I recently had the pleasure of visiting Las Vegas for a speaking engagement at the request of the National Private Duty Nurses Association. The purpose was to share EMS’s battle with the SEIU and how EMS’s experiences and strategies, as chronicled in The Devil at My Doorstep, could be utilized by the association’s members to prepare and defend against ruthless SEIU corporate campaigns, which had already begun against some of its member companies. I always enjoy such trips, not just for the opportunity to share my story and help others, but also the opportunity to meet a cross-section of Americans from all walks of life.
While away, I interacted with the usual assortment of business owners, hotel and restaurant staff, managers, attorneys, lobbyists, politicians, airline pilots, flight attendants and even a well known celebrity (Wayne Root), my most cherished, yet sobering conversations were with the two cab drivers during my trips to and from the Las Vegas airport. I enjoy engaging people in conversation and as I customarily do, began by asking the young gentleman transporting me to the hotel where he was from originally. I was surprised when he answered Ethiopia. He had legally immigrated to the United States about nine years ago and had been living in Las Vegas for the past six years. When I asked why he had chosen the U.S., he responded that it was a chance to escape poverty and to be successful through his own efforts and abilities — for which I whole heartedly applaud him! Before I could ask another question he made a statement that completely stunned me. He said he was concerned about the direction of this country, because he felt like it was departing from the basic principles that guided the founding fathers — the guarantee of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He went on to express his concern that the government has become too involved and that people needed to make it on their own volition and be responsible for their own actions and decisions. How many people born in the United States are as perceptive as this young man, an immigrant from an oppressed country filled with poverty, who realizes that government is not the answer, but rather the problem?
Unfortunately, too many idealists, liberals and big labor bosses don’t understand the basic principle of self determination as does this young man did. Instead, they wish to transform our country into a socialistic state where sameness and redistribution of wealth are the objectives despite the fact socialistic policies create more poverty (see Wealth and Poverty). Their ideology blinds them from seeing that the United States enjoys the highest standard of living for people at all levels, and has done so since its formation. Even those Americans statistically at the poverty line enjoy a comfortable living by historical standards. In fact royalty of yesteryear might be very comfortable in today’s middle class throughout the United States (see Missing Poverty’s New Reality: There’s a Lot Less of It and Every Man a King). We want people at all stations of life to prosper and enjoy the fruit of their labors, the key point being their labors. Unfortunately, there are those in politics, the mainstream media, government and big labor who choose to utilize wage disparity to foment class warfare and justify their existence (see America Deserves More than Class Warfare)!
My return to the Las Vegas airport the next day was just as enlightening. As I did on the previous trip from the airport to the hotel, I engaged the cab driver in conversation, a young black gentleman from Ghana. When I inquired as to his reason for immigrating to America he responded, “Because it was the land of opportunity.” He said that in America he had the chance to make something of himself and be successful. I was astounded. It reminded me of a cab driver from Russia I had met in Washington D.C. a little over a year ago. I had asked him the same question and he had given the same basic response. However, he went on to tell me that he owned his own cab and would work in America for about 9 months every year and then go back home for three months to be with his family. He could make more money in 9 months in America and provide his family a better life than he could in Russia working a full year! Now after a few minutes of conversation, I casually joked with the Las Vegas driver that I was old and tired and ready to get back home to a little peace and quiet. He laughed and said we are so lucky in America. The elderly in Ghana do not enjoy a home with peace and quiet. He said that even though it is better today, the people are so poor, that whole families from grandchildren to grandparents all live in the same small house. He said that is why he immigrated to America, so he could do better for himself and a future family. I was amazed!
As I sat on the airplane back to Indianapolis, I reflected on my conversations with these bright young gentlemen who had provided my transportation in Las Vegas and marveled at their fortitude. Here were two young men from desperately poor and oppressed countries who realize America’s free market system provides opportunity for everyone to prosper if left to their own devices and not restrained by social government policies and mandatory unionism. They were aghast at what is transpiring in state capitols across the country and believed it put America at a Crossroads (see America at a Crossroads! As Wisconsin Goes, So Goes America!). These two young men had traveled thousands of miles to realize the American dream and wanted no government support, union representation or political representation. All they wanted was a level playing field and an opportunity to succeed based on their own abilities and work ethics. They recognized that America offered them the opportunity to be successful and avoid poverty if they merely applied themselves and exercised good judgment. They understood that poverty is relative, especially in America (see Let’s Fight Poverty but Also Keep It in Perspective).
Karl Marx used the slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” It is a rallying cry of those who promote a socialistic/communist society! These people believe in social welfare and the redistribution of wealth at the expense of individual initiative to achieve social justice. The two young cab drivers understood, based on their homeland experiences, that adoption of such a philosophy is the potential demise of America, “The Land of Opportunity!” Why can’t Americans wake up and realize what these young immigrants already understand? America provides the opportunity for Americans at all levels to enjoy a standard of living that past royalty would have never imagined due to our free market system! If we don’t change the course of current events we could continue towards the Decline of American Exceptionalism!