Can I ask you a personal question?

Today I had the windshield on my vw bus replaced.  The guy who swapped it out was a good guy.  Ex-marine.  Real no nonsense.  Polite.  After he finished the job we got to talking, and he asked me why I was in Iowa.  I told him that I was working on a political campaign.

 “What did you do before that?”

 “Well, before that I lived in Japan for a year and a half, working for a charitable organization that supports orphans and families in third world countries.  But I heard that this guy, Ron Paul, was running for president, and I had to come back because I really feel that if we don’t do something soon…”

 He finished for me, “We’re headed right down the toilet?  Yeah.  I feel that too.”

Then he paused and said, “Can I ask you a personal question?”


“When we have so much poverty in this country, why are you going to other countries to help?”

 It’s a good question.  I told him that it comes down to levels.  In the countries I helped support, like Burma and Cambodia, the poorest in the U.S. would be middle class in those countries.   I told him about bad water supplies, parents selling children to survive…  you get the idea.   The real question is, “If it’s so bad out there, why did I come back.”

Well, it’s like this.  America used to be the first among the world leaders.  First in morality.  First in innovation.  First in progressive thoughts.  Other countries looked to us for direction on any number of things.  We were a shining example – we didn’t have to do anything except be Americans. 

These days, other countries fear us.  They despise us.  By our own actions we are becoming isolated from the rest of the world.   We’re no longer first, but we pretend we are,  and have to constantly prove that “We’re number 1!”.   And if you have to prove it, it ain’t true.

That’s why I came back.  I can remember when we were respected instead of feared.  I can remember when we held a moral high ground – when the idea of torture was not even considered.    If we lose our way, the ramifications are far reaching – our mistakes extend all the way across the oceans to children in third world countries.  

But so does our goodness.  When our foreign policy begins to reflect the innate goodness and honorability of the American people, the effects will be much greater for people everywhere than I think any of us fully understand.

Let’s not wait for our children to have to fix for us.  Let’s do it ourselves.   Americans are amazingly innovative and stubborn.  We must never give up.  Never forget.

Now, let’s get to work.


3 Responses to “Can I ask you a personal question?”

  1. Bret Says:

    I’d be interested in what his reaction to you was …

  2. Laissez-faire » Blog Archive » Why Come Back? Says:

    […] came across this blog post, and thought it was worth sharing. “When we have so much poverty in this country, why are you […]

  3. Ron Holland Says:

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