Thursday, March 25, 2010

Americans Need To Cowboy Up

Cowboy up.  Is there a phrase that more perfectly expresses who we as Americans used to be?  The people who would dust themselves off, get back on the horse and do what needed to be done, all without whining about it or crying out for government assistance.  Yep, we all need to cowboy up.

The cowboy image that we have in our minds is of a people who lived with a code of honor, worked hard for everything they had, helped those in need and fought against impossible odds for freedom from tyranny and oppression, whether that came from the government, criminals or the rich land owner.  They controlled their own destiny and the very idea of putting their lives into the controlling hands of others was more than just distateful, it was abhorant.  These were men who found it easier to admit to being the spawn of Satan than to tell their neighbors they were on the government dole. 

This is who we used to be, who some still are, and who we all need to be again.  A people who recognize that the only person who can change our position in life is us.  We need our leaders to remind of us our strengths, our individual power over our own lives and our generous spirit so that we are inspired to be the very best people that it is possible for us to be.

We need leaders who, though maybe not a cowboy, express the ideals of one.  The ideal that you ask not what your country (or your neighbor) can do for you, but what you can do for them.  The ideal that what you have should come from the sweat of your own brow, not somebody else's.  The ideal that if you want what somebody else has, you work your butt off to get it.  The ideal that you are grateful for what you have and not resentful of what you do not.

Unfortunately, at times we get a leader who looks like a cowboy, maybe even is a cowboy, but doesn't have the cowboy idea of compassion.  A cowboy knows that you have to learn the ropes and doing the job for you does not help.  They understand that real compassion means allowing somebody to fail and to learn and then being there with a hand to help get them back on their feet should they need it.  That telling somebody they can't do it on their own is the opposite of compassion, but a cruel life sentence of dependence on others.

A real cowboy held himself and others accountable for their actions.  Their honor dictated what was acceptable and what was absolutely not.  They were unafraid to confront somebody whose behavior was dishonest or dishonorable and if you were offended by that confrontation, well then, that was just too damn bad.  They absolutely did not reward people for that bad behavior.

The American people need to stop whining about the personal situation that their decisions got them into and stop demanding that the money another has earned subsidize their own lack of ambition or planning.  Yes, Americans need to cowboy up.

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