It seems that every four years we hear that the upcoming presidential election may be the most important of our lifetime.
But, so will the next, and the next, and every one thereafter until the one that marks the end of America's slide into a state of government dependency. There will be a return to personal self-sufficiency and a return to the federal government only doing those things which individuals or states cannot, or should not do for themselves, such as defend our national borders. (On this subject, governments of the individual states are obligated to defend their citizens if the national government will not defend the nation's sovereign borders. But that is not the point of this column.)
The standard will always remain the Framer's stated intent when they wrote the Bill of Rights, and especially the 10th Amendment, into the Constitution.
When did America become more the land of the entitled and coddled than the land of opportunity and personal responsibility? And how could it happen?
The "when" may be up for debate, with Presidents Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt being credited for giving it a giant push, and President Johnson adding fuel. But the "how" required Americans to be herded into confrontational groups, then pitted against each other along these lines of division.
Of course, at least one of the groups had to become the official "victims" and another group had to become the official "oppressor." For Barack Obama's presidency and re-election, the oppressors are the most successful in our economy -- otherwise referred to as the 1 percent -- and victims are the rest of us -- the so-called 99 percent.
It should be stated that these divisions are only effective when we accept the roles cast for us, even though they are artificial.
Do you remember the line from the band "10 Years After," "tax the rich, feed the poor, till there are no rich no more"? What that song does not say is that even if the rich are no more, there will always be poor, just more of them. Once the American dream was to become well enough off to afford some leisure and maybe live better than hand to mouth, and leave our children better off than we are. Now our children are so spoiled that nearly half of all Americans who are eligible to pay federal taxes no longer do.
It would seem that the American dream has become making the wealthy pay for the rest of us. (So, who decides what "wealthy" means?)
President Obama's entire message during his re-election campaign and his presidency, is about becoming dependent on government for individual citizens' well-being, providing this or that for the success of citizens. Of course, the one thing he is not willing to offer is a path toward success that has been cleared of an overbearing nanny state.
Romney's message is about becoming successful -- very successful if Romney, and wealth, are the measure -- without depending on government to do for you.
Try this. Suppose that instead of trying to convince you that they can heal our sick economy, the two presidential candidates were campaigning to become your doctor. Would you rather your doctor candidate told you of his relevant successful medical experience, or would you like him to tell you that the reason he is unable to provide you with anything except expensive medications which have never worked anywhere they have been tried, is because your former doctor didn't charge enough for his well-off patients?
Should your doctor's greatest asset be that he has been sick like you, or that he has effectively treated illness such as yours?
Do you believes that the wealthy should be made to pay the rest of us because they have been more successful? If so, you must also believe that there should be an intelligence tax. And an ambition tax.
After all, aren't we saying that anyone who is smart enough to figure out how to legally become wealthy, or anyone who is ambitious enough to take the risks and put forth the effort to legally become wealthy, should be taxed because the rest of us are not as competitive as they are? That is indeed medicine that has worked nowhere it has ever been tried.
Has it been so long ago that Americans jealously guarded their personal liberty that we no longer understand that to expect the government to take from a successful group to reward the failure of another group is a form of tyranny?
For this, the current most important presidential election in our lifetime, we should reject the Obama campaign's attempt to divide Americans between very successful and the rest of us, and unite as Americans, each working to become successful and recreate a successful America that is so foreign to Mr. Obama.
Mitchell is a blue-collar, public-school educated resident of North Ogden and a former resident of several other states.