Mia Garza McCord, President. 2/24/2020
In a recent interview on "The View," Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was asked how Bernie Sanders, and she, as his surrogate, would pay for programs like Medicare for All, free public college, the Green New Deal, and other socialistic programs being talked about on the far left. Her answer included what she terms a “Wall Street Tax,” taking down insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and an additional payroll tax. Meghan McCain poignantly asserted that a “paradigm shift” in the American way of life would be required for programs like this to be the new normal, and I could not agree more!
When did it become a crime in America to be successful in your career? When did the “American Dream” traverse to “America, take care of me?” Where did America’s entrepreneurial spirit go? When did “Independence” turn to Americans asking for complete dependence on government?
Call it insensitive or dismissive, but my husband and I often use the phrases “Nothing in life is free. Someone always pays for it,” and “life is just not fair sometimes, kiddo” with our children. We say these things because we feel it is important to teach our children that they are not entitled to a single thing in this world. While our goal is certainly not to discourage them, we do want our children to understand and be able to cope with the realities of life, because let’s be honest—nothing in life is free and what we perceive as fair is frequently not the outcome.
The value I place in hard work and my understanding of fairness does not stem from being a conservative. Instead, I am a conservative because I believe in the rewards that hard work and persistence can reap. I believe that when a door closes, you find a way to still accomplish what you set out to do.
I was raised this way. My parents both worked full time jobs to ensure that our family was always provided for. I did not grow up around privilege. In fact, the community I am from still only has a median income of about $36,000. For a majority of my childhood, I grew up in a two bedroom trailer home. My mother was a teacher and my father often worked several jobs, one during the day (a cement layer, ranch hand, and TxDOT road maintenance), then odd and end jobs in the evenings and weekends. Looking back now, I understand the sacrifices they made for their family and the pride they took in being able to provide for their family without help.
At my core, I am wired to persist—Americans are wired to persist. We live in a country where we are free to pursue our dreams. Do we fall on hard times? Absolutely, we all do! I still remember starting my career clearing about $1200 a month, living in a small one-bedroom apartment in a bad area of town. At that time, I was budgeting chicken and ramen by cutting everything in half just to make it to the end of the month. A used bed purchased on Craig’s list, a 1995 19-inch television that weighed 50 pounds, and an air mattress were about the extent of what I owned.
Sleeping in our warm beds in our home now make that period of time fifteen years ago so worth it all. But, my story is not unique. It is entirely Americana. The story of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make it on your own” is what makes our country so appealing to those who live under socialist governments.
So, I am sorry Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, I simply cannot identify with your beliefs and values. I am owed nothing by this government or country. Instead, I am indebted to the men and women who have fought so we may live the American Dream.
I believe in helping those who are down on their luck, but not to the extent that we reward complacency. I believe that debt I willingly incurred to obtain my bachelor’s degree is also mine to pay off. I am incensed around this time every year when I receive my 1099s and see how much I have worked to pay the government and how much more I still have to pay after the fact. At what point is enough, enough?
So, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, “nothing in life is free. Someone always pays for it. And, life is not meant to be fair, but we are wired to persist.” I will continue to teach my children these lessons with the hope that their generation will continue the legacy of hard work and success that generations of my family have built upon. This is the only way that we avoid a paradigm shift towards a less free society.
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