It’s easy in these trying times to become despondent or callously cynical about the direction that the country is heading. And it is at those times that I find items like the following buoy me and reinvigorate me.
GorT attended an event last night hosted by the fathers club at his eldest’s high school. The school is a private, Catholic, all-girls school in the metropolitan DC area. Given the demographics in the city, there are a number of families who work in various international fields, including banking, finance, trade, and politics. A number of fathers are either recent immigrants to the United States or are foreigners working for these organizations in the United States. The featured speaker last night was excellent – he integrated beliefs and experiences from his personal upbringing, his educational and professional experience, and his role as a father of girls together in a fascinating way.
One might think that he would be rather progressive given his background (raised in Latin America, working in international finance/banking) and while he kept his talk apolitical, his commentary on some issues clearly outlined a more conservative bent. This was solidified in his closing remarks, in which he summarized freedom, why it is important, and what it means to him. He remarked that today, many see freedom to mean:
- that we have to accept (to the point of agreeing with) other people’s views
- that we can just redefine marriage
- that people can do whatever they want, whenever they want, with whomever they want with little regard to personal responsibility or consequences
- that regard for hard work, self-discipline, and personal responsibility has diminished and is in danger of becoming extinct in places
He was asked afterwards that given his international connections and experience, what is his take on America and our current economic situation. He broke it down into two parts:
- There are parts of the world that respected America in the recent past – for various reasons: fear, admiration, understanding, etc. – but now have lost that respect and are laughing and testing our resolve. In his estimation, that is largely in the Middle East and in parts of Africa and the Orient. Europe is less so and remains more aligned with the United States and Central and South America remain (with a few exceptions) very close to the United States. He believes that the United States will continue to be the leader of the free world and thinks that is a good thing – it is something the world needs, even if some of the world is reluctant to say it.
- Economically, we are facing “great and grave challenges” that we need to deal with in the near term. He said that he thinks the questions people are asking about the economic direction of the country are the same ones that people in Greece asked a few decades ago. Hopefully, we’ll make better choices. He worries about Italy being the next country to fall into economic troubles. His belief is privatization and an increase in private sector jobs is the path to economic growth. He outlined some clear examples, some of which he was directly involved in within Latin America.
It was an impressive talk and GorT is happy to have had the time and opportunity to attend.