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Is Failure The New Norm In America?

Job Seekers Attend Career Fair In San Francisco
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Imagine living in a world without TV, air conditioning, shopping centers, fast food restaurants, stereo sound, interstate highways, jet airliners and microwave ovens. Think of phone numbers with less than seven digits. My first phone number was 160. Car tires had inner tubes. Things like jet aircraft, and going to the moon, were futuristic dreams we never thought we’d see in our lifetime. That’s the America I grew up in.

Advances and Roadblocks

There were five remarkable, life-changing events that happened in my lifetime. The automobile, flight, telephone, radio and electricity. No, I wasn’t around at the very beginning of each one, but I was witness to the evolution and amazing advancements of each one over the past 60 years.

There were few roadblocks for the inventors and creators to overcome in bringing these great inventions to the marketplace. Government was smaller then and the industrial revolution, inspired by the American dreams of the pioneers just a few decades earlier, were fanning the capitalistic flame. Private investment not government handouts got all these great achievements off the ground.

No idea was too farfetched or unachievable in the eyes of our parents and grandparents. Edison failed over a thousand times to find the right filament substance for his light bulb. It was a much different America than we have today.

Safety Nets and Hammocks

There will always be poor people in the United States. I wish that were not the case but it is. All of us want to help our fellow man. But there is a limit to how much that help costs and how much effort those who need it bring to the table.

Recently there was a glitch in food stamp cards. In one instance the buying limit was eliminated and people began cleaning out stores. In another their food stamp cards would not work. Both instances produced near riots in their respective locations.

One day without your food stamp card working and that’s a reason to riot? A glitch gives your card unlimited credit and that’s an automatic license to steal from the very people trying to help you?

I’m Entitled

These two events demonstrate where the American mentality is going. “I’m entitled because I exist.” “I’m not responsible for my circumstance; you are and you owe me.” I don’t think there were any food stamps on the Oregon Trail. The pioneers didn’t have Medicaid. Families survived on the American prairies because there was no other option.

Immigrants survived discrimination, language barriers and prospered because they wanted the American dream and they knew no one was going to give it to them. They had to take it. They had to make it happen. If they needed help it came from family and neighbors not Uncle Sam.

Some Final Thoughts

There are 144 million people in the workforce. They are paying for 47 million in poverty, 47 million on food stamps and 21 million unemployed. There are over $1 trillion dollars in student loans outstanding.

This is not how America started and it’s not how America became the greatest country in the history of the world. Americans need to somehow regain that, “I can do it myself!” mentality.

Abraham Lincoln, lawyer, U.S. president finished one year of formal schooling, taught himself trigonometry, and read Blackstone to teach himself the law. He’s also the only president that holds a US patent. Just think how much he saved on student loans. Dave Thomas, billionaire founder of Wendy’s. Dropped out of high school at 15.

In today’s America we vilify production and reward inactivity. If there’s no pain there’s no gain. Why produce if the government will pay you not to? If you think you’ve got it tough; have a chat with your grandparents. Check out some of the folks below who made it on their own. Failure was not an option in achieving their dreams.

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