Let’s face it. Regardless of our political or philosophic leanings, we all want pretty much the same things out of life. We want good health. We want to love and be loved. We want good jobs at good wages. We want to be safe and secure here at home and abroad. We want our kids to get good educations.

Can we all agree to these things? I think so. I don’t know any reasonable person who wouldn’t. (See that wasn’t so hard!)

Let’s keep going and throw in a few more universal likes/desires. We all want affordable health care. We all like to pay low taxes. We all want low inflation. We all like it when the stock market goes up. We all like low interest rates on home loans, and high interest rates on our savings.

Heck, even Mitt Romney and Barak Obama, who rarely see eye-to-eye, can apparently agree to some things. During the third Presidential Debate, each man stated that he “likes teachers,” and even Moderator Bob Schaefer chimed in agreement. Well, no “d-uh.” I like teachers, too. I also like a good education system. Do you know any one that doesn’t?

In fact, I’d wager if you put 20 random people in a room and asked them “yes” or “no” to any of the issues I’ve identified so far, you wouldn’t find any dissenters (well, maybe one—there’s always a wise guy!).

Yet, if I were to go a little further and ask HOW we achieve any of these universal likes/desires—that’s where things would get interesting. We may all want the same or similar things out of life, but how we get there is where we differ. The devil is in the details.

  • You like peace . . . how do we maintain peace in a world where so many seem determined to strike against the USA? Do you believe in peace through strength (akin to Theodore Roosevelt’s “speak softly and carry a big stick” mindset) where our military might makes it unwise for anyone to provoke us, or do you believe a less intimidating, less militaristic America that encourages dialogue and engages in diplomacy around the world is the better solution?
  • You like high paying jobs . . . how do we encourage businesses to grow and create those kinds of jobs here rather than overseas? How do we create an environment where American companies can compete with foreign companies that pay their workers pennies on the dollar compared to USA laborers, and who face fewer regulations and a much lighter corporate tax burden?
  • You like affordable health care . . . how do we make it affordable, at what cost to individual freedoms, at what cost to employers and the health of our economy, and who ultimately pays for it all?

I’m not here today to offer answers, or my take on what’s right or wrong. My point is that while we tend to agree on the big picture “vision” of those things we all want out of life, a debate as to how we get there rarely finds consensus. And that’s what the upcoming Presidential election is all about: how do we get there? If you listen closely, the stated goals of each candidate are not that dissimilar, but the path each man wants us to take as a nation differs considerably.

  • If you believe we should rely on the Federal Government to tax, redistribute, and spend our way out of the worst economic slump in 75 years, your choice is clear.
  • If you believe the Federal Government should get out of the way so businesses can grow the economy and thereby strengthen our standing at home and around the world, your choice is clear.

That’s the real choice facing us this November, whether we’re talking the Presidential race, or Senate, Congressional, and local races. And what’s amazing is that no matter what choice you make, you can rest assured that the sun will rise on November 7 and that we will all still want the same things for ourselves and our children and grandchildren. What will be different, though, is the way we get there over the next four years—for better or for worse—will be made clearer.

I like teachers. We all do. But how we manage our educational system and achieve desired outcomes is a whole other question, as is how we, as a nation, move forward. It’s a choice that’s uniquely American. It’s a choice that we have as American citizens.

Too many times I hear people say, “My vote doesn’t matter.” Not voting is a choice, too, so be sure to exercise your right to vote on November 6. And don’t forget, there’s more than just the Presidency to be decided. There are local and state ballot initiatives, bonds, and senate, congressional, and gubernatorial races, too.  Your voice, your vote . . . your choice.

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