Of all the lessons we learn as children, perhaps the most important is that life is often unfair.

Life’s randomness is reenacted every spring, when tornadoes snake down atop American farmhouses and, suddenly, it’s “moving day.” We can face misfortune with resoluteness and optimism — and many storm survivors do — or we can wail about our plight and blame government for its slow response.

It might seem perverse, but I like living in a world where I need to bounce on my toes and dodge punches. Life in this valley deals us chipped windshields one day and double rainbows the next
Calamity kicks complacency in the ass. It made us take stock and shuffle priorities. It also made sage smell sweeter, our valley rivers more beautiful and our tree swallows more riveting than Obama’s latest church renunciation.

Mathematicians have expressed life’s vagaries with statistical modeling called Chaos Theory: No matter how tall or well-electrified the fence, inevitably — given enough time — the Tyrannosaur will escape and make somebody his lunch.

Accepting, then, the unpredictability of life — and the fact political wizardry is still mostly about pulling levers behind a curtains and scaring the gullible into ranks on Election Day — we should regard our political doomsayers with a jaundiced eye.

We should look again at America’s founders — those imperfect, slave-holding, women’s rights-denying, Native American-bullying bastards — and wonder whether they didn’t get at least one thing right: Americans are individuals, first, and our freedoms flow from our Creator, not government.

We are not millipedes with single heads — a “Barack head” or a “McCain head” — and lots of syncopated feet for well-choreographed marching. We are free agents, and not indentured to any political party. I’m affiliated with one group only: my family.

Our Constitution — particularly the amendments of the past century — attempts to enshrine equality of opportunity in America. But we can’t legislate equality of outcome, no matter how desperately we try. Life makes the rules — not politicians — and life is a daily storm of uncertainty.

Kids learn vital lessons from lost contests and scraped knees. They learn resilience. They learn that their egos are unbreakable. They learn that endurance and character can trump speed and over-confidence. They learn that losing isn’t really losing; it’s postponed winning.

Today’s playground failures presage tomorrow’s business successes.

I worry about the anti-individual, anti-success, anti-achievement rhetoric of today’s political hucksters. Will the imperative to raise taxes and impose investment penalties — further burdening America’s innovators and entrepreneurs — potentially eliminate the garage floor invention that solves our energy crisis?

I think it might.

Government can’t protect us from life’s hurts and disappointments. Our success as a people lies in the resilience of the human spirit and in the inspired flashes borne of individual insight.

Add A Comment


Jun. 3, 2008 at 11:08 AM No wagon train full of todays Americans would ever have reached a settlement west of the Mississippi.!!

Similarly, if Al Gore’s computer modeling of a 21st century global meltdown is an atom’s width awry, then the Styrofoam ice floes that he borrowed from Hollywood for his film “Inconvenient Truth” can be safely remolded into coffee cups.

Message Friend Invite

Jun. 3, 2008 at 1:51 PM  Another great post, Mama.

Message Friend Invite

Jun. 3, 2008 at 6:27 PM "There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance."

Message Friend Invite (Original Poster)

Jun. 4, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Well said! I think YOU should run for prez...

Message Friend Invite

Want to leave a comment and join the discussion?

Sign up for CafeMom!

Already a member? Click here to log in