February 28, 2009
As someone who has lived the American Dream twice in my lifetime, I feel twice blessed. Through hard work, with God''s help, laboring in a country that has provided the opportunity for basically unlimited success, I have been successful.
After paying for my college expenses through hard work, I started my first career in 1970 with no money. Eleven years later, I owned my own oil and gas exploration company. This was lifelong dream of mine. Five years later, when oil prices fell from $30 to $11 per barrel in one month, that dream was destroyed. I was out of business.
The second time I began with much less than zero. I borrowed money to start again. My family suffered financially for years. We sacrificed and did not do many of the fun things our friends were able to do. We lived within our means.
We saved; we worked for a better future. We never sought welfare. We never got food stamps. We didn''t even get unemployment benefits (business owners are not eligible). We never defaulted on any financial obligation. We asked "the government" for nothing; certainly not a bailout. All we wanted was another opportunity to succeed.
Through hard work (often more than 60 hours per week) for many years, with the help of quality employees, and blessed by Divine Providence and loyal clients, I am once again, in the world''s view, successful. The often brutal, capitalistic, free-market system that destroyed my first career and business provided the venue for motivation for building another successful business.
On the President''s Day, I was where I have been on most holidays since starting my own business in 1981. I was at work. The way I learned it was a holiday was that there was no mail in my post office box, and the bank was closed.
On that day, I reflected upon our great country, the sacrifices of our ancestors through the centuries, our U.S. Constitution protecting liberty and providing opportunity; and I pondered a question, "Will my children and grandchildren have the same opportunities to fail or succeed as I had?"
Unfortunately, I am pessimistic about their freedom to experience what I experienced. The rapid move of late toward rampant socialism, which history has proved is doomed to failure, may rob my children and grandchildren, and yours of the very things that have made this country great. We must all come to our senses, take a stand and fight to retain and rebuild our country. To do nothing, is to stand by and watch America and the American dream destroyed
C. Phillip Gunter, Brandon
1. Possumhaw: It was a big fish LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Thomas Sowell: A primer on race NATIONAL COLUMNS