Category: - Conservative Voice
 
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It was roughly this time of year; some weeks before Halloween that a plan was born.  I was in elementary school and the long morning walk told a subtle little story on that side of the city.  They were into Halloween far more than those on our side of the railroad tracks - they could afford to be.  The plan would be to break a golden rule and spend our Halloween evening outside of the confines of our neighborhood.  Getting our parent's buy in would be nothing easy.

For the next week we walked a different route to school each day, each further out the way than the previous.  We then made maps of our course and presented them to our parents.

"Why in the world would you guys want to do this?" my mom asked as my father smiled and shook his head.

"The candy mom, we can get far more candy this way.  We will go farther, but it will be worth it."  Simple, honest, ambitious and detailed in a manner that our parents would know where we were.  The insinuation was that we wanted to do it alone and did not want parents slowing us down.

"We'll see."  I hated that response.  It usually meant no.  A few days later I was told yes as I departed for school to meet up with my friends.  They had received their yes responses that morning as well.  (We never stopped to think our parents had discussed it collectively before giving us the okay.)  The closer to Halloween it became, the more excited we grew while making small adjustments to our plan.  Our bags were traded for king size pillow cases to accommodate the anticipated load.  We would walk to school debating the fastest way to make the trek.  Up one side of the street, down the other and crossing over blocks on the side of the street that had the most Halloween decorations on display.  As little double tracking as possible would be essential.  The plan was committed to and we were ready.

Halloween came that year accompanied by a vicious storm.  More sleet than snow, but were in.  We set forth as my older sister was arriving to take my younger brother and sister out to make their candy rounds.  My mother and father were "leaving for the evening."

And so it would be.  Into to the sleet and snow we ventured across the railroad tracks on our little quest for record setting amounts of Halloween candy.  The weather was brutal; the stinging sleet drove most back to their homes and was as unrelenting on us as we were to our commitment to set a new candy record.  Up and down the streets we endured for hours.  Faces, hands and feet frozen, pants soaked as we finished the last long block and headed back to our good old neighborhood.  The weight of the frozen bags of candy, the wind sheering into our faces was worth the accomplishment.  Hard work pays.

Crashing in the front door, completely miserable and completely satisfied.  A failed Halloween for others brought huge rewards for us; all because we opted to endure rather than quit.  The evening of pain would be followed by days and weeks in which to reap the candied fruits of our labor.  With such little competition, the rewards were all the more plentiful.  Those investing in candy for the kids did not want to waste it.  The handfuls got bigger and bigger as the evening progressed.  Our enemy in the weather turned into an asset.  All ruined by an older sister.

"Wow Paul, that is a lot of candy!  Since your brother and sister had to come home early, we are going to split yours up so everyone has the same amount!"  No recognition for the pain suffered in acquiring it.  My reaction was one of forced resistance to protect not my candy, but my effort.  A battle ensued that would require the bag to ripped only from my dead, tightly clinging, still painfully cold fingers.  If she came too close, I am sure that frozen bag would have hurt.  To fight hard to acquire something in life requires hard fought efforts to protect it from entitlement.

Hours of pain and suffering to reap a third of its rewards?  Not hardly.

My parents walked in the back door.  Come to find out that in order to allow us to go on our little trek meant that one of the parents had to follow us; my father was the only one with a car (that worked anyway).  Several times my mother sought to interrupt and reel us into the car to save us from the elements.  My father told her that if we were still going house to house, we were fine.  If we stopped and headed back home not accomplishing what we set out to do, they would give us a ride home.

Dad this time intervened.  "Paul will decide who gets what of his candy, if any; no one else will decide that for him."  His baritone voice echoed in the form of the ultimate Johnson family trump card sparing my sister from a twenty plus pounds of frozen candy ass whoopin'.

He saw what I went through to get it and did not want to see me robbed of the sense of accomplishment.  And of course, he knew there was no way in hell I could conquer a bag of candy more than half the weight of myself.  The rule was that all Halloween candy had to be first inspected by an adult.  The bag got dumped out all over the dining room table.  Pounds and pounds of it.  Things I loved, things I hated, things I had never before seen.  Back into the bag it all went; every single piece of it.  My mom did not even pilfer her favorites as she was inspecting it.  It was mine... all mine.  I called my brother and sister and gave them all the favorites they could possibly tolerate.

It was my choice to share; ultimately I shared more to each of them than they gathered on their own, far more.  It felt good to share, but far better to work hard in order to be able to.  To be robbed of that is criminal.

We forget that to have more, generally means you have to work harder to gain more.  What is seen is the accomplishment, not the effort and sacrifice.  We seek to remove the fruit completely absent of processes involved that took to grow it.

To my older sister Janice, my riches of candy were wrong because others had too little in comparison.  "It wasn't fair." she said.

What would have been fair to her was me going with them and everyone having less, or of course, myself or anyone else not having more would have also been "fair."

Because others acquire more only demonstrates that those who do not acquire more can if they apply themselves in similar fashion.  For some, the guaranteed handout of entitlement is motivation to not effort such a trek in the bitter realities of a hard and harsh economy.  In entitlement is safety from failure.  The protection from not having to take the risk of the journey while being granted a portion of the accomplishment of another.  Ironically, we all want to be the ones with a bit more while in turn we allow the punishment of those who have succeeded. It is good to want, evil to have.

It wasn't that I wanted to have more candy than anyone; I just wanted to enact a plan that few others were willing to in order to accomplish the task at hand knowing the rewards could be plentiful.  Several had the choice, only few opted to actually go for it.  This is hardly “unfair.”  Because the few had the riches of the candy, did not make all entitled to it.  What makes all entitled to it is that all must be willing to embark upon the trek and accept the risks associated with it. Short of that, they are entitled to only what they are willing to effort and risk to obtain.  This is the difference between the progressive desire of equal outcomes versus the American intent of equal opportunity.

No one person has the right to demand otherwise.  It is amazing how hard that is to figure out.  Once upon a time, entitlement meant; “to earn the right to.”  Whatever happened to that?
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There are just some basic principles in life that are simply undeniable.  Life is not fair.  Some are born with a silver spoon while others are forced to get a tetanus shot upon birth to cope with all of the rust, erosion and decay they are born into.  The silver spoons fail in life and the oxidized find success.  Just as life is unfair, life has no guarantees; the fate of success in life lies solely in the hand of the believer.

Will of freedom

There comes a time in life when our will must overcome our desire.  It is good to desire more from life, but without the will power to bring such desires to fruition, they are mere daydreams, wants and covets that sour the taste of life itself.  This is an undeniable reality that takes courage to accept.  This reality has a very peculiar relationship with freedom.

Freedom is the right to fail.  It is the ability to try, persist and persevere until the individual opts to yield.   There is nothing in existence that formally forces the pursuit of happiness or success.  Only the choices and will of the individual provides shelter from the risk of pursuing more.  It is what makes America great, it is what America was built to embrace, it is what we are failing to uphold.

Demons and dreams

Lost in the translation of freedom is that the individual is charged with the responsibility of their own journey.  Because some fail, all must be propped up.  Because some find success, the law of the land insists that none shall be entitled to success.  It is maddening.  We grow up wanting more; with the desire to attain and the understanding that the ability to achieve lies within the will of the individual brave enough to dream it to be true.  As some fall short, they are viewed as the direct casualties of those who have succeeded despite that fact that all have started out with the same ambitions.  It has become a transition; from dreams to demons.  We want, yet we seek to punish through political demonizing for finding the success they have spent a lifetime striving for.  Life is unfair and some find success while others do not, but all are free strive for it, all want it, none want a life without it.

It is unfortunate what we are doing to success.  We make a fuss over the millions the outgoing Google CEO will receive, while never comparing it to the 2.6% of the value he brought to Google.  Never considering how hard he worked to achieve in life.  Never contemplating what he lives without because he opted to put work first.  We only see CEO and dollar signs as we are being politically manipulated into believing success is only bad when someone other than us attains it; that not all have found it.

Equal outcomes of the mediocre

It is not a matter of equal outcomes, it is as impossible to provide equal outcomes as it is impossible for all to be the coveted CEO.  This however, does not make success wrong.  Our current obsession with the other and the success they find only hinders our own individual journeys through life.  If the other is bad for finding it, we should not pursue it, we should instead bide our time to allow government to provide to us our fair share.  It is easier and it comes without the risk, without the hard work, without the sacrifice and without the social dysfunction that often accompanies true success.  Our dreams lessen to the mediocre which we have ill fatedly learned to celebrate.  Our desires fail to find the challenge of will power.  We become less as we learn to settle for what others feel is best for us out of their own perverse envious, obsession of the other.