Entitlement programs don’t grow on trees, just their shadows
By Leonard Curry
On the heels of the healthcare vote and the economic uncertainty facing our country, I am reminded of an insightful quote from Abraham Lincoln:
“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it – the real thing is the tree.”
When considering the state of our nation’s economy and the uncertainty surrounding the new unfunded healthcare entitlement and where our country is headed, it is important that we focus on what is real. In this case, the tree that represents our government and the leaders we elect to guide us into the future so that our children and grandchildren will have a brighter and more prosperous future.
Like a shadow from an old oak tree on a hot summer’s day providing a brief reprieve from the noon-day sun, lately our nation (and that is us – “We the People”) have been all too focused on the effects of shadows cast upon us rather than thinking about the tree.
We have lost sight of the fact that the shadow moves and constantly changes with the sun, the seasons, and for half of the day, it doesn’t appear at all.
The tree on the other hand is ever-lasting – so long as you take care of it. You have to invest in fertilizer from time-to-time, and give it the water it needs, and occasionally, you have to do something risky like climb on a ladder with a saw in hand and prune some of the dying branches. But if you take good care of a tree, it will cast its shadow for years to come.
Our government represents that old tree. Our politicians who run the government are merely the shadows protecting us from the day’s sun.
The question is will the tree be there tomorrow and the next day?
Will we get out from the shadow and take care of the tree. Or will we continue to feel good for the moment and let some other generation worry about pruning, watering, fertilizing, and planting new trees?
I for one say let’s take care of the tree now. We owe it to future generations to leave behind a legacy of hope and opportunity, not one saddled with debt, deficits, and taxes that will lead to a lower standard of living.
As we move toward the elections of 2010 and beyond, let’s work to elect principled candidates who are more concerned with the long-term health of the tree than they are just guiding us to stand in its shadow.
Let’s work to protect what is real and work toward making the hard choices our country needs rather than just telling people what they want to hear.
That’s change I can believe in.
Leonard Curry is the president of ICX Group of Jacksonville and is the chairman of the Duval County Republican Party. E-mail him at: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’