Children of Liberty: I didn’t appreciate what I had until it was threatenedWritten by Scott Allegrini | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Am I better off now than I was four years ago? I am a typical middle-class American: married, with two dogs, a mortgage and too much debt. I am blessed to make a modest living, but still live check to check. My house has lost value — $20,000 since 2008 and I am upside down — but I can still make payments. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for others on my street. We’ve seen many foreclosures and lost our neighbors just last year. We experienced unemployment when, in 2010, my wife lost her job. Only with prayer, my family and my wife’s diligence in finding a job were we able to struggle through. I understand the depths of despair many face when unemployment hits and jobs are scarce. It’s times like these when people, just like me, look to solutions like garage sales or loans from caring parents.
Today, it costs more to fill a grocery cart as food prices have skyrocketed. A basket full of groceries for a family of two is upward of $150 a trip. The rising price of beef makes it quite a treat as opposed to a necessity. Even my Chips Ahoy! have become the victim of inflation — the cookies and the packaging are smaller, yet the price is the same. My Diet Coke now comes in 20 packs instead of 24 at the same cost. And don’t even get me started on ice cream. My leased Ford 500 has turned into a 1996 Ford Escort, so we don’t have a car payment. Yet it still costs $30 to fill my tank and with a 70-mile-a-day commute, it takes a toll on my wallet. We even got rid of cable because it’s an expense we cannot afford.
Why I am sharing all this personal stuff? Because many believe that conservatives are out-of-touch, heartless rich folks. The reality is I am just the “average Scott,” living day to day and trying to taking care of my family. Financially, I am not better off than I was four years ago, but when George W. Bush was president things were not all that great either. With all the takeovers, bailouts and spending, government was out of control. The problem is not who is in office, but too much government.
In 2008, as Bush was pushing TARP, I realized that in order to change my government, I needed to become a good citizen, an involved citizen. I needed to put up or shut up. I needed to stand up for the principles that made this country great and the envy of the world for so long. It was time for action, not words.
So now my wife and I work two jobs. Why? Because it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves, not the government’s. We eat out less, and brown-bag it for lunch. Why? Because it’s our responsibility to provide for our family, not the government’s.
We volunteer at church, donate to charity, support the Cherry Street Mission and other causes in which we believe. We do this because we should and because it’s our responsibility. As a Christian, I know that it’s my responsibility to take care of my fellow man, not the government’s.
When we are confronted with a piece of legislation like health care, or mandates or more regulation, we read and research before we have an opinion. Then we ask questions to clarify and make sure that our opinions are based in fact and truth. Why? Because it’s our responsibility to decide what’s best for us, not the government’s.
Some may be looking for a lot of statistics proving why I am not better off than I was four years ago, but frankly, I am sick of sound bites and the blame game that pit us against one another. I want a president who understands I am an adult, not a child — who will tell me the truth no matter how bad it is. I want a president who has morals and principles. The truth is, I am a better man today than I was four years ago. I am a better citizen than I was four years ago, and I have a much greater appreciation for this great country than I did four years ago.
The only way to change the course we’re on is to vote for a man who shares our values and principles, a man who understands that it’s the people and not the government that make this country great. To be better off four years from now, vote for someone who will get the government out of the way. In the end though, it’s up to all of us to ensure that our own lives are better in four years than they are right now.
Email Scott Allegrini at email@example.com.