Wednesday, March 14, 2012

AmeriCANs Can! Don’t be an AmeriCAN’T

I just finished watching two of the most remarkable comebacks in sporting history. There have been bigger turnarounds, but never in the NCAA basketball tournament. With less than 5 minutes to play, Western Kentucky University trailed by 16 points. Over those last 4 minutes plus, they outscored their opponent 22-5 to win the game.

With a little more than 6 minutes left in the first half, Brigham Young University found themselves down by 25 points. Worse, they had been outplayed, out-hustled and out-defended at every turn. Iona College (their opponent) was on track to score nearly 150 points. Instead, in the remaining 26 minutes of the game, they only scored 23 points while BYU scored 54 to win. What happened? Did a star player for Iona fall to an injury? Did BYU bring a superstar off the bench to save the day? No. Coach Dave Rose saw that what they were doing wasn’t working and decided to make a change. Instead of trying to outrun the very talented Iona team, he decided to turn things around by focusing on defending and disrupting - a total change of direction. It worked. Not only did they stop the onslaught from the other team, they gained confidence and exhibited more teamwork. Coach Rose said "The look in our players' eyes at that time was, 'Game on. We've got a chance here,' “ What he didn’t mention was that he helped them to believe they could do it.

I know that basketball is not life and that metaphors always have limits, but I see truths in all kinds of things. In these contests I see a similarity to the situation we find our nation in today. Over the last 100 years, we have chosen to let our government grow far beyond its founder’s intent. We are letting our representatives in government "run up and down the court" spending our money and taking our freedoms without restraint. As a people, we have thought that, if we give government enough power and enough of our money, they could solve our problems, take care of the less-fortunate and make us safe. What we see today is that we have more problems, more of us fall into the less-fortunate category and we are definitely less safe than we were even 20 years ago. Asking the government to manage our lives has created immense debt. Our current course will make it even worse. We need to defend and disrupt. We need a total change of direction.

We are driving toward a cliff at high speed. The Democrats want to step on the gas and go faster. The Republicans (most of them) just want to go a little slower. I am asking, "Wait a minute. Shouldn't we turn the car around? You people are still driving us off the cliff."

Are we wise enough to determine, as coach Rose did, that what we are doing is not working? Are we courageous enough, as his players were, to believe that our best effort in a new direction can bring us to a better outcome, one that no one else might even believe is possible? I believe that we can save our nation from descending into mediocrity and weakness. I do know that, if we don’t change course soon and put forth out best effort to move our nation in a new direction, it will be too late. Let us all choose to believe we can make a difference. The motto “Yes we can!” is a great one - but only if it is coupled with the principles of truth, liberty and personal responsibility that echo “Yes we should!” Once we have a direction we can believe in, each of us must decide if we are willing to say “Yes I will!”

Be an AmeriCAN. Don’t be an AmeriCAN’T.

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