My name is Roger Chamberlain and I’m a candidate for the Minnesota State Senate, District 38.
To make choices is the essence of freedom. At our nation’s founding, it was understood that men and women of free will and mind can and will do great things. People were in control of finding their own happiness and success; they were free to be optimist and dreamers.
People believed in themselves and distrusted government. They embraced challenges, did not fear failure but accepted and learned from mistakes; they endured struggles and we are now better and stronger because of those efforts. In the words of E. L. Godkin, founder of the The Nation, “Freed from the annoying (sic) meddling of governments, men devoted themselves to their natural task, the bettering of their condition, with the wonderful results which surround us.”
Optimists and dreamers led the way and great things were accomplished. Americans understood the importance of families, working hard, sticking together, and supporting each other. They innovated, created, built, and corrected wrongs once deemed right. Slavery and other injustices were ended, diseases cured, and we learned to fly. Those essential freedoms and ideas allowed us to grow into robust, vibrant and diverse nation.
Much has changed and today people are anxious, angry, or worse apathetic – we are losing our optimism and grit. For several decades those who desire power and control over our lives – politicians, the ruling class - have fed the fires of fear, resentment and envy. We are told all that we value, love, trust, build, achieve and hold as true and sacred are somehow wrong, selfish, evil, and misguided. Today we see the fruits of their labor - division, chaos, despair, and a bloated government that dominates and meddles in every aspect of our lives and feeding off our futures.
A government cartel has created a mountain of law and policy and spent tens-of-trillions of dollars promising to deliver happiness and prosperity. But after nearly fifty years the poverty rate is unchanged from 1968, the wealth gap has increased since 1970, public education and families are in crisis, and racial divisions and disparities continue to grow.
We also live in fear of a government that was supposed to protect our rights. From draconian forfeiture laws to the privacy of our own DNA, phone conversations, and license plate data, politicians and the ruling class constantly attempt to expand the authority of government to search and seize our property and private information. Average citizens are subject to fines, civil penalties, losing their jobs or businesses for not complying with arbitrary restrictions on speech or religious practice.
To say the least it has been disheartening to witness the impact all of this has had on our uniquely American Spirit. Some friends offered a comparison: There was a time when Star Trek was the vision we had of our future, but now people fear the American future will be closer to The Hunger Games. Star Trek is about optimists and dreamers, it is unity and free people doing great things. The Hunger Games, speaks to pessimism and cynicism, fear and envy, division and misery.
We must remember the “American Idea” - the power of making our own choices in life. To give up choice and control of our decisions, whether its healthcare, education or any other area is dependency and not freedom and will lead to a less diverse, unique and dynamic nation.
Things can be different. It starts with a change of attitude. America is one, we will not always agree, but we stick together and help each other. We must regain our confidence; reclaim control of our individual lives, our rights, to believe in ourselves, and remember again what it means, and what it takes, to be optimists and dreamers; what it means to be Americans. Let’s begin by recommitting to empower people not government.