Monday, November 7, 2011

Stump Speech

This is a transcript of the speech that Vice-Presidential Candidate DaddyBear gave at the beginning of a town hall meeting held at the community center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining me here tonight.  I appreciate all of you making it out to speak with me in the face of weather like this.  Who would have thought there'd be a snow storm in North Dakota in March?  In saying this, I apologize for our campaign manager's inability to look at a calendar.  Just kidding Harv!  For those of you don't know him, Harv there at the back of the hall is our campaign manager.  Harv was a Marine sniper, and after the past few months, he's started getting the thousand yard stare.

Anyway, before we open up the floor to your questions, I'd like to speak about something that's become kind of a theme for Candidate X and me: The hard right over the easy wrong.

This is something that Candidate X and I learned while we served in our military, but it applies to just about everything we all do every day.  The principle is this:  It is better to choose to do the right thing, no matter how hard or painful it is, than it is to do the easy thing that happens to be the wrong thing to do.

Examples of this include choosing to save up money to buy a new refrigerator instead of putting one on credit and paying usurous levels of interest on it.  It could mean choosing to take hard sciences and engineering courses in college rather than getting a liberal arts degree so that when you graduate you are more likely to get that high paying job we all aspire to.

It can also mean living on what most Americans would consider a shoe-string budget in order to live within your means, even after you get that job with the big bucks, and save up enough money so that when bad things happen, you can stand on your own two feet.

In the military, one way that this was expressed was a tradition we had in the order in which our soldiers ate.  The lowest ranking soldier eats first, followed by the next up in rank, and so on until the unit commander eats last.  I was taught that this came out of a problem during World War I, where sometimes not enough food would be sent up to the front lines for everyone to eat as much as they wanted to, so some leaders were making sure they got their fill before allowing the lower soldiers access to the food.  What ended up happening was that the privates on the sticky end of the stick ended up not getting much to eat, or sometimes nothing at all, while the officers and senior NCO's got their fill.  If you flip that and put the needs of your subordinates first, then you eat last, but you'll make damn sure that there's enough food for everyone.  It only takes a couple of times for a commander to eat half a cup of scraps before he starts raising hell to get more food sent up.

So that's the hard right over the easy wrong.  You choose to do something that might be unpleasant because it is right, even though it might be much harder to do than doing the wrong thing, or doing nothing.

We bring this up because our country has been choosing the easy wrong for far too long in a lot of things.

  • Got poor people in your country?  It's too hard to educate them so that they can compete for good jobs and to encourage industries that will employ them and pay them a days wage for a days work.  We'll just print money and give them free stuff so they won't have an incentive to get that education or find that good job.  
  • Got some gold plated piece of military hardware that you think you need, but if you're honest, you'll admit that you really just want it because it's sexier than buying better rifles, or uniforms, or trucks, or ships, or fighter planes for your servicemembers that are an evolution of existing stuff?  Then make sure you spread the design and manufacturing around the country to get congressional support and get a fat contract out the door for something that might deliver in a decade.  It's too hard to just replace and incrementally upgrade existing hardware, and besides, there's not as much money in that.
  • Have companies that didn't do the right thing, got themselves in a whole mess of trouble financially, and now are threatening to throw thousands of voters out of work just prior to an election?  Easy, just put the full faith and credit of the nation behind a select group of companies in order to make sure the factories and banks stay open, and we'll figure out how to pay for it when the grandkids start paying taxes.  It's too hard to look a CEO in the eye, call them a fool, and let the economy and the market figure it out.

What we're saying is that we've been doing the wrong thing because it's easier than taking our medicine and doing the right thing for so long that now all of the bills are coming due and we can't pay them.  Our government's debt is skyrocketing, and it will take decades to climb out of the hole it took decades for us to dig, even if we start now.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the grown-ups to take over again in America.  It's time we got out of bed, looked ourselves in the mirror, admitted we can't go on like this, and got on with the business of righting our countries financial ship.

We need to cut our spending as deeply and responsibly as we can.  We need to look at each and every line in the federal budget, assuming that we can get one in Congress this year, and not ask "Why should I cut this?" but rather "Will the country fail if I cut this?".  If the answer to that question is No, then it needs to be taken out.  We need to be honest with ourselves about the limits of our ability to pay for everyone else on the planet, including our own able-bodied citizens.  We need to go back to the basics of government, and get rid of all the luxuries we've strapped onto the back of taxpayers since the Roosevelt administration.  We need to return the powers and responsibilities that the federal government has assumed to the state and local authorities wherever we can, and let them figure out how to do things in a way that works for their particular needs.

It's not going to be easy, and it's probably not going to be a lot of fun.  But it's the right thing to do, and if any country can do it, it's ours.  We draw from the traditions, cultures, and ideas of every country on the planet when we try to find solutions.  We are not beholden to centuries of "That's just the way we do it here" inertial thinking, at least not yet.  If we don't do it soon, we run the risk of losing our ability to remember that there is a better way, and we have the ability, the right, and the responsibility to change.

Thank you for your patience and your time.  Let's switch this over to the question and answer part of this shindig.  And just to answer the questions that always seem to be come up at these things, let me just say these things to begin with:
  1. Dressing right
  2. On my right hip, at about 3:30
  3. 1911
  4. .45 ACP
  5. Minnesota Vikings or Washington Redskins
  6. I don't like the designated hitter
  7. Like I like my women:  Strong and Sweet
So, what are your questions?

1 comment:

Nancy R. said...

Re #7: My favorite response to that one is "Ground up and in the freezer" just to watch the response.

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