, but in service to a secular lust for power. Which of those two paradigms do you regard to be less wise? If neither is acceptable, what do you propose as an alternative?

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Scott Wedel 10 months ago

It is does take religion or faith to decide that murder is very wrong.

Murder can be seen as being wrong because it is so unfair to the victim. It makes no sense that a killer (when not self defense) can benefit from killing another person. And if murder was ok then it would make sense for everyone to kill everyone that might be a threat to them. Which is hardly a desirable situation.

Something like Christian Charity are not easily justified as being obviously fair and logical. That is where faith comes in

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

Neil Here is your seat of wisdom " The president decided to make gun control legislation a major second-term priority ... with firearm homicides at a 30 year low. Congress is pursuing a sharp increase in low skilled immigration ... when the foreign born share of American population is already headed for historical highs. The administration is drawing up major new carbon regulations ... when actual existing global warming has been well below projections for 15 years and counting." Ross Douthat NY Times. What about jobs, what about wages, what about the economy. Food stamp usage - all time highs, disability insurance - all time highs. Who is going to pay for all this. Not your "ultra conservative grumpy old white dudes". They will be dead and gone when this bill comes due. I have children - they will pay. Do you have children. If so they will pay as well

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Neil O'Keeffe 10 months ago

Yes Brian evil does certainly exist but what I have a much bigger problem with is hypocrisy because it is based on ego and versus "Evil" which is based on insanity. As far as all of the political hyperbole of what should or shouldn't happen that again is personal opinion not a matter of fact. When you ask about children I can only speculate that you would want to do everything in your power to protect them and that is commendable, so what is your opinion on gun control or climate change? BTW I love surprises. More Lumpy less Eddy!

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

Hey Neil, I asked about children but you didn't answer. I have 3. Climate change you ask. It is happening and continues to happen. Hey Greenland was actually green 700 or so years ago. Must have been those darn SUVs. Temps up about 1.5 degrees over last 100+ years. Another 100 years and another 1.5 degrees. Not a worry to me. Gun control. We don't need any more gun control laws. Enforce the ones we have. Crime committed with a gun. Put em away for awhile. Murder with a gun. put em away for life. How about Fast and Furious. Still waiting to hear from a liberal/progressive about that. PS: did you notice I refrained from name calling. nothing about old white dudes, sheeple, truthiness, ultra white

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Neil O'Keeffe 10 months ago

PS Good versus Evil is the ongoing yin and yang of the universe; hypocrisy, selfishness, greed, spite hatred... are nothing more than bi-products of the same paradigm. How come I got no answers about the seat of wisdom and its accompanying attributes? More Lumpy and Less Eddy!

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Brian Kotowski 10 months ago

Neil

You're kind of all over the map. I've not mentioned kids; you've evidently confused me with someone else here. Re: evil based on hypocrisy v. insanity, you've really lost me. Evil is evil, regardless of what you think it's "based" on. If I understand you (a BIG if), Stalin's Russia is less egregious than the Crusades because you see less hypocrisy in secular mass-murder than in religiously-motivated bloodshed? Seriously?

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jerry carlton 10 months ago

Neil You have actually revealed a little about yourself. I know from past encounters, you think I should be more compassionate. If you are the progressive liberal that you present yourself as, I would ask you where your compassion is for the millions of aborted children in this country? I do have the wisdom to know that my side is losing. This country is becoming a Godless society that is going to collapse eventually just as Rome did. My salvation is that I place my faith in Jesus and my grandchildren are being raised to place their faith in Jesus. If you feel that taking my social security that I paid into for 51 years is taking a handout, I doubt there is much I could say to change your mind. Also, I am not your "mate". I am an American, not an Australian, I was in the Air Force, not the Navy, and I am not married to you. Refering to people as "dudes" is something I would expect from a teenager or early 20's at the latest, not from a mature adult.

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Neil O'Keeffe 10 months ago

Remember what I previously said about having to be right 100% of the time, well there you go. You all take your selves far too seriously. Take your pick, angry old white men or humerlouss angry old white men! Good night mates!

Crusades versus Stalin, in the name of God or in the name of... Seriously???

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jerry carlton 10 months ago

Dan Neil has a hard time responding directly to questions. I have now declared a boycott on him and he will be referred to as Oz, Jr.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

Jerry, Thanks for the insight. Looks like Cuddy still on fire but not getting much help. Truthfully wish he was still with my MN Twinkies but fun to be able to watch him here.

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rhys jones 10 months ago

Jerry & Dan -- Maybe Dante Bichette was a better batter, than he is a batting coach.

It's almost like they're working the opposing pitchers, trying to run up the pitch count, get the starter out of the game -- a losing philosophy to begin with -- that, or they're actually afraid to swing, before Strike 2. Then they're swinging in self-defense.

It's ATTITUDE. Cargo's swinging. Cuddy watched some mighty fine pitches sail by tonight. Besides his two jacks.

Know who I decided I really like? SF's Marco Scutaro. He holds the bat like my coach taught, and he's not afraid to swing it.

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mark hartless 10 months ago

Allen is, of course, exactly right.

The gubbamint is rapidly becoming "Mordor on the Potomac"; and it is gladly, rapidly, accumulating power that the sheeple foolishly cede to it.

It's mass and it's might cast a long shadow over the nation; over it's people, and it's people's future.

Those who hold power within it's walls are evil and merciless , corrupt and self-serving.

Unfortunately not one American Voter in 3 seem to be able to see in this particular spectrum of light.

I put $105 dollars worth of gas in my truck today. When gas is $7 more people might have clearer vision but, frankly, I doubt it. I simply do not believe most Americans have the brains required to put competent leadership in place.

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