Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Equal Opportunity, No Equal Outcome"

I just watched the presumptive Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney, name his presumptive running mate for Vice-President, the handsome and articulate U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, Paul Ryan.  Conservatives will arguably say this is a great pick.  Moderates will probably agree and Liberals will most likely be wary, as this young lion has a reputation of being a pit bull.....not to mix my animal kingdom metaphors too much.

We won't really know until November whether this was a good choice or not.  Well, we might get a hint during the Vice-Presidential Debates where Ryan will go toe-to-toe with foot-in-mouth Biden....not to mix my anatomical metaphors.

I am more interested in opining on something Congressman Ryan said during his brief acceptance speech on the navel shipyard pier in Norfolk, VA this morning.  In a well crafted sound bite, which will probably NOT get much repeating, he said, "We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcome".  I just love it when someone says so much with such brevity...not something I am necessarily that good at myself.

Equal opportunity, not equal outcome.  WOW!  America is built on many foundations which we all learned in 9th Grade social studies; life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, et al.  However, no where in the Declaration, the Constitution or the Bill of Right (or any of the Amendments) does it say one of those foundations is that every American should benefit regardless of effort, regardless of input, regardless of output, regardless of tenacity, or regardless of a passion for success.  That would be a doctrine espoused by people with last names like Marx and Lenin, not Jefferson and Hamilton. 

President Obama would like to keep the focus of Americans on all those evil "millionaires and billionaires" and convince us if "they" will just pay their fair share of taxes, all of our economic woes will disappear.  He has even suggested that those entrepreneurs who are responsible for creating businesses and jobs, both past and present, were not responsible for their own successes or the success of their companies.  Of course, this statement has been taken out of context but the implication is clear....the wealthy are responsible for our woes. (Did Obama start the "Occupy" movement or is he just a closet member?)  Unfortunately, I don't think President Obama gets it. 

No one disputes that a good day's work is deserving of a good day's pay.  And, I for one, believe in the system of compensation based on performance, where the harder you work and the more you produce the more you should get paid.  I do not believe in a system that pays people not to work or rewards mediocrity.  And lest anyone thinks I would deny people who are down and out a helping hand, you do not know me.....but a hand up, not an unlimited handout.   Government policy that advocates the "redistribution of wealth" is a path to bankruptcy for our economy and our country.  It denies the basic tenant of our economic system which promotes initiative and rewards capital-at-risk. 

So it remains to be seen if Ryan is a good choice or not, but for today, let's here it for equal opportunity, not equal my opinion.

Jud Smith

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Beginning . . .

Born in late 1945, I arrived at the dawn of the "Baby Boom", which began at the end of World War II and continued until 1964.  This unprecedented period of fertility on the part of our forefathers and mothers produced 76 million new Americans, most of  whom having contributed to the growth, prosperity and continued legacy of the most powerful nation in the world. 

Growing up in the '50's and '60's was an exciting time full of challenge and change and, like most adults, my relationships and experiences helped to shape the person I am today.  While most people gain wisdom over their lifetimes, it is my observation very few individuals have been blessed with the rich combination of unique people, unusual experiences, an inquisitive, creative mind, vivid imagination and the ability to communicate.   

Now, I don't pretend to be in the same league with the great thinkers and writers who have populated the top echelon of genius in many fields of endeavor from politics to religion, literary masters to filmmakers, poets to philosophers.  However, over the past 55 years or so, I think I have learned a thing or two about life.  It is my hope that relating those lessons might prove a benefit to others, be it a life changing epiphany, an interesting insight, a mistake not made, or just a good laugh.  The blog will represent kind of an iconic everyman's American journey and, hence, the blog's name.

Permanently posted on my blog will be letters I have written to my grandchildren, beginning from the moment of their births to the present.  We call them "Pearls" and they are some of the life lessons I wanted to pass on to them (and their parents) while, hopefully, helping them to know and remember their grandfather better after I am gone.

Also permanently on the blog will be rememberances of experiences from 1966, a seminal year in my life.  Besides being my sophomore/junior year in college, this was the year I met the girl I would marry, Victoria Ann Matthews....a marriage, by the way, which has lasted 44 years.  These short stories, some of which will seem outrageous, are all true and I believe will entertain and amuse.

Vicki and I have done and continue to do a lot of traveling.  We are cruisers and have been to over seventy countries around the world.  A part of my blog will be travel updates from past and future travels with pictures. 

In the main section entitled "A Baby Boomer's Opinion" I will comment on the current events of the day; political, religious, and everything in between seen through the eyes and with the mental filter of a sexagenarian.  I hope my readers will engage in the discussion....the livelier the better. 

Bear with me as I construct this new blog site and then let's have some fun.

Jud Smith