Jackie Gingrich Cushman

This past week’s conversations have reflected the growing belief among conservatives that the Obama administration’s policies are moving us toward a period of nationalism and government control that at some point will leave us looking like the British did more than three decades ago.

So what might be the best-case scenario?

This past week, I was e-mailed a link to a video clip of Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat from New York. “And let me say this to all of the chattering class, that so much focuses on those little, tiny, yes porky amendments, the American People really don’t care,” he said during a debate on the stimulus bill.

My son Robert, who was standing by the computer and overheard Schumer, corrected him with “The American people DO care.” If a seven-year-old understands that the American people care, well then there is hope.

The best-case scenario is one in which Americans decide that they do care, that they are optimistic, that they can change their lives, try something different and create their own future. This would require they understand how current policies would affect the future and act to stop them – moving rapidly to embrace an economy based on change, optimism and personal responsibility rather than waiting for the crushing corset of nationalism to further squeeze the economy, wreaking more havoc.

My mother told me yesterday that her ladies investment club members grappled with how to respond to the uncertainty. The members were trying to determine whether to continue to make monthly contributions to their investment fund or to stop payments until some time in the future, when the crisis has eased. She recommended they continue. “Right now,” she told them, “someone who has been laid off of work is in their basement inventing the next big thing. I believe in the American people.”

My hope is that there are lots of people in their basements inventing, and not on their computers answering offers to help them get their portion of the stimulus package.

The cure for the British disease of the 1970’s was Margaret Thatcher. “We want to work with the grain of human nature, helping people to help themselves – and others,” noted the 1979 British Conservative Manifesto. “This is the way to restore that self reliance and self confidence which are the basis for personal responsibility and national success.”

If we really want to honor the great presidents of our nation, let’s each of us emulate them by becoming little individual engines that know no rest, working toward personal responsibility and national success.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.